Oatmeal upgrade

For a person with such a deep love for bowls of mushy, warm carbs, I sure do hate oatmeal. I hate how it doesn’t stay warm, it takes forever to eat, how bland it is even with sugar, and most of all it’s stodgy texture (thank you GBBO for teaching me that word). But as a person with a deep obsession with bowls of mushy, warm carbs, I’ve always wanted to love oatmeal and over the past couple weeks I’ve found myself determined to do so. I am happy to report: I have finally cracked the code.

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Let’s breakdown the problems:

1. It doesn’t stay warm and takes forever to eat.
Easy, eat it out of an insulated coffee mug. Who cares how long it takes to eat if it stays warm?
Alternately if you’re a crazy person like me: put a heating pad under the bowl on the kitchen table.
2. The bland flavor.
I tackled this one from a couple different angles- some innovative, some all too predictable. First, toasting the oatmeal in a pat of butter brings out it’s natural nutty flavor. Then I added coconut milk and a little red kuri squash puree, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and yes, you guessed it- a spoonful of miso to pull it all together.
3. The stodgy texture.
Toasted oats not only taste better, but hold their shape and texture beautifully. Most oatmeal packaging will tell you to cook by mixing a 1:2 ratio grains to water. Forget you ever heard this! Oats release starch into liquid as they cook, which both thickens porridge and almost always creates a stodgy texture. Give them a little space to groove with a 1:4 ratio instead. 1/2 cup oats to 2 cups liquid. For me this was a 15 ounce can coconut milk and a splash of water. I’m sure you could use whatever kind of milk you have on hand- whole milk, oat milk, almond milk- but avoid cream, as it also creates too dense of a texture.

Toasted oatmeal and pumpkin porridge
serves two with toppings

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 cups creamy liquid such as coconut milk or almond milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon red miso

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium and melt the butter. Add oats and stir frequently until they are lightly brown and smell like popcorn, about four minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the porridge is just thick enough to hold toppings, about 20 minutes.