Berry Blasted Oatmeal

There are two kinds of childhoods to have in America: the one where you’re allowed to have sugar cereal and the one where you’re not.

I’m the product of the former sort of childhood and Craig’s the product of the latter. If scientists were to study us to see how my consumption of Lucky Charms, Corn Pops, and Frosted Rice Krispies (yes, that was a thing) and Craig’s non-consumption of these breakfast sugar bombs affected us in later life, they probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I have an enormous sweet tooth and Craig usually wants to skip dessert. Also, I do crossword puzzles in pen, get to the movies twenty minutes early, and I almost always choose escalators over elevators when given the choice. Whether this is the result of eating sugar cereal as a child is anyone’s guess.

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Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut, Almonds, and Golden Raisins

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I’m no oatmeal expert, but I do make a lot of oatmeal. OK, maybe I am an oatmeal expert.

For a while, I was toasting the oats in butter (a trick I once wrote about here) which kind of makes the oatmeal taste like buttered popcorn. When I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll cook Irish oats and old-fashioned oats in a combination of whole milk and water, à la April Bloomfield’s English porridge. Lately, though, I’ve been keeping my oatmeal healthy: just water and then a few flavor-enhancing ingredients that make it feel special without making it too sugary or fatty.

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That Time I Made Savory Oatmeal and It Was Kind of Weird But I Ate It Anyway

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When I first heard about savory oatmeal, I felt confused. Onions in oatmeal? Is that even possible? What planet are we on?

I grew up eating oatmeal out of little packets, the kind you tear open, pour some water on and stick in the microwave. My preferred flavor was maple brown sugar, but occasionally I’d opt in for the apple cinnamon kind. Thankfully, no packets said “garlic and onions” or the younger me would’ve run screaming into the hills. The current me is slightly more open-minded.

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You Don’t Want To Make These Oatmeal Pancakes

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Look, I’m going to level with you. These are pretty pictures I took last weekend, on a Sunday morning, after I’d made coffee for myself and read the Sunday New York Times and decided I wanted some breakfast. In the refrigerator, I had leftover English Porridge from April Bloomfield’s cookbook, with its great salty sweet kick. Instead of heating it back up, I thought: “What if I turn it into pancakes? Oatmeal pancakes?” Seemed reasonable enough.

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Vanilla Bean Oatmeal

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If you’ve never purchased a vanilla bean, sliced it open with a paring knife, scraped the seeds out and dropped them, with the pod, into a pot of milk or cream which you then heat for an ice cream base or a custard or a pudding, you’re missing out on a great food moment. The smell is comforting, pure and sweet–the total opposite of what you get when you light one of those synthetic vanilla candles–and there’s a visual spectacle as the black vanilla seeds permeate the white liquid. Having purchased vanilla beans on sale at Penzey’s in Seattle (3 of them for $9), I decided to go for a vanilla bean moment last Sunday morning with a pot of oatmeal.

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English Porridge

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As someone who’s starred in “Oliver” twice–as Oliver in 5th grade and Fagan in 7th grade–I know a thing or two about porridge (aka: “gruel”). Rule one: don’t ask for “more” or you’ll be dragged by your ear out into the snow and sold to a mortician. Rule two: it’s best not served from a giant vat in the middle of a workhouse; it tastes much better–in fact it tastes quite terrific–if you follow the following instructions from April Bloomfield’s glorious new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig.

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Things To Stir Into Your Oatmeal

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It’s hard to follow up a post about pushing the genre of food blogging forward without feeling self-conscious. So let’s talk about oatmeal.

Do you like oatmeal? I love it. On Sunday mornings, sometimes I’ll make my Sunday Morning Oatmeal where I cook the oatmeal in milk, stir in butter, and top it with nuts, dried fruit and honey. When I’m feeling innovative, I’ll noodle around with the components and come up with something like my Oatmeal with Ginger, Coconut Milk and Lime. Mostly, though, I just cook oatmeal and then stir something into it–which is what this post is about.

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Oatmeal with Ginger, Coconut Milk and Lime

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It’s easy to innovate when you’re working with a set formula. Oatmeal has a set formula. Bring 1 and 3/4 cups water (or milk) to a boil, add a pinch of salt, add your rolled oats, lower to a simmer, stir and cook until your oatmeal’s absorbed most of the liquid. Then sweeten with a little brown sugar, syrup or honey and you’ve got oatmeal.

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