Back in my kitchen

September 1, 2009 at 10:52 PM | Posted in Recipe | 3 Comments

Oddly enough, when I was in Paris, I didn’t cook that much.  Salads (both simple and complicated), pastas (one memorable one was spicy chorizo, sweet onions, and spinach with mini pasta shells that cradled the sausage cubes and onions), picnic dinners (cheese + bread + charcuterie + vegetable or fruit + macaron or a chocolate bonbon), the occasional vegetable dish, or a gussied-up Picard meal were my standbys when I ate at home.  And sometimes this was borne out of necessity, like when it was Sunday night and I had just gotten home from Spain with almost no food in the house and everything was closed, and I ate couscous soaked in hot water, with butter and honey and a splash of milk, for dinner at 11pm (actually, that was surprisingly excellent).  I don’t know why I didn’t feel like cooking much, given my love for playing in the kitchen and the abundance of excellent raw material at my disposal.  There could be a million reasons–the lack of any knives in my kitchen besides flimsy dinner knives, being weirded out by the convection oven, the variety of foods you could buy cheaply that required no cooking, or a desire not to amass large quantities of ingredients I would have to leave behind. I ate very well, but I can’t say that there was a whole lot of creativity behind it.

In any case, since coming back to Boston I’ve been on a cooking jag, with my beloved chef’s knife and jars of spices and tiny but well-equipped kitchen set up exactly the way I like it and working at full tilt.  In particular, my freezer has been filling up quickly with fully and partially-prepared foods that I’ll be able to eat once school gets busy.  Two different loaves of no-knead bread (one white and one rosemary-kalamata olive), pizza dough, a yeasted olive oil tart crust, roasted tomato confit, baked oatmeal.  I thought I’d be freezing a lot of vegetables from my CSA, but so far I’ve been pretty much using up my share by the end of the week.  Except the five tomatillos still knocking around in my vegetable drawer.  Any suggestions for using those up are much appreciated.

About that baked oatmeal. It’s one of my standby recipes–perfect for breakfast, or a quick post-work, pre-workout snack, or a late evening study snack when there’s a long night of reading ahead.  It started off as a Cooking Light recipe from sometime in the nineties, but over the years it’s migrated enough from its origins that I think I can call it my own.  It’s 100% whole grain without being heavy or gummy.  Just sweet enough to avoid that slightly-dreading-the-next-bite sensation I sometimes get with a bowl of plain oatmeal.  30 minutes from the time you start mixing to the time it comes out of the oven.  And while in its original incarnation it was baked in an 8×8 pan, I have to say that my instinct to turn it into muffins was a good one–the crust is definitely the best part, and this has none of the gunky texture that you sometimes get on the bottom of things baked in Pyrex dishes.  It’s also a nice way to enjoy oatmeal when it’s warm outside, since you can eat the muffins at room temperature and don’t get that sweaty-neck thing that sometimes comes with a big bowl of wintertime oatmeal.


Baked Oatmeal Muffins

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or kefir (can just use 1 1/2 cups milk if you don’t have any)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shelled, salted, and chopped pistachios or other nuts
  • 1-2 tbsp dark maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a muffin tin.

Combine oats through salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Combine milk through vanilla (I usually just do it all in the 2-cup liquid measuring cup so there are fewer dishes) and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir thoroughly.

Divide batter into the muffin cups, filling just to the top (they’ll rise because of the baking powder).  Sprinkle each muffin with 1 tablespoon pistachios, and drizzle with a bit of maple syrup.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.  Run a knife around the edge of each muffin to loosen, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 9.



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  1. ooh! how exciting! I bet you looked even prouder of the muffins than you did of the oatmeal in this picture:

    baked oatmeal

  2. Looks good enougth to eat. Do you deliver?

  3. The tomatillo problem has been solved. They make a great sauce kinda of chimuchura-esque but better. Call Karen for the recipe.

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