Pumpkin Comfort

“He receives comfort like cold porridge.” – The Tempest, William Shakespeare

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, and I don’t mean the return of tapered jeans. I mean, taking a perfectly steamy bowl of oatmeal and – shiver – stirring in c-c-cold yogurt.

Maybe it’s because my office (where I eat breakfast on weekdays while I catch up on email) is always freezing. Or maybe it’s because the ice rink (where I eat breakfast on Saturdays while my daughter skates) is always freezing. Or maybe it’s because my house (where I eat breakfast on Sundays, like an actual normal person) is always freezing. Or maybe it’s because, let’s face it, I’M always freezing. Whatever the reason, I don’t care if it’s in the pot nine days old, I just want my porridge HOT!

And, to further ensure that my breakfast bowlful is super soulful, I want my porridge pumpkin-y.

pumpkin +

oats = BFFs

Thankfully, we’ve survived The Great Pumpkin Shortage of ’09, and supermarkets are fully stocked.

Please note that the following recipe uses steel-cut oats, not rolled oats. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook, but they’re worth it. And, you can cook up a big batch ahead of time.

Pumpkin Porridge
makes 6 servings

[1] Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
[2] Dump all of the following into a big glass baking dish:
1-1/4 c. steel-cut oats (like McCann’s or Bob’s Red Mill)
1 can (15-oz.) pumpkin puree
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 c. boiling water
2 c. steaming almond milk (or milk of your choice)
[3] Stir it all up. Then pop it in the oven till it’s the consistency you like, about 35-45 minutes. It’ll be thick and creamy and the oats should be a little bit chewy. Stir frequently towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t stick to the dish.
[4] Here’s how I eat it: When it cools a bit, I divide it up into 6 little containers and put them in the fridge. Every morning, I take one out and dump it in a bowl. I add 1/4 c. almond milk, microwave for a minute, stir it all up, then microwave for another minute. Then I stir in 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed and 1 tbsp. sliced almonds (or chopped pecans or walnuts). If it’s not sweet enough, I add a little more maple syrup, or some brown sugar, to taste.
[5] Dig in while it’s HOT!

this porridge is just right

p.s. Okay, it’s working … I think I can feel my toes again …

Posted in Breakfast, Oats, Pumpkin, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

We All Become Blueberries

“It always goes wrong when we come to the dessert.… It’s the blueberry pie that does it. But I’ll get it right one day, you wait and see.” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

Or, for those who skipped the book and went straight to the movie …

“It happens every time. They all become blueberries.” – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

don't you just want to eat them till you're blue in the face?

This summer, I thought I might become a blueberry. I just couldn’t get enough of the little gems, especially when they were at their peak and cheap, cheap, cheap.

I consumed vast quantities in my morning porridge (a.k.a. oatmeal … I just think porridge sounds tastier). But as the weather turned, the supply dried up, and I sadly switched to frozen.

Then, last week at my local produce store, I saw fresh blueberries on sale for a reasonable off-season price. I know, they weren’t grown locally, but you can’t get between a girl and her blueberries. I greedily filled up my basket.

Blueberries are bursting with Vitamin C and exploding with antioxidants. If the claims can be believed, they’ll burn your belly fat, put hair on your chest (or take it off, if that’s your preference), make your kids want to clean their rooms, help you win the lottery, etc. etc. But what’s really great about them is, YUM.

I think Willy Wonka’s problem was trying for a blueberry pie, when a blueberry crumble is way easier, and better. Who needs a soggy bottom crust? It’s all about the crumbly, crunchy top.

table of contents

Blueberry Crumble for Two
…or one, if you’re grabby like Violet Beauregarde

[1] Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
[2] Take two 4.4-oz containers of blueberries (rinsed, drained) and put each into its own little 10-oz. baking dish. (Frozen, unthawed blueberries will work too.)
[3] Add 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. whole-wheat flour to EACH dish of blueberries, and combine thoroughly.
[4] In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 c. rolled oats, 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. ground ginger.
[5] Add 2 tbsp. margarine to the oat mixture. Using your hands, rub the margarine between your fingers over and over until the oat mixture takes on a uniform, sandy texture/appearance.
[6] Sprinkle half of the oat mixture onto each of the two blueberry-filled dishes.
[7] Place the dishes on a baking sheet (for easier removal from the oven) and bake for about 25 minutes, till the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
[8] Dig in before the Oompa Loompas come to roll you away.


p.s. I make these in small batches because they’re quick and easy, and best eaten on the day they’re made. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled for a crowd.

Posted in Blueberries, Desserts, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Cabbages and Things

“‘The time has come,'” the Walrus said, ‘to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings.’”
– Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter

We’ve definitely got a lot to talk about. But today, I’m just going to talk about cabbages.

You’ve got your basic garden-variety green, your red — which magically, upon cooking, turns blue — your curly savoy, and your cute little baby bok choy, to name a few. I love them all, and for some reason I’ve been craving them this fall. Maybe it’s a Vitamin C thing.

My kids — not so much. It’s hard for me to swallow, but they just don’t share my love of dishes like cabbage salad or braised cabbage. They will, however, eat piles and piles of the leafy stuff if it’s tucked inside some adorable little oven-fried egg rolls.

Let’s gather up the ingredients…

table of contents

…and get cooking.

Two-Bite Egg Rolls
makes 28

[1] Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
[2] Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with a sheet of non-stick foil. Coat the foil with 1 tbsp. light olive oil.
[3] Mix together in a microwavable bowl: 8 oz. shredded green cabbage and carrots, 4 oz. shredded red cabbage, and ¼ cup water. Cover the bowl and microwave for 3-4 min. Drain.
[4] In a small microwavable bowl, mix together: 1 tbsp. tamari (soy sauce), 2 tbsp. peanut butter, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. ground ginger (feel free to use fresh garlic and ginger if you have them). Microwave the mixture for about 15 sec., then stir.
[5] Spoon the tamari mixture into the cabbage mixture. Combine thoroughly. Add white pepper to taste.

... and roll

fold ...

fill ...

[6] Lay out a wonton wrapper like a diamond. Put a tsp. full of filling in the center.
[7] Dip your finger in water and run it along the top two sides of the diamond. Lift up the bottom corner of the diamond to cover the filling.
[8] Fold in each corner.
[9] Roll up tightly away from you (bottom to top). Repeat till you use up all the filling.
[10] Place the eggrolls on the baking sheet, seam side down. Roll them in the oil until they’re coated.
[11] Bake for around 10-12 min., turning the eggrolls over halfway through.
[12] Watch them disappear.

and they ate happily ever after

p.s. I like to make extra filling, heat it up, and serve it on a bed of brown rice, with some salted peanuts sprinkled on top.

Posted in Cabbage, Snacks, Vegetarian | 4 Comments