It’s Monday morning and I have been in California for four days. My sisters and one brother left yesterday to return to northern California. My youngest brother woke up at 5:30 am to go to school this morning (I cannot even fathom how terrible that must have been), and my mom is out running errands. I have no car and am too broke to rent one. I am home, alone (I am also making the Macauly Culkin face right now). I considered going on a run and then decided that it would be much more fun to make food.
My sister Georgia is a bit of a health nut, so we ate quite a bit of oatmeal while she was here. I love a hearty bowl of oatmeal as much as the next person, but I like to add a bit of butter and brown sugar at the end. Today, waking up to an empty house, I decided to putter into the kitchen and make myself some oatmeal. Thanks Georgie for the semi-health kick that I will try to abide by while I’m in the land of skinny, healthy people. I had a small bowl (meaning half the enormous pot I made) of steel cut oats. Though they take a bit longer to cook than rolled oats, their texture is so much more interesting than Quaker mush.
I still had half a pot left, but when my mom got home, she turned her nose up at the remains. She had an avocado with toasted bread for breakfast…hmm, I’m already thinking of what tomorrow has in store for my mouth! I was sitting here imagining, dreamily, that I had made pancakes with boysenberry syrup instead. When we were kids, Sunday morning was both waffle and pancake day. How many kids are that lucky? Because there were five kids in my family, there wasn’t even a chance that we could all agree on one or the other. So we had both. And I normally partook in both. I didn’t want the waffle to feel neglected, and vice versa. I’m a peacemaker. And I love sweets! So as I was reminiscing, I figured why not turn the leftover oats into something fun? The oatmeal had been ‘resting’ and was now pretty thick. I reached my hands into the pot (you should probably use a spoon. my method was sloppy), and formed little patties that I plopped down into a lightly oiled and hot skillet. I let the oatmeal rounds reach golden perfection on each side before I gently slid them onto my awaiting plate. I rubbed a bit of almond butter on each face, and dolloped some raspberry conserves on top for a touch of sweetness. After my first bite, my mind jumped a few steps ahead and thought how orange zest tossed into the outs would be a nice refresher. Or even some dried cherries or a bit of almond extract.
4 cups water brought to a boil
pinch of salt
1 cup oats
orange zest from one orange, or 1/2 tsp. almond extract, or dried cherries (all optional)
jam and almond butter to spread, or boysenberry syrup (again optional)
Stir in the oats and simmer for about half an hour. Toss in optional ingredients during last five minutes of cooking time. Serve up the oatmeal and save leftovers for patties. The oatmeal is best after it has had time to sit and thicken into a workable state.
Griddle up some patties and enjoy some oatmeal outside the bowl!