…is a good day. there’s something about it that just makes me feel extra productive. like, i know i’m being responsible by taking the five minutes to prepare it or something. i went wild this morning and prepared the “chewy” version (by waiting to add the oats until the water is boiling) as opposed to the “creamy” way (starting the oats in cold water). that simple change makes all the difference. it was one of the first things we learned at culinary school… and that lesson alone may be worth the tuition… maybe. well, even if not, it’s really good that i learned it. i thought i preferred the creamier-style oats – and i often make it that way – but i realized that the chewy version brings back a wonderfully distinct taste memory of eating oatmeal at my grandparents’ house. i love that memory. [grandmom, do you make it that way? by waiting until the water boils? it definitely tastes like that in my mind.] my very own madeleine de Proust.
also, now that i’m taking part in my friend ann marie’s challenge to go thirty days without refined sugar, having my oatmeal with a bit of organic grade A maple syrup has been nice. (natural sweeteners get a pass for this challenge, in moderation. and by the way grade B is good, too, but A is a bit less refined, so less processed/concentrated and therefore less sweet.) husband discovered that there is “evaporated cane juice” in his otherwise healthy-looking granola, so it turns out there is some sugar sneaking up on us. anyway… i’m not really a sugar-all-day kind of person, but i do have those intense moments when all i want to eat are cookies and ice cream. so there’s that… and i’m hoping this challenge will help me quit those cravings. or at least, learn how to substitute the majority of refined sugar with less-processed, healthier alternatives (maple or brown rice syrup, blackstrap molasses, maple crystals, and sometimes agave, to name a few). oh and in case you were wondering: i also added raisins, ground flaxseeds, a tiny bit of unsweetened light coconut milk, and a few almonds to my oatmeal. i’m sure you were totally wondering that.
p.s. interestingly – and fittingly – that cute ceramic zebra that sits on our dining table came from my grandparents’ house. a nice visual complement to my taste memory.
p.p.s. i’ve been tweeting more these days.
on last night’s menu: lots of grains. classic tabouli (bulgur wheat) with parsley, mint and lemon; a variation on the traditional Jewish dish kasha varnishkes; curried couscous with carrots, raisins, and caramelized onions (NB: couscous is actually a pasta not a grain); wild rice salad with radish and celery (another misnomer: wild rice is a grain but is not actually rice); buckwheat soba noodle stir fry with jalapeño and bok choy; and finally the amazing kasha-potato loaf, served with delicious vinaigrette. i’m relatively new to some of the grains that we experimented with (ryeberries, kasha, and millet, for example), but i will definitely be revisiting them soon, as it is always nice to expand my meal options and squeeze in more whole grains. i’ll also be revisiting them soon because i took home a tote bag full of food last night. “no grain left behind.”
and that kasha loaf, man… it was amazing! it had potatoes, onions, celery – it reminded me of stuffing, and Thanksgiving, and comfort. if you’re not familiar with the incredible buckwheat groats also known as kasha… well, get familiar. they are cool little dudes. (and if i’m allowed to post the recipe here, i will definitely do that ASAP, too.)
just some of the many things that we cooked today (steamed artichokes with lemon-garlic oil and poached pears with a vanilla-cinnamon apple reduction).
*big thank you to my classmate Trinette for sending me this photo*