This Porridge Is Too Cool

Taking candy from a baby. .. What show is this?I’ve never stolen candy from a baby (stealing my husband’s though, is a whole other conversation).  Those ASPCA commercials with the Lilith Fair soundtrack break my heart (I’m not crying, you’re crying).  I don’t try to foist my beliefs on others and attempt to not judge people for their convictions (except for those who put mustard and/or Miracle Whip in potato salad, then I will totally judge those evil doers).

So, as character flaws go, I guess this one’s pretty benign.  But it’s still a ding upon my soul.

…and me.

From time to time, I’ll discover and embrace something new seemingly before it’s picked up by anyone else.  Anything really; recipes, authors, music, even mascara brands.  Then the rest of the world recognizes its excellence at a slighter later date.

When this happens, I get a little smug.  It’s mainly in my own slightly swollen head, but Petey and The Kid might hear the tiniest smidge of boasting.And on the flip side, whenever the hoi polloi is fascinated with a new fad or style, I am both wary and disdainful.  I don’t do social media, but if it has so permeated the Facespace and Twaddle that it spills over to the rest of the interwebs, where I may then read about it, then it’s truly reached peak saturation.

When this happens, I’m loathe to consider trying the shiny new.  I really dislike coming late to the party.  So, showing up when the hors d’oeuvre trays are empty and the ashtrays are full just kills me. But the very worst?

When I like it (Good grief, just writing out that statement left a bad taste in my mouth).

But there’s this thing; overnight oats.  There’s something both alluring and elegant mixing up a bowl before bed and having a filling and delicious breakfast waiting on you.There are two types of preparation.  The original begins with oats and goes from there.  But there’s another kind, I call it overnight eats, because the oats are optional.

Overnight Oats

You’ll need a 12-ounce jar (for on-the-go) or a cereal bowl (for home consumption)Add ½ cup old-fashioned oats. 

Pour 1 cup liquid over them.

Some examples:

MilkAlmond milk

Coconut milk

Soy milkChocolate milk

Fruit juice

Then add some mix-ins:

Toasted nutsSeeds

Dried fruit

Fresh or frozen fruit

CoconutNut butter

Add Flavor:

First, a pinch of salt—always


Cocoa powder or chocolate chipsA tablespoon or 2 of brown butter

Vanilla extract


NutmegCitrus zest

Chinese five-spice

Garam Masala

Fresh mint or thymeApple Sauce

Mashed banana

Add some sweetness:

Brown or white sugarMaple syrup


Jam or jelly

Agave syrupMolasses

Dulce de leche

Once your jar is loaded to your taste, seal tightly and shake; if in a bowl, give it a good stir.  Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or up to 3 days.When ready to eat, uncover, stir, and add a little milk if it’s too stiff.

Overnight Eats

Instead of milk, use a 1 cup of yogurt of your choice.  Because it’s thicker, you don’t need the oats. You can also go savory.  Add cheese, sautéed veggies, bacon or sausage, and instead of milk, use stock.  Then top it with a poached egg; which you can also make the night before. Just give it a light poach.  Then, in the morning just float it in simmering water for a minute or less to heat and finish cooking.So, I have succumbed to a viral sensation.  But I swear on my cranky little heart that I have not, and never will pinstergram my breakfast.

Thanks for your time.

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.