Mar 28, 2016

SAVORY OATS

If you're anything like me, steel cut oats is in regular rotation on your breakfast menu. Packed with iron, fiber and protein, they're the breakfast of champions, and they've got rib-sticking power to get you through those on-the-go mornings.

My only problem with steel cut oats is that, well.... there is no problem. It's not them, it's me, really. I'm a creature of habit, and even though I can make some killer oats, I typically go standard style with a dab of butter, a bit of maple syrup and some nuts. Sometimes I add fruit (banana or blueberries are my favs), and a few years ago I thought it was a stroke of pure genius when I thought to add breakfast sausage and a poached egg to the mix. That last gem is my favorite, but even that version is a bit played out these days.

Savory oats is the perfect remedy for breakfast monotony. If you think of oat as the grain it is, instead of pigeon-holing it as a breakfast item, it's easier to come up with fun (non-sweet) alternative ways to enjoy it. Vegetables needn't be shunned, and all of the sudden condiments such as sriracha or kimchi are also welcome to join the party. (Here are two examples of alternate savory oats recipes.)

Here's just one of my favorite ways to make savory oats, but the possibilities are really endless.

SAVORY OATS
Serves 2-3

1 cup organic steel cut oats. One of my favorite local British Columbia brands, is Anita's.
3 tablespoons crème frâiche
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1/2 cup organic sprouted almonds, loosely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of one half lemon
1/2 cup fresh English peas, shelled
Sunflower sprouts, as desired
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Soak oats overnight, covered in water to expedite cook time. Bring salted water to boil, cooking and stirring oats until desired consistency is reached.

While oats are cooking, zest and juice lemon. Shell and pan-sear peas, using a bit of olive oil or a dab of butter. Cook peas until their skins start to blister. Set aside.

Once oats are finishing cooking, turn stove off. Add one teaspoon sea salt and the lemon juice to oats and fold crème frâiche and peas directly into the warm pot. Add chunks of goat cheese, folding in, leaving a bit unincorporated. Spoon oats into serving bowls, topping with lemon zest, almonds, sprouts, and fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

Sep 21, 2015

THE WORLD'S BEST APPLE PIE

One of fall's classic pies, best enjoyed with a cup of coffee
If you ever ask me if I want some apple pie, my answer will definitely be no. I'll probably take a look at what's being offered, and politely decline, or even turn up my nose a bit. I don't like apple pie. I never have. Any apple pie except this recipe, that is. This is the apple pie that forever ruined all other apple pies for me. I don't want to sound dramatic, but I wouldn't lie - not about something as important as pie :)

This is my momma's recipe. She's a fantastic cook. This is only one of the many culinary things she does well, but anyone who knows her would probably say this is undoubtedly one of her secret weapons - along with her fried chicken! 

The recipe is shockingly simple. True confessions: served with a hot cup of coffee, this is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. It's also great as a midday snack. Let's be honest - it's one of my all-time favorite things, really. Good anytime.





MOMMA'S APPLE PIE

6-7 Ganny Smith Apples
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup raw sugar + 4 tbsp
2 tsp flour
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
6 oz or more sliced almonds (be sure to get sliced, not slivered - sliced almonds still have their skin)
1 tbsp corn starch
Fresh lemon juice
Pie crust

Make and prepare your favorite pie crust for filling.

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples, putting them in a bowl. Try to do this quickly, squeezing a bit of fresh lemon juice on them as you go, to keep them from browning.

Mix 4 tablespoons raw sugar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, and 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice with the apple slices, gently tossing with your hands. Make sure the sugar and cornstarch are spread relatively evenly among the slices.

Once pie crust is ready for filling, arrange apple slices in the crust, making sure there aren't big pockets of air. I usually sprinkle an extra pinch of cinnamon and corn starch over the apples once they're placed in the crust. 

In a skillet, melt the butter, rest of the sugar, flour, milk and cinnamon. Whisk or stir with a silicon spatula. Bring to a soft boil, then add the sliced almonds, mixing until they're completely coated. Let mixture bubble for a minute until it's no longer gritty from the sugar. Be careful not to let it get too thick and sticky - it shouldn't be completely caramelized. While it's warm, pour mixture over apples, and work quickly to arrange it so almonds are touching as close to the edge of the pie crust as possible.*

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on the pie so that the almond topping doesn't burn. Serve as desired, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a cup of coffee, or both.

*Sometimes when I make this recipe, the almond mixture isn't enough to coat the entire pie. In this case, just add a bit more butter, sugar and almonds to the skillet, repeating the process until you feel you have enough topping.

Jul 27, 2015

ONLY A FEW OF THE THINGS I'LL MISS

The way your house smells - like a lifetime of love and laughter and some kind of amazing perfume; If I could only bottle it up and keep it.

Your voice. Your laugh. Your warmth. Your hands. Your love. The way you'd say "ho-ney," drawing it out long and sweet, like you were the one who gave the word its meaning when you spoke of any one of us. 

The way you'd make me laugh so hard telling one of your hilarious stories, I'd cry. The way you were always so beautiful, in every way - completely timeless. The way I'd dread saying goodbye to you most of all whenever I had to leave home. We'd both cry our faces off until we were soggy messes. You'd press some money into my hand like a secret hand shake and remind me to "do something nice" for myself... 

The way you made everyone feel so special. The way you made everyone feel so loved.

Juanita Boone Wisman, they broke the mold when they made you. I love you so much. Rest in peace, my dear Nannie.