Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good Morning

There is something sacred about the morning. And I firmly believe that we should be gently led into our day, not jarred awake by obnoxious beeping (or baby crying for that matter). But for most of us, easing into things is not an option-there are jobs to get to, babies to dress and feed and children to rush out the door to school. With all the hastiness of a typical morning routine, we forget to set aside time to nourish both our body and our soul, leaving us exhausted and agitated before even the real stress sets in.

A while back, when I home schooled my children, there was a television add in which a harried mother ushered her kids out the door to the bus, then returned inside for her peaceful cup of International Coffee. I think in actuality I resented her for having that moment to herself, but back then, I accused her of being a selfish mother for not wanting to be with her children all the time. Now that I have come to my senses (and I still completely admire those moms who can home school, by the way), I realize that my favorite time of day is after that initial burst of activity, after the lunches are made, hair is brushed, breakfast is served up, and backpacks are packed and loaded upon my little beasts of burden. It is after I have given them goodbye kisses and waved from the door that I return to the kitchen, sit down at my gloriously sunny table, sip my coffee, read the paper, and eat my breakfast...in peace and quiet and solitude, just like that other selfish mother from the commercial.

Although you may not think you have time on a busy morning for long-cooked steel cut oatmeal like this, with a hot soak overnight, it cooks in half the time. Pack it up in a thermos with some fresh or dried fruit, nuts and brown sugar or maple syrup, and you have a comforting breakfast wherever your morning may take you.

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal
serves 2

In a large stock pot, pour 4 cups of boiling water over 1 cup of steel cut oats. Cover with the lid and set aside until morning. After an overnight soak, turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add a pinch of salt and top with fruit, nuts and a splash of milk or buttermilk.


Anonymous said...

I love this idea to pre-soak steel-cut oats to speed up the cooking process. I have been wanting to eat oatmeal in the morning, but who has time to wait 30 minutes for brekkie? This is the perfect solution!

Did you read the Mark Bittman column on savory breakfast grains a week or so ago? Lots of good ideas for very different oatmeal -- he tops his with tapenade. Sometimes I add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and drizzle of olive oil.

Alison said...

Hi Ann,

I did read the column...and it looked very interesting. I guess like any grain, oatmeal is a blank slate, and can take on most any flavor, sweet or savory. Although I have been known to enjoy a cheese enchilada for breakfast, I'm not sure I will enjoy tepenade on my bowl of oats...but I will give it a try. :)