When I think of oatmeal for breakfast, I think back to a time when there used to be the most beautiful restaurant on 11th Street in Park Slope called Applewood. It was up the block a bit, and not directly on the Avenue as most of the restaurants in the neighborhood tend to be located. Applewood looked like a farmhouse in the country and gave me a sense of peace as soon as we walked inside to have a meal. Needless to say, the food was wonderful. We sometimes met friends for dinner. Other times we treated family visiting for the weekend from out of town for Sunday brunch. We were proud to show off our favorite restaurant. One of those times, my husband, Dan and I took my niece Mollie to Applewood for brunch. We both ordered one of the more elaborate breakfast plates, while Mollie ordered the oatmeal. In the moment I could not understand why anyone would order one of the plainest items on the menu, and something easily made at home. But then Mollie offered us each a taste of what she described as the best oatmeal she had ever tasted.
Mollie was right. It was true. This was the best oatmeal ever. Of course, we asked the waiter to tell us how the oatmeal was prepared. Luckily he told us, and that is when I discovered a cooking secret. Oatmeal cooked with milk (and ok, yes, butter) will yield the richest, tastiest breakfast cereal ever.
Before this discovery, when I chose to make oatmeal for breakfast, I usually made it the same way, based upon a recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Basically, the ingredients include a dash of salt, 1 cup rolled oats, (I think of my cardiologist and leave out the butter), and 2-¼ cups liquid.
So après the Applewood ephinany, when I follow Mark Bittman's formula for oatmeal I now use milk for the liquid. Anything which is in my refrigerator, which is usually non-fat milk, almond milk, or most recently Oatly!. And, as I said, because I usually see my cardiologist's face when I even think of butter, I leave that part out. However, I do like to add some fruit, like banana, blueberries, or apple, after the oatmeal is cooked and while I let it rest in the pot for five minutes. And I must admit to adding a little maple syrup. How could I not?
One sister-in-law of mine, likes her oatmeal on the savory side, and is known to add miso to the mix. However, I think there is some controversy about heat killing the beneficial probiotics found in miso. So outside of flavor, I am not sure if miso will benefit your gut microbiome or not. In any case, savory oatmeal bowls have trended, now that vegan and vegetarian diets have become part of the norm in our society. There are photos of oatmeal bowls topped with all sorts of vegetables on the internet. Often they are topped with an egg, hard, soft boiled, or fried, as part of the "put an egg on it" diet trend, as well.
I was all set to put the blueberries I had in my fridge into the oatmeal I intended to make this morning, until I saw this recipe for carrot cake oatmeal. Of course it had me at the words "carrot cake." So here is a recipe that has grated carrot to make it savory, and raisins to add some sweetness. No need to put an egg on this baby. Between the milk as the liquid, and a topping of pumpkin seeds, you have protein enough to turn you into a superhero. Speaking of which, dear reader, if you could be one of the superheroes, which one would you choose to be? After seeing the most recent Wonder Woman movie, I would not mind being her. Imagine having the power to lasso oneself to things and fly through the air, and of course, save humanity!
If carrot cake oatmeal does not rock your world, try another breakfast recipe on cooking the kitchen. For an alternate savory breakfast option, try Shakshuka for a hearty breakfast. If something sweet floats your boat, try the Blueberry yogurt multigrain pancakes.
This recipe for carrot cake oatmeal was a good way for me to start my day with something new. In this time of pandemic when our lives are curtailed, it feels good to stretch the walls of our containment. Even if only by cooking a recipe that is new to us and adds a rainbow of flavors to our lives. I invite you to try this recipe, and enjoy!
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
An oatmeal that is both savory and sweet for breakfast.
The original recipe calls for using carrot juice and water as the liquids. Not having carrot juice as a food staple in my house, I modified the recipe by using non-fat milk for all the liquid. You may want to use all milk as I did. Any kind will do. You may substitute almond or oatly, for cow's milk as well.
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup fresh carrot juice ( or sub vanilla oat milk, almond, or skim milk)
- ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 3 tbsp raisins or golden raisins
- 1 cup grated fresh carrot
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds