Saturday, June 29, 2013
Blueberry Cobbler Oatmeal: Breakfast champion
You don't need me to tell you how to make oatmeal.
It's not something that anyone with a moderate understanding of how to boil water can't undertake with minimal assistance from the four-step tutorial affixed to every canister of oats. Bring water to a boil. Add oats. Reduce heat. Stir in milk.
Then eat, likely begrudgingly, because it's oatmeal and not an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top.
Oatmeal isn't a breakfast that excites nor propels one from the sheets when the alarm clock sirens its wake up call. It's a necessary evil - a weekday breakfast of champions that we pat ourselves on the back for eating instead of the thickly frosted maple bacon donut we actually want. It's also deeply personal, its final state dependent on whether the preparer prefers it soupy like porridge or thick like the rubber cement* they have fond memories of consuming in Pre-K. And that's before even considering the question of whether to use all water, no water, skim milk, whole milk, soy milk, or even coconut milk.
And yet somehow oatmeal remains part of the conversation. A murmur, really, but nevertheless there - a consolation prize for health-conscious diners on nearly every breakfast and brunch menu, and a ritualistic pre-work meal that's eaten by many and discussed by few.
Because nobody Instagrams their bowl of oatmeal**; they Instagram the donut.
Except of course when that oatmeal becomes something significant. When it's not just the thing made with eyes half-closed and a hasty hand while the morning news hums in the background. When it's actually treated like a breakfast champion rather than a breakfast for people who want to feel like a champion.
I cobbled together this blueberry oatmeal this past Wednesday morning, not pausing to really consider how much I enjoyed it until I found myself making it again on Thursday morning. And Friday morning. And nearly this morning before I realized I was out of the key ingredient.
It's a summer oatmeal, the potentially suffocating heat of the oats and collapsing blueberries tempered by the cool, honey-sweetened yogurt dolloped on top. And while it's not something that anyone needs an instruction manual to compose, it was significant enough in my world this week that I feel compelled to share it here today.
Even if it looks absolutely nothing like the thickly frosted maple bacon donut you want in its stead.
**I Instagram my oatmeal.
Blueberry Cobbler Oatmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, defrosted
Splash of vanilla
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted
In a small sauce pan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Stir in the oats, salt and cinnamon, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the oats start to fatten up and absorb the majority of the water, then add the milk. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible temperature and continue slowly simmering, stirring every couple minutes, until the milk is absorbed and the oatmeal takes on a thick, rubber cement-like* texture. If cooking slowly, this should take a good 20 minutes, though if you are inclined for a more soup-like porridge, the cooking time can be shortened significantly.
Once the desired texture has been achieved, add the blueberries and splash of vanilla, increasing the heat slightly so the blueberries warm through and the skins begin to collapse, seeping their juices into the oats.
While the oatmeal is in its finishing stages, stir the honey into the Greek yogurt.
Spoon the oatmeal into a bowl and tope with the yogurt and the toasted almonds.
Eat, not begrudgingly, because this as close as it gets to an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top at 8 a.m. in the morning.