We’re going to start with the baked oatmeal because I am oldschool, and think breakfast comes first. I mean I’ll wash my face, and usually get dressed and things like that first first, but there is no way I’m leaving the house — not even to walk the dog — without eating something, and something substantial at that, beforehand.
I’m not sure when this started, because I definitely wasn’t brought up that way. My mom’s habitual breakfast before she dashed off to her early-early-start work was a cup of coffee and maybe half a bun (a Chinese pastry bun, like this). She would leave me the other half, and usually I’d nibble through that, along with a glass of milk. That was it.
Now maybe my adolescent metabolism was slower than my current one (…yeah, right) but I marvel that I never felt hungry in the mornings. These days I eat a bowl of cereal, or packet of instant oatmeal (I know, I know) prior to walking The Smelly, get back, go to work and, barring a morning meeting, then eat yoghourt and granola at my desk. Without that “second breakfast” I am crabby and starving until lunch. Without the first one, I can barely function.
Oatmeal is without a doubt my favourite way to kick-off the day’s eating. I do resort to the instant stuff, because any attempts I’ve made to make my own from scratch have been… slimy? flavourless? Let’s just say they’ve been unappetizing, and leave it at that. I’m sure I’ll try again at some point in the future. In the meantime, however, I’ve been left deeply suspicious of baked oatmeal, and having finally tried it this morning, I can’t imagine why.
I jumped onto Heidi‘s bandwagon and finally tried her recipe (with some minor modifications — namely less banana and I used apricot) and… I was amazed. I did mentally prepare myself for grey mush, and indeed, I’m glad I reduced the banana in the pan, but oh! This is oatmeal the way it’s supposed to be! Chewy and soft and just sweet enough (I know — are you shocked I didn’t pour syrup on this too?!). Do you like oatmeal? Or feel that you should? Or just like warm breakfasts in general? Make this. It’s delicious.
I have no qualms whatsoever about The Boy not wanting any (he’s not a breakfast person at all): it just means more leftovers for me next week.
Onto kale. About a week ago, I got this book out of the library and have been rapturously engrossed in its pages ever since. While I’ve mentally earmarked a number of the recipes for experimentation, my very first foray happened when we got the kale in the CSA shipment.
My prior experience with cooking kale was pretty much to de-rib it, cut it into manageable chunks, braise it, and throw as much garlic powder at it as I thought it could handle. Not bad, but nothing special, either.
Faced with some quite pretty purple-green kale, I thought to flip through Nigel’s book to see if he had any suggestions. As it turns out, he had many, but the one that caught my eye was something simple: cut up the kale (no de-ribbing!), and fry it up with what I immediately recognized to be another Holy Trinity in cooking — bacon, garlic and chili flakes.
There are many trinities in cookery: carrot, celery and onion, the Creole onion, celery and green pepper, the Asian soy, sesame and mirin. Bacon, garlic and chili flakes, however, is a combination that, once I saw it, seemed so obvious, I was left wondering where it’s been all my life.
It didn’t disappoint. People, if you have kale (or collards, or any other meaty leafy green) you need to make this. Even The Boy commented that something in the trinity elevated the bacon beyond its usual level of deliciousness.
So go! Go forth and make yourself tasty foods! (Apologies for the lack of pictures. I devoured everything before thinking to photograph it. It was that good.)