Make your own paradise.
Have a 24-hour staycation with your girl friends at an oceanside resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.
When it's overcast and gloomy out.
Eat Goldfish crackers and dried mango in the room.
And drink sparkling wine by the pool.
Paint your toenails blue, brush your cheeks with bronzer, and wear a bright orange dress.
Make dinner a main event.
Ignore the menu and let the Chef decide for you.
And then finish all four desserts.
Don't set the alarm, and praise God for blackout curtains, down comforters and friends that don't snore.
Make brunch a main event.
Order two Bloody Mary's because you can.
And order the waffles for the table because you want to.
Let the concierge help you with your bags even though you are perfectly capable of carrying them yourself.
Make your own paradise.
During a spontaneous weekend trip to nowhere.
And for breakfast on an ordinary Monday morning.
Sticky Mango Oatmeal
Notes: I've had the idea for this oatmeal simmering in the back of my head for nearly three years now. I'd just become acquainted with mango sticky rice, which for the uninitiated, is the reason to save room for dessert at your local Thai place. Cooked with coconut milk and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, the humble jasmine rice that's also served alongside that Crying Tiger Pork becomes an entirely different entity. A buttery, sweet glutinous mass nestled under the bewitching glaze of ripe mango, it's the taste equivalent of paradise.
It seemed only natural to apply the same technique to oatmeal - with a few adjustments to make it less recognizable as dessert and more appropriate as breakfast. Yet even when preparing it with light coconut milk and skipping the sweetened condensed milk entirely, this oatmeal is no delicate affair. Which is precisely the point. Paradise is supposed to be a bit indulgent.
1/2 cup water (+ additional during the cooking process)
1/2 cup oats
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Fresh, ripe mango, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon toasted cashew pieces
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Add the oats and salt, reduce the heat and simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed/evaporates. Add the coconut milk, reduce the heat until its on the lowest your stove will go. Continue cooking, stirring frequently as you would risotto, adding additional water (or light coconut for an even richer bowl of oats) as needed. The key here is to cook it as slowly as possible so it becomes thick and, well, sticky - the same texture as rice. This will take approximately 20-25 minutes, far longer than you'd normally cook standard oats (as opposed to steel-cut).
Once the oatmeal has reached that thick, stick-a-spoon in it texture, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla to bring out the sweetness in the coconut milk. Serve immediately topped with ripe mango and toasted cashew pieces.