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.

Salted water for boiling

Serious Eats linked to this recipe over on Epicurious and I couldn’t resist sharing. The best part are the many comments!

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.

Deviled sardines

Sardines are one of those things that tend to get overlooked, in my opinion. Most people screw up their faces when you say the word “sardine,” but I’ve found it to be a great tinned food. And bonus, it’s one of the sustainable fishes.

I usually eat it in a sandwich with vinegar and onions, but when I saw this James Beard derived recipe posted on Serious Eats I decided that I had to try it. It makes a light lunch or dinner, or a heavy snack.

Deviled Sardines
– serves 1-2 –

Ingredients
1 can of sardines
Dijon Mustard (I used seeded Dijon mustard as I like the popping of the seeds in my mouth.)
Worcestershire sauce
Cayenne
Toast or crackers (I used Wasa crackers.)

Procedure
Place one sardine on a piece of toast or a cracker. Sprinkle with a little cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Then top with the mustard.

And here is my usual sardine recipe:

Sardine sandwich with vinegar and onions

Soak chopped or slivered onions and the sardines in vinegar, then place both the onions and sardines on buttered bread. It makes a lovely pickled sandwich, but is a bit smelly if you take it into the office.