Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Please Sir, I'd Like Some More

I am a lucky girl. I have a great mother in law. I know I've let this be known several times, but really, I mean it. Back in early January, she asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her I wanted a bread baking book or some athletic socks. She tried to get me an artisan bread book a friend of hers had, but she could only find it used. Instead, she gave me the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook. I Love it. Really. Madly, deeply, love it.

See, I'm a fairly big dork. And I love to read cookbooks. I look at the recipes and the descriptions and I imagine how it would taste and whether the Brain would eat the recipe and whether I could get the ingredients here. Sometimes I try to imagine how fattening things are and whether my butt could really take any more expanding. But being that this is really a crazy fantastic cookbook, it has the nutrition information for almost all of the recipes.

As of right now, I've managed to get through the breakfast section. While things like quinoa pancakes look unbelievable, I'm not sure where I'd manage to get some quinoa flour out here in Nowhere, Ohio. Especially with this snow/ freezing rain blend we've gotten today. I did pick up some quinoa in Michigan this weekend, but I don't know if I can make my own flour. But I digress. In the midst of this baking book, there was a recipe for porridge.

Porridge? Porridge brings to mind cold and rainy weather and orphans and tasteless gruel and musicals about poor people. Or at least it used to for me. This was the most amazing breakfast EVER. I haven't wanted a second helping of breakfast since I was a kid and my mom once in a while bought a sugar cereal, like Graham Crackers, or Honey Nut Cheerios. Not only was it delicious, but it was packed with fiber and whole grains. The porridge, not Honey Nut Cheerios. I happened to have almost all of the ingredients on hand too. I didn't have the exact fruits the recipe called for, and I only had about 1/4 cup of heavy cream for the Maple Cream. But really I don't think the Maple Cream is necessary. Don't get me wrong, it was soooooo good. It was rich and tasty and made my eyes roll back in my head. But the porridge with the fruit would be a very good breakfast with just a sprinkle of brown sugar. Way more healthy too.

And the porridge was a great way to start a day with such miserable weather. It even kept me full through shoveling. Too bad I forgot to pack my own lunch. Such a healthy breakfast did make me feel better about going next door to the local coffeeshop for a brownie for lunch though. And oh yay! I get to have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow! The Brain didn't want any. Silly man.

Irish Oatmeal with Dried Fruit and Maple Cream
from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking
2 servings

1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dried prunes, chopped (about 3)
1 Tbsp currants
1 Tbsp golden raisins
2 Tbsp craisins

The night before you want to serve the porridge, soak the oats in enough water to cover them plus an inch. The next morning, drain the oats and place them in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and the salt. Bring the oats to a simmer over medium heat and simmer, stirring, until they're tender, about 10 to 12 minutes total cooking time. Stir in the dried fruits and let the porridge sit for 5 minutes. To serve the porridge, divide the oatmeal between 2 bowls and serve with a sprinkle of brown sugar and the maple cream (recipe follows).

Nutrition Information per serving (3/4 cup porridge): 39g whole grains, 190 cal, 3g fat, 6g protein, 37g complex carbohydrates, 5g dietary fiber, 271mg sodium, 269mg potassium, 64RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 31mg calcium, 184mg phosphorus

Maple Cream
Yield: 1 cup, 8 servings

1 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
1 small strip orange peel
1 star anise
1/4 cup maple syrup

Combine the cream with the cinnamon stick, orange peel, and anise in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, orange peel and star anise, and whisk in the maple syrup. Increase the heat and simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes more. Serve with porridge.

According to the cookbook this cream "keeps well in the refrigerator, and a quick zap in the microwave warms it just enough to serve."

They didn't give the nutrition information for the Maple Cream.


glamah16 said...

Seems I'm always leaving the first comment! You popped up first in my reader. Anyway Whole foods has it. I have to find a use for it as I purchased some a while back. Thanks for the idea.Lucky girl I want that cookbook!

Dhanggit said...

this is one lovely and a healthy dessert to start your day right!! :-)

Deborah said...

I'm not a breakfast oatmeal person, but this looks so good that I might even try it!

Anonymous said...

I'm there with you. I read, actually read, cookbooks for enjoyment. What is your favorite, all-time?

Cakelaw said...

Delicious - no gruel in sight! I am a porridge nut, so I really want to try this when the weather gets cooler here.

Brilynn said...

I think it definitely requires maple cream, yum!

Emiline said...

I love Irish oatmeal. We use to eat it quite a bit. Not so much anymore, I guess because we don't plan ahead enough.
And dried fruit and orange peel? MMM.

Mary said...

courtney- I like that you're always so quick! It makes me feel like you really anticipate my posts.

Dhanggit- Thanks! It was a great way to start the day!

Deborah- Definitely try it. It was WAY better than I expected.

Marti- Right now this one is right up there, but that could be because it's new I think. I really like reading the Vegetables Every Day cookbook because there's so much information. The Essense of Chocolate has some unbelievable photos. And the Bon Appetit Cookbook always has me drooling.

Cakelaw- If you like porridge, you'll definitely love this.

Brilynn- That's what I thought when I read the recipe, but although I might get up and have a cookie for breakfast somedays, the maple cream was really really rich. Besides, the porridge didn't have that normal slimy oatmeal quality.

Emiline- Yeah I would have had it for breakfast today if I remembered to soak it last night.