Hard rain and blustery winds pounded at the house when I woke up this morning. Fortunately we didn’t need the flashlight I’d set beside the bed with the very real possibility of losing power before morning.
The world was dark outside but with the electricity intact it didn’t take long to perk the coffee (yes, we use a coffee percolator) and settle into our early morning routines.
My almost daily go-to breakfast is oatmeal. Growing up we had hot cereal served with brown sugar and milk just about every morning of the year. My mom mixed it up between several types: oatmeal, Cream of Wheat and Roman Meal were the most common in our house.
Along the way she learned to make oatmeal extra-ordinary. (Does that mean it’s more ordinary than ordinary?)
Put a couple handfuls of rolled oats, per person, into a pan along with a pinch of salt. Toast the oats over medium heat, occasionally stirring – don’t let them burn, until you can smell the toasty warm aroma.
While they’re toasting add whatever else you may have on hand for a tasty addition: sunflower seeds, cranberries, chopped nuts, etc. I almost always add dried cranberries, or apricots, or dates. Usually cranberries. Cause I like them. And chopped hazelnuts.
When the oats are slightly browned turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Add all the other stuff that you’d like such as seeds and spices.
I toast up a skillet of sesame seeds about once a week to have on hand. After they’re toasted they’re ground with a coffee grinder and kept in a jar. Flax and Chia seeds are also ground, jarred and stored in a cool place. Here’s a jar of toasted sesame, flax and chia coarse flours all combined into one jar for easy access. Scoop out a generous spoonful and put it in with the toasted oats. Don’t over cook the chia or flax since too much heat seems to make them bitter.
Sprinkle in cinnamon if you like, and a spoonful of brown sugar for a slightly caramelized flavor. Definitely stir if you add brown sugar. It can burn at an alarming rate.
Meanwhile, bring a cup of water –more if cooking for several people — to a boil. Take the oatmeal pan off the heat and hold it over the sink while pouring in the hot water. It will sputter and sizzle then settle down. Add only enough water to barely cover the oats. Stir and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Place the back onto the burner and turn off the burner. Let it set until the water is all absorbed and the oats are soft but not mushy. Never mushy! Unless you like mushy, gluey oatmeal – then you’ll want to add more water.
Take the pan off the burner, dish up the oatmeal – unless it’s just you, then you can eat it straight out of the pan. 🙂 Add a dollop of good yogurt and enjoy.
Hot and delicious! The kind that grandchildren ask for, “Grandma’s oatmeal”.
Oh, if you happen to make more than you can eat?
Cookies! Recipe next Tuesday.