I am unabashedly indulgent when it comes to Thanksgiving. Turkey? Dark meat, please. Stuffing? Yep – with the crispy edges. Mashed Potatoes and gravy? It goes without saying. Rolls? Check! Green beans? Check! Brussel sprouts? Check! Dessert? OH — HELL YEAH! Pecan pie, fruit crumble, cheesecake….. sigh!
Every year, for as long as I can remember, we’ve made Aunt Lynne’s Famous Pumpkin Bread on or around Thanksgiving. It is the embodiment of the holidays for our family. I love it simply sliced and unadorned. If you haven’t had it, then skip this recipe and go straight to that one. If, however, you’d like a little more in your pumpkin bread, continue reading.
Who doesn’t love a basket full of soft yeasty rolls on the dinner table? Rolls with a little crust and a tender crumb. When a basket of parker house rolls hits the table, the meal feels special. Especially when they’re homemade rolls and not out of a pop-open package with an especially white dough-boy on the front.
This harvest cake is like a flash mob of autumn flavors – it comes from nowhere and demands your immediate attention! Dominated by cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, with loads of shredded apple, copious amounts of crunchy walnuts, some golden raisins and maybe a little rum (sly grin). I can’t say it’s a light, delicate confection, because it isn’t.
I know that I’m probably in the minority here, and I’m gonna get some blowback for this, but in my mind, there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that eat green bean casserole and those that emphatically DON’T. I’m in the latter camp.
I don’t know about you, but the only time we ever have stuffing is at Thanksgiving. Ever. And it’s something different depending on who’s in charge. When it’s my Mom – we get her savory herb-sausage stuffing (swoon). Myne (my Dad’s Mom) makes an “oyster dressing” that can’t be beat. She gets her fresh oysters from the Chesapeake Bay – how convenient!
Comfort food brings to mind different things for different people. For some, they crave creamy and decadent like mac n cheese or scalloped potatoes. Others associate pots of chili or a rich lasagna as a homey favorite. One thing is clear, most are reminiscent of our childhoods and our Mother’s or Grandmother’s cooking. For me, it’s my Mom’s pot roast.
Oatmeal is one of those wonder foods. Full of fiber, iron and protein, low in sugar and fat it’s the quintessential keep-you-going breakfast. Old fashioned oats are a quick and easy way to get your fix, but if you are particular to the steel cut variety – well, there’s nothing quick about them. Which got me thinking.
steel cut oats and chia seeds (optional)
add oats to water
I know a lot of people are into those “overnight oats”. Old-fashioned rolled oats, mixed with milk and other flavorings and refrigerated until the next morning, whereupon they’re magically ready-to-eat (One caveat: I think they eat those overnight oats cold which sounds gross to me). But I wondered if a similar hands-off method would work for steel cut oats.
bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes
stir in the chia seeds
In my experience, steel-cut take their sweet time to absorb liquid, usually requiring stirring and attendance. I’ve made them overnight in the crock pot, but they lacked that toothsome texture I like — and reminded me more of paste than porridge. My thought was to bring the oatmeal to a boil – to begin the cooking process, then remove it from the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and let it rest for several hours or overnight. I wondered if it would “cook” through.
cover and let it rest for 4 hours
I was happily surprised to find that it did. Perfectly. Toothsome, not glue-y, it was the perfect consistency. I spooned some into a bowl and heated it in the microwave for that warm comforting bowl of porridge I craved. Bonus: by making one large pot –there’s enough to last all week!
Now that you’ve got the how-to’s on the oats, here’s some really delicious seasonal combinations to enhance your porridge!
Apple Walnut Spice
Orange cranberry nut
Banana Maple Pecan
Peanut Butter and Jelly
overnight steel cut oats
Make a weeks worth of healthy, filling breakfasts in 5 minutes on a Sunday night.
1 tablespoon orange juice, stirred into the oatmeal
1/2 orange, cut into segments (supremed)
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon of toasted almonds
orange zest for garnish
For banana maple pecan
1/4 cup mashed banana, swirled into the oatmeal
5-6 banana slices to top the oatmeal
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
For peanut butter and jelly
1-2 T peanut butter, swirled into the oatmeal
1-2 teaspoons jelly, swirled into the oatmeal
1 tablespoon toasted peanuts
Add oats, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chia seeds so they are mixed evenly throughout. Place the lid on the pan and set aside for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Transfer the oatmeal to a tupperware container to store throughout the week. When you're ready for a bowl of oatmeal, spoon into a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 1-1 1/2 minutes until hot. Dress your oats with any of the combinations mentioned above or as you like it!.
My cousin, Katrina, is a mushroom fiend. She’s utterly smitten with them and who can blame her? Mushrooms lend an earthy, meaty quality to just about anything. In fact they’ve recently snuck into my gratins, been the star of a silky bisque and a supporting cast member in a chicken soup. And they’re the ideal topper for these chèvre laden crostini.