Mark Bittman on The Colbert Report

“Is that because Americans would finally get slender enough to fit back into regular cars again?” – Stephen Colbert on Bittman’s belief that eating less cheeseburgers being equal to taking SUVs off the road

Oatmeal convert

I didn’t mean to double post today but I’m just so surprised at this revelation that I have to share.

For years and years, I’ve always thought the only good oatmeal was the kind that you ate in cookies or bars. Baked with lots of sugar, yum.

I’ve tried eating oatmeal for years (instant, non-instant, with dried fruit, with maple syrup, with brown sugar, with milk, and so on and so on), and every time I would shove it down reluctantly, repeating the mantra – “it’s good for me” until I was finished with the bowl.

Last month Serious Eats posted an article about Mark Bittman’s savoury oatmeal. It’s something I’ve kept in mind since, but since I really don’t like oatmeal I have been reluctant to try it. Well today, I finally did. Holy cow does it taste good with soy sauce! Why didn’t I think of this years earlier! Why didn’t my Chinese parents force feed me this before?!

You can click on the above link for specific instructions but basically you make your oatmeal like you regularly do, then add some light soy sauce and some green onions/scallions for garnish and a bit of crunch. The dish ends up tasting more like a brown rice jook (a.k.a. congee) than any oatmeal I’ve ever had before. (And by the way, I’m actually using a 5-cereal blend that includes oats, but now I think I’ll  a bag of steel-cut oats to my grocery list.)

Doing a quick Google search reveals that there are many other suggestions to make savoury oatmeal interesting. Adding a cooked egg, with the yolk dripping into your oatmeal, adding ginger and/or garlic to the water during the cooking process, using soup stock to cook the grains, making an oatmeal risotto… there are so many possibilities. I feel like yelling “Eureka!” as new world of breakfast has been opened to me. Excuse me, I think I’m going for a second helping.

Links galore and some thoughts on Top Chef

Top Chef – You know, at first I didn’t like Carla but she totally grew on me and I’m hoping she wins the whole thing. Glad Gail is back; Toby was irritating. And I totally thought the other person would get kicked out of the final, but I guess past performance was a factor.

Only Here for the Food has a great interview with Chef Rob Feenie.

The Downtown Business Association has posted their Downtown Dining Week info ahead of time (for once) , including menus. (Interesting that the information is only posted on their home page, and not on a separate Dining Week page. And there are no cross links to the info when you click on Dining or Events. Obviously they need some tutoring when it comes to marketing and the web. At least this time I didn’t have to e-mail them a week before the event and ask where the restaurant listings were.) Meals are $15/$25/$50 per person and run from March 6-15. On a few menus that I clicked on, lunches were generally $15 while dinners were all an astounding $50! Not much savings for the dinner choice. At least there’s a better choice of restaurants this time around. (Although I have to say, the Spaghetti Factory? Srsly?)

eggbeater has a post on vegan baking and substitutions.

Edmonton Journal interview with Mark Bittman and on eating less meat.

If you’re a fan of the Watchmen, you might be interested picking up some limited edition Nite Owl dark roast coffee.

And speaking of coffee, Starbucks has some interesting package design for their new instant coffee, the VIA Ready Brew.

Mark Bittman in the NY Times on breakfast alternatives.

Frank Bruni in the NY Times gave Susur Lee’s new restaurant Shang a single star rating (ratings are 0 to 5). Ouch. Other reviews have been mixed. Does this mean he should have stayed in Toronto?

Chicken stock/broth review

Serious Eats reviews store-bought chicken stocks/broth

Unfortunately, none of them are the one that I usually use (Campbell’s ready-to-use reduced sodium in a carton) so I can’t compare. I don’t even think the ones they examine are ones I can find here! But there is an interesting comparison to Mark Bittman’s “veggies into a pot of water is better than commercial products” recipe.

Pea and ginger soup

This is a ridiculously simple recipe. It’s also got a great clear taste with a slight bite of ginger. If I wanted it to be fancy I’d probably strain it before serving, but as it was just for me I ate the bits of peas instead. More fibre is always a good thing for your body. 😉

Pea and ginger soup

Pea and ginger soup

Pea and Ginger Soup

– serves 2 to 3 –
Recipe from Mark Bittman, found at Serious Eats

Ingredients
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Directions
Pour the chicken stock into a large pot along with the peas and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.