Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Oatmeal

The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference kicks off tonight. I'm not attending, mostly because I'm not a farm by any stretch of the imagination. However, seeing it on my calendar did put me in the mood for oatmeal. I was reminded of the time I attended several years ago when Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, was the keynote speaker. I was on the Oryana board and someone had the idea that all board members should go hear Sally as her cookbook was currently trendy among the co-op foodies.

I'm an unintentional cookbook collector (I can't resist them) and have dozens. I'm afraid to count them. Some are ragged with use, others barely opened. Some cookbook authors, such as Thomas Keller, inspire me to reach for perfection in the kitchen. Others, like Mollie Katzen, Madhur Jaffrey and the Moosewood Collective, help me decide what's for dinner when I'm all out of my own ideas. But if I had to choose one cookbook for that desert island, it would be Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.

Presumably, if I were stranded on a desert island, I would actually have time to do everything the Sally way. It's not that her methods are unduly time-consuming -- and she insists that once these preparation techniques become a habit, time in the kitchen returns to a normal level -- but they do require advance planning. (To save space, I won't go into details here on the theories behind her methods.) The primary adjustment is learning to soak grains and legumes -- even nuts -- before cooking.

What this means is that if you want oatmeal for breakfast, you need to decide the night before. But oh, what oatmeal! Sally's oatmeal is the best on the planet, and with 2 minutes of preparation before bedtime, it can be ready the next morning in the time it would take to open a package of instant, add water and pop it in the microwave. And, if you buy oats in bulk (organic bulk rolled oats at Oryana are cheaper per pound than store-brand oats at Meijer, last time I checked), it is a very inexpensive breakfast.

Winter Oatmeal (adapted from Nourishing Traditions)

1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. plain yogurt (or whey)
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Several hours before cooking, warm 1/2 c. of the water and stir in the yogurt. Add the oats, cover and let sit. The next morning, bring a fresh 1/2 c. water to boil. Add the salt and the oats mixture. It will be ready in less than 5 minutes. This makes a generous single serving or two side dishes. Double or triple as necessary. Enjoy!

While this is tender and delicious eaten plain, if you have time, dress it up according to your tastes and pantry ingredients. This morning I added goji berries, toasted almond slivers, butter, local maple syrup, ground flax seeds and sliced banana. I put the rest of the banana in the blender with some yogurt, a cup of strawberries frozen from the summer harvest, more ground flax seed, a teaspoon of dolomite powder, about half a scoop of whey protein powder, and a cranberry Emergen-C mixed in a cup of water. Delicious and nourishing!


  1. Sharon, you put together an impressively healthy breakfast! I love oatmeal and will be using your recipe.

    By the way, this is such a great looking blog. Love the books and your photo. Keep the blogs coming!