The last few weeks have been a little nuts. My cup runneth over with: writing big catering proposals for holiday parties (already!?), working on our new website, menu-building for my favorite event and working on fun new writing projects. All good stuff. But even good stuff can leave you drained and sleep-deprived and just a tad overwhelmed and under-nourished. Can I get an “Amen!?”
Times like these I need comfort food. I know, I know – food shouldn’t be used as a band-aid or a quick-fix. There are no answers at the bottom of a bowl of M&M’s….just a toothache and a sugar high. Food is fuel for the body – and should be used to propel our health forward. But it’s also nourishment for the mind and heart – and often the only prescription capable of soothing my soul. Sometimes I eat to fill my belly and sometimes I eat to quiet my mind – that’s the beauty of food, it’s a one-stop-shop healthcare provider.
For me, comfort food comes in many forms but must always include: salt, crunch, a little something sweet, lemon or some kind of citrus. Often this takes the form of a stellar margarita and some really good corn chips. But on a recent morning, while staring down my To-Do List for the day, I found myself in desperate need of some comfort-in-a-bowl. One look at my pot of oats and I knew it was time to call in the big guns: bring on the browned butter.
While my oats cooked with a cinnamon stick and a little maple syrup, I browned some butter in a small skillet. (TECHNIQUE TIP: Start your butter melting over high heat but AS SOON as it begins to turn brown, lower it to medium and keep a close eye. When the butter is deeply golden, remove and pour into a small dish so it doesn’t burn in the pan.) The crunch of pomegranate arils and pine nuts, the tangy of tiny satsuma wedges and a few flakes of Maldon salt completed the dish.
Part dessert, part breakfast, this is comfort food. After I licked the bowl clean and made a VERY large iced latte with some my favorite almond milk, I was ready to tackle the day. My head was still spinning looking at my looming To-Do List, but my stomach was happy. And sometimes a happy belly is just what you need.
- 1 cup oats (use Bob’s Gluten Free oats to make this dish GF and just as tasty)
- 1 ½ cups water
- pinch salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tbl maple syrup
- 4 tbl butter (don’t worry – this makes more browned butter than you’ll need – a useful ingredient to have laying around for a number of other uses)
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- 3 satsumas, peeled, segmented (if the segments are large, cut in half)
- 1 tbl pinenuts (or your favorite nut)
- ¼ cup milk or soy milk or half & half, optional
- Maldon salt
- Combine the oats, water, a pinch of salt, cinnamon stick and maple syrup in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a bubble and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the oats have soaked up the liquid. Remove from the heat. If you like your oats softer, add a bit more water and keep cooking.
- Meanwhile, add the butter to a small skillet. Place over high heat. As soon as the butter is melted and begins to brown, reduce the heat to low. Cook until the butter solids are deeply golden. Immediately remove from the heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.
- Serve the oatmeal is a shallow bowl and drizzle with a bit of the browned butter. Top with the pomegranate arils, satsuma pieces, nuts and a bit of milk.
- Save any leftover browned butter in the fridge for other uses....drizzled over popcorn, roasted vegetables, pasta, winter squash.....the options are endless!!