Sweet Steel Cut Oatmeal

Every now and then I like to switch up my eggs-for-breakfast routine by making this yummy steel cut oatmeal recipe. Steel cut oats  make better oatmeal than rolled or quick cooking oats. The texture is so much better. Rather than being mushy, it’s creamy while the grains retain a slight chewiness. Another advantage is that you can make it ahead of time and quickly reheat it for a delicious healthy breakfast on workdays. With this tasty oatmeal on hand you’ll be less likely to skip breakfast or buy something unhealthy and more expensive on your commute. I like my oatmeal to be cooked a little more than the package recommends. They recommend 3:1 water to oats while I prefer 5:1. Here’s the recipe!

Sweet Steel Cut OatmealIMG_20140122_100335

  • 7 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup honey

In a medium sized pot bring the water to a boil. Add the oats, salt and cinnamon then reduce heat to low and simmer for  15 minutes. Add the raisins, dates and honey and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the oats from sticking to the bottom. Makes 5 – 3/4 cup portions at less than 75 cents each.

Advertisements

Baked Tomato & Eggplant w Friulano Cheese

I love the rich flavor eggplant gets when you roast it. This is a dish I like to make in winter, sort of a comfort food – but healthy. It’s very simple and can easily be made ahead and enjoyed throughout the week. I like to serve it over quinoa but pretty much any grain, lentil or bean would work. This recipe uses japanese eggplant which are long, thin, purple and slightly less bitter than the standard italian variety. Their small size makes them a good choice to pair with with cocktail tomatoes in this dish.

Baked Tomato & Eggplant  IMG_20140113_223357

  • 3 japanese eggplant
  • 1 lb cocktail tomatoes
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated friulano cheese (fontina or mozza also work)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, or your own coarse crumbs

Slice the eggplant into 1/2cm rounds and toss them with 1 tsp salt. Let them sit for 1 hour to draw out some of the water. Drain out the water and toss the eggplant with the oregano, chili flakes, garlic and shallot.

IMG_20140113_210320

Slice each of the tomatoes into 4. Place the eggplant and tomatoes into a baking pan. Pack them in fairly tightly since they will shrink alot while cooking.

IMG_20140113_211003

Drizzle the olive oil overtop of the veggies. Bake at 400F for 1 hour. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over top of the tomatoes and eggplant and top with breadcrumbs. Bake another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are toasted.

If you’re making quinoa to go with it you’ll need 3/4 cup. Place it into a small pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Add a pinch of salt and bring up to a simmer over high heat. Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to low. It takes about 20 minutes to cook. It’s done when it is light and fluffy and all of the water has been absorbed.

This recipe makes 3 portions, costing 2.25 each including quinoa. Enjoy this delicious light vegetarian dish!

Breakfast Bread

I usually don’t have time to make my own bread. When I do, I like to make this loaf. It’s great for fried egg sandwiches in the morning. It has a crisp and crunchy crust. Oat flour gives it a moist center with rich toothy texture. If you’re more a fan of sweet breakfasts, omit the garlic.

Breakfast BreadIMG_20140102_214512

  • 1 cups oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp canola oil,
  • 1 clove garlic, grated using a microplane
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water

Place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over it. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof. Combine all the other ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and form a well in the center. Stir the yeast mixture and pour it into the well. Mix the liquid into the dry and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 8 minutes to make it smooth, elastic and develop the gluten. Add flour if necessary while kneading to achieve a tacky consistency, it should not be wet or sticky. Shape it into a ball and leave on a floured surface, loosely covered with plastic wrap, to rise 45 minutes. Knead 2 minutes, shape into a ball and allow to rise another 45 minutes. Flatten it into a rectangular shape.

IMG_20140102_183152

Fold one of the sides in towards the middle.

IMG_20140102_183209

Fold the other side over and form a seam by pinching the 2 sides together.

IMG_20140102_183403

Gently roll the dough into a nice even shape and place it, seam down, on a parchment or ‘Silpat’ lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife make a few shallow cuts across the top of the loaf.

IMG_20140102_183503

Cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 500F.  Place one oven rack at the very bottom and one in the middle. When your bread is ready to bake, fill a metal baking pan with 1/2 inch steaming hot tap water. Remove the plastic wrap and generously brush the bread with water. Place your bread on the middle rack and the tray of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven. Quickly close the door to keep as much of the heat and steam in as possible. The hot water will create a steamy environment which makes a really nice crispy crust. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the pan and reduce heat to 350F. Bake another 20 minutes, until brown on the bottom. Place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_20140102_195900

Mushrooms on Toast – quick and easy for breakfast, lunch or dinner

This is a classic British dish. It takes about 10 minutes to whip up and is great any time of day.

IMG_20131219_132338

Mushrooms on Toast

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 8 medium button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup leek, halved and cut into half moons
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • a handful of parsley leaves or other greens
  • 2 slices of toast

In a frying pan, melt the butter and brown the mushrooms over medium high. Add the leeks and saute 1 minute, add in the cream, mustard, thyme and parsley and simmer 30 seconds, until the cream thickens. Season with salt & pepper, spoon everything over your toast and enjoy!

This recipe only cost about $2.25 to make. Inexpensive and delicious.

Guacamole

I can’t get enough of guacamole. It’s super delicious and healthy, to boot. I take it as a hint to make this whenever avocadoes go on special. My favorite time to eat it is at breakfast with pita. Eat it as is or with you favorite toppings. I like it with a little dab of sour cream on top. Diced tomatoes are also a popular choice. The key to making great guac is to use over-ripe avocadoes, fresh lime juice and cilantro. 99% of the time avocadoes are sold under-ripe. I like to leave them on top of the fridge, where it’s warm, to ripen for 2-3 days. Another more common trick is to leave them on the counter in a paper bag. They’re ready to go when the skins are very dark and they feel soft when you give them a gentle squeeze.

IMG_20131204_120828

Guacamole:

  • 6 over-ripe avocadoes
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 serrano chile (or jalapeno) finely diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cut open the avocadoes by running a knife around the pit. Twist the halves in opposite directions and one half with come off the pit. Gently tap the blade of your knife into pit and then twist to remove it. Carefully pull the pit off of the blade. Save one of the pits and discard the others. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh of the avocadoes and put them into a non-metallic mixing bowl, or tupperware large enough to be used for mixing. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Use the edge of your spoon to roughly chop the avocadoes into big chunks and then mix everything together. Don’t over mix, a slightly chunky texture is best (and is traditional).

Always check the flavor and adjust. Avocados take a surprizing amount of seasoning. It should have a nice limey zip with a little kick of spice.

Take out what you’re going to eat right away then scrape down the sides of the bowl and level out the guac. To keep it from browning, press the left over pit down into the guac and cover everything with plastic wrap. Press the plastic down onto it so that it’s keeping as much air out as possible. These are great tricks to help preserve that bright green color.

Makes 4 portions. Guac will keep in the fridge up to 5 days.

Total cost was only $7.45.

Bon appetit!