Archive for the ‘Oatmeal’ Category

Maple-Oatmeal Bread

30 March 2009

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A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky
 
I have one final entry for Massachusetts Maple Month. This is one of my favorite breads in the world—slightly sweet and filling. I always make a mess when I knead bread. How flour ends up on my face, I really don’t know! Luckily, the end product is worth the clean-up work. 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup old-fashioned oats (do not use quick or steel cut)

2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon butter

1 packet (about 2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (not instant)

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons salt

5-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (more or less)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

 

Place the oats in a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over them, add the butter, and let the oatmeal stand for about 15 minutes, until it is lukewarm. After the first 10 minutes, place the yeast in a small bowl. Cover it with the lukewarm water. Allow it to bubble up for a few minutes.

 

When the oatmeal is lukewarm, stir in the maple syrup, the salt, the yeast with its water, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir vigorously; then add 2 cups more flour. Stir again vigorously for a minute or two; get as close to beating as you can with a mixture this heavy. Scoop up the dough (add a bit of flour if it won’t hold together to scoop), and place it on a kneading surface—a floured board or a silicone mat.

 

Knead the dough for 2 minutes, adding a little more flour to keep it from sticking to the surface and your hands. After those first 2 minutes, let the dough rest for up to 10 minutes; then resume kneading, adding more flour as needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough feels smooth.

 

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp dish towel. Let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk; this should take about 2 hours, depending on how warm the room is. If your towel dries out during the rising, be sure to dampen it again.

 

Remove the covering from the bowl, and punch down on the dough once with your fist. This lets out a lot of the air. (It’s also fun.) Cut the dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Butter 2 bread pans, and shape each ball into an oval about the same size as your pans. Smooth the balls as well as you can with your hands.

 

Place the bread loaves in the buttered pans, and turn them over so that both the tops and the bottoms have touched the butter. Cover the pans with a damp towel as you did the rising bowl, and allow the loaves to rise again until they double in bulk. This should take a little less time than the first rising, perhaps an hour or so.

 

After 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves have finished rising, uncover them, and bake them for about 40 to 45 minutes, until they are a warm brown color and sound hollow when you tap on them. Remove the hot loaves from the pans, and let them cool on racks.

 

Makes 2 loaves.

 

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Maple-Pecan Granola

21 January 2009

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A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky

 

Ben and Jerry aren’t the only Americans shouting “Yes, Pecan!” this January in honor of the inauguration. In keeping with my current oatmeal theme I’m making a special Obamalicious batch of oaty, nutty granola.


 

If I had to pick only one food in the world to eat every day, this granola might just be it. It offers a pleasing mixture of tastes and textures. Luckily, I don’t eat it every day. It’s expensive to make and rather fattening. Nevertheless, a little bit is heavenly with ice cream or yogurt or just by itself as a snack. It also makes a welcome gift. If I thought it would get past security, I would send some to the Obamas. Instead, I’m sharing it with my neighbors.


 

Maple-Pecan Granola

 

Ingredients:

 

3-1/2 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats (do not use instant or steel-cut oatmeal)

1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup nutlike cereal nuggets such as Grape-Nuts
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup canola oil, plus oil for greasing the pan
3/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup raisins (plus as many extra as you like!)

1 cup dried cranberries (more of these are nice, too)


 

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, cereal, almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds. Make sure they are well jumbled up. In a separate, smaller bowl or a 2-cup measuring cup, carefully whisk together the oil, salt, syrup, and vanilla. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix the whole mess together thoroughly with a big spoon.


 

Generously oil a large jelly roll pan with canola oil. (Pour a little oil in the pan, and smooth it around with a paper towel.) Place the granola on the pan, and bake it until it is golden brown, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring well every 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and cool the granola to room temperature. At that point, transfer the granola back into the large bowl, and stir in the dried fruits. Store the granola in an air-tight container (or several).


Makes about 8 cups of granola—more or less, depending on how much stuff you add.


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The Golden Spurtle


 

Before I leave the topic of National Oatmeal Month, I’d like to point readers to the website for the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship, http://www.goldenspurtle.com/. Thanks to Peter Beck and to Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen section, http://www.thekitchn.com/, for finding this for me!

A yearly cooking contest set in Carrbridge in Inverness-shire, Scotland (of course!), this contest looks ALMOST as much fun as my annual Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest. Avid food enthusiasts will be happy to hear that they can attend both. The Golden Spurtle is scheduled for October 11, 2009, while the Pudding Contest will take place on October 31.


The Golden Spurtle web site includes rules, an entry form, and a wonderful page devoted to porridge, including something you won’t find anywhere else–a Porridge and Oatmeal Thesaurus.


 

Eat it up!


2008 Golden Spurtle Winners Andy Daggert & Ian Bishop (Courtesy of the Golden Spurtle)

2008 Golden Spurtle Winners Andy Daggert & Ian Bishop (Courtesy of the Golden Spurtle)

Avenaceous Meatloaf

11 January 2009

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A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky

          Knowing that this blog and I are currently celebrating National Oatmeal Month, my college roommate Amy MacDonald recently sent me Wordsmith.org’s word of the day for January 5. The word was AVENACEOUS. It means relating to or like oats.

           Amy, known to her college friends as “Our Amy” (we like to take credit for her), is one of my favorite people in the world. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s musical. And she’s as practical and loving as they come. She has a terrific family, from matriarch Kathleen and the seven(!) MacDonald siblings down to her own kids, Caitlin and William. Until recently I was under the impression that Caitlin and William were still extremely young. Last time I saw them they were sipping drinks of such an intense blue that only children under ten could digest them–or would want to try. According to Amy’s most recent missive, however, they have somehow become teenagers.

Our Amy (wearing Kathleen's glamorous earrings)

Our Amy (glamorous earrings courtesy of Kathleen)

          Obviously, Amy and I don’t get together as often as we’d like. Unfortunately (from my point of view), she lives in California. Whenever we do, we talk for hours, just as though we were still sitting on our beds at Mount Holyoke. Even when we’re apart, we think of each other often. I’m convinced that no one else would have found the term avenaceous for me. If you’d like to see Wordsmith’s full tribute to this highly appropriate word, look at http://wordsmith.org/words/avenaceous.html.

          I was going to call the dish below “Your Basic Meatloaf with Oatmeal,” but I think the new name is much classier. Classy or not, this comfort food is a staple in my home in winter. My mother Jan never uses breadcrumbs to fill out her loaf. Oats are much tastier and more nutritious as well. If you’re feeding small children, chop the onion and bell pepper into very small pieces to disguise them a bit. Adults seem to like larger chunks.

          To keep from chilling your hands, take the ground meat out of the refrigerator about an hour before you’re ready to put your loaf together. Enjoy your avenaceous meal!

Avenaceous Meatloaf

Ingredients:

2 pounds good-quality ground beef (or a combination of beef with pork—or beef, pork, and veal!)

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium or 1/2 large bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

lots of freshly ground pepper

1 or 2 eggs

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats plus a bit more if needed

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions:

          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. (Your clean hands are the best tools for putting them all together.)  Blend in 1 egg and the 1/2 cup oatmeal. If it’s hard to get everything to bind together, add another egg and/or a few more oats.

          Fashion the meat mixture into a rough log, and place it in a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard, and spread them over the meatloaf.

          Bake the loaf from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serves 8.meatloaf-ingredients-web1

Oat Cuisine

8 January 2009
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A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky

         In my New Year email to friends I mentioned that I was working on an article about oatmeal. The response was enthusiastic.

          “Oatmeal is our friend,” e-mailed Carol Cooke, a realtor from Alexandria, Virginia. Just as passionate was Sheila Velazquez. Along with her family, Sheila is working hard to resurrect the old Rice farm on Pudding Hollow Road here in Hawley, Massachusetts. They are basically camping out (brrr!) while nurturing their children and chickens, reconstructing the historic house’s interior, and reading seed catalogues as they dream of the garden they will plant in spring.

          Sheila wrote that on chilly winter mornings she enjoys oatmeal almost every day. She buys organic oats in bulk and cooks them with water, dried fruit, and cinnamon. She throws in a little salt at the very end. “So good and also a good way to use up fruit that’s getting past its time,” she added.

          Sheila offered me a recipe for oatmeal pie, which she termed a sort of “faux pecan” concoction. She said of oatmeal in general, “It seems that some of the most delicious foods are also the least expensive and best for us.”

          I don’t eat oatmeal every morning. Unlike the noble Sheila I always add at least a little brown sugar or maple syrup to my morning porridge. I do yearn for the warmth and comfort of oatmeal at this time of year, however. I’m apparently not alone. More Americans eat oatmeal in January than in any other month, a statistic that prompted Quaker Oats to name January National Oatmeal Month.

Of course, Quaker had a vested interest in creating a month devoted to its signature product. I forgive the company because oatmeal is indeed the perfect food in this dark and cold season. The old cliché that it sticks to one’s ribs turns out to be true. Whole grains like oats take longer for the body to process than many other foods.

The best oatmeal for health purposes is a long-cooking type such as steel-cut oats. If you’re in a hurry, old-fashioned oats take only five minutes to prepare and are still very good for you. Avoid the small packages of instant oatmeal, however. They tend to go overboard in adding salt and sugar.

Oatmeal always appears on lists of super foods. It is good for cholesterol and blood pressure. It also delivers several nutrients, as well as some protein.

Best of all, it is versatile. Broccoli is also a super food, but there are only so many ways a person can disguise broccoli. Believe me, I’ve tried! As well as making a tasty breakfast cereal, oatmeal can be tucked into fruit crisps, cookies, breads, muffins, and meatloaf. It can even be used to construct a facial mask. (Take that, broccoli!)

In this post and the next few I’ll share recipes to boost oatmeal intake this month. If you’re looking for a basic oatmeal cookie, you can’t do better than the formula for Vanishing Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies on the inside of the Quaker Oats box top. Dan Turner of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, told me how to get the best consistency with these cookies: use a Crisco stick instead of the butter or margarine called for in the recipe. You’ll find that the cookies really do vanish quickly.

 
 
 

The Rice Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts

The Rice Farmhouse in Hawley, Massachusetts

Rice Farm Oatmeal Pie

          Sheila Velazquez says that she originally found this recipe in Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, published in 1972. At one time she managed a farmer’s market, where the pie was a best seller. Sheila explains that the oatmeal forms a chewy crust on the top of the pie.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the spices and salt. Stir in the corn syrup. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition until all is blended. Stir in the oats.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell, and bake for about an hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serves 6 to 8.