Oatmeal: Culinary Blank Canvas

Oatmeal serves as the perfect base in which to bring out your inner artist – don’t you think? Recently, I’ve been inspired by the array of sweet and savory combinations of dishes that can be created with so humble and simple of a grain: the oat. Oatmeal is not only nutritious and satisfying, but also a beautiful culinary work of art and an affordable meal year-round. Color, texture and taste can be delicately crafted in endless variations – think miso, sliced radishes, cilantro, a poached farm egg and toasted seeds for a savory explosion. Or a nourishing sweet version like the one our founder, Hayley, brought for the team one morning, filled with playful toppings and infusions like nut butter, cacao powder, currants, and persimmon.

Last summer, I spent some time with friends in Michigan and each morning of our vacation, one of us ladies would concoct the day’s oatmeal by assessing the options for fresh produce, pantry items, and condiments, and then go from there! This experiment showcased each cooks’ creative expressions and resulted in delicious meals, prepared with love and intention. Those summer bowls, filled with the juiciest local blueberries and stone fruits, inspire me to showcase the freshest offerings at any season. Right now, that happens to be citrus here on the west coast. The following recipe is one that sings the song of winter, with an international, exotic flair. May your bellies stay warm and satisfied!

Middle Eastern Breakfast Oats – serves 2

  • 1 c. steel cut oats (or regular oats)
  • 2 c. water
  • cinnamon stick
  • 2 t. coconut oil
  • 2 t. rose petal jam*
  • 2 T. toasted, chopped walnuts or pistachios
  • 2 medjool dates, sliced in thin rounds
  • drizzle of your choice milk (slightly warmed)
  • ground cardamom
  • finishing sea salt (like maldon flakes)
  • one sliced Cara Cara, Navel or Blood orange

Bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil, add cinnamon stick and oats, and mix. Reduce heat and stir oats frequently for about 10 minutes until creamy texture is attained. Divide oatmeal into two bowls (removing cinnamon stick) and dollop a teaspoon of coconut oil on top of each. Continue with the rose petal jam, date rounds, nuts, sprinkle of cardamom and sea salt. Pour milk around the perimeter of the bowl for added creaminess. Top with fruit (fanned out for an artistic finish) and enjoy! 

*a specialty ingredient that can be left out, but pretty spectacular if you can find it (or make it yourself!) Also pairs nicely with cheeses.

~Kristin Cole

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