Groats and goats

I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, but I really wanted to add goat cheese.  Goat cheese, though, can be expensive; especially in an experimental dish where it might end up decorating the inside of a trash can, rather than the inside of me.

But, once again, Trader Joe’s came to my rescue with a nice little nubbin of chevre, for only three bucks.  The same amount sells at Whole Foods for $8.  Joe has a larger piece with vanilla and covered in blueberries that I’m dying to try, but since Petey dislikes goat cheese, and The Kid can’t abide blueberries, I’d be on my own to eat it—and I’m afraid I would, in one gluttonous, glorious sitting.

The “it” I’ve been wanting to make is a bowl of savory oatmeal.

I just read in Food Network magazine that in 2017 babka (a Jewish marbled, sweet yeast bread), and churros will be big this year (I’ve loved churros since a trip to Los Angeles’ Olvera Street in the 70’s). This dish is also having a moment.  Savory oatmeal is big in two catagories; savory porridge and grain bowls.  Both are as trendy as statement sleeves, platform shoes, and Mondrian-like graphics.

But rather than a craving for chic, my desire comes from a very old, very familiar place.

Ever since I was a little girl in pigtails and footy pajamas, I have loved oatmeal.  I’ve eaten it scary, with half a stick of butter and a boatload of corn syrup.  I’ve eaten it smart with a couple drops of agave and some fruit and nuts.  But I’ve eaten it, and eaten it, and eaten it.Except, never in savory form.

A note about the oats.  I used Coach’s Oats, which I buy at Costco.  But you could use slow cooking steel cut or regular rolled.  Mine cooked in five minutes, so they’re considered ‘quick cooked’.  But don’t use instant oats because there won’t be time for the broth you make to flavor the cereal.

Savory goat cheese oats

savory-oats2 servings oats, uncooked

Water for oatmeal according to directions

1 teaspoon chicken base

1 teaspoon umami or tomato paste

½ teaspoon dry thyme

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped finely

2/3 cup sherry

2 tablespoons onion marmalade: Cook one chopped yellow onion in a little fat until amber-colored, season with salt, pepper, and thyme.  Add 1/3 cup sherry and cook until completely evaporated.

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

Olive oil

3 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Big handful pea shoots

Salt and pepper

Make broth: put water in non-stick saucepan.  Add chicken base, umami, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper.  Cook on low heat just until it comes to simmer.  Cover, turn off, and let cool.

Heat skillet on medium-high, and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add mushrooms, season, and cook until they’re caramelized.  Deglaze with 1/3 cup sherry.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen ready to make oats, cook in broth according to directions.  When finished cooking, check for seasoning, stir in onions, mushrooms, and sunflower seeds.  Plate, then top with bits of goat cheese, and a big pile of pea shoots.  Serves two as a side, or one as a main dish.

This recipe is just a template.  You could flavor it in any manner you like.  You can travel around the world in a bowl of oatmeal.

So, you may not get to Milan or Paris for shopping.  But if you make these savory oats, you can be the most fashionable person in your kitchen.Thanks for your time.