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.
Ever since I made April Bloomfield’s English Porridge, that’s become my go-to oatmeal recipe. I even have it memorized. 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups whole milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of good sea salt go into a pot. Up goes the heat. It was at this point, while it was warming, that I added the seeds and the pod from one vanilla bean.
When the liquid started to simmer, I added 1/2 a cup of regular old-fashioned oats and 1/2 a cup of steel-cut oats.
That’s pretty much it. Stir it around, let it bubble lightly, and cook that way for 25 minutes until the steel-cut oats are tender. It’ll taste super salty, but that’s when you add the light brown sugar. A good amount to find that perfect sweet/salty balance. This is also a good time to remove the vanilla pod.
And there you have it: vanilla bean oatmeal.
You can really taste the vanilla here (with so few ingredients) but if you want even more vanilla flavor–and who wouldn’t?–you can add a splash of pure vanilla extract at the end.
I served it up with a bowl of fruit (peaches and blueberries tossed with honey, vanilla sugar and a tiny pinch of salt):
Which Craig proceeded to dump on top of his oatmeal.
You can call his breakfast vanilla bean oatmeal with fruit.
I prefer to keep my fruit and vanilla bean oatmeal separate, but to each his own.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend, enjoy your vanilla bean oatmeal, and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday!