In the kitchen with Julia

 

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Quote from the magnificent Julia Child; image from bookishfreaks.com

Tonight, I ruined a chocolate pavé. Sure, it tastes alright but esthetically? I wouldn’t serve it to anyone and am even embarrassed to take a picture of it for Instagram. But you know what happens when I ruin a dessert? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. There are no ramifications. I just learn not to do that thing and try again tomorrow. And do you know who taught me to embrace that attitude in the kitchen? My friend, Julia. Continue reading

Bacon Peach Steel Cut Oatmeal

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With the wind coming off the lake, it feels like fall around here. I spent the whole weekend in the kitchen, cooking up caramelized onion and tomato jam with farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes and some lemon lavender scones (stay tuned for those recipes later this week!).

And I’ve been in a breakfast funk lately. Waking up late and scrambling to eat something quickly before heading out the door to work. And unfortunately, for my body and my palate, I’ve been eating a lot of Cinnamon Life cereal and Chocolate Marshmallow Mateys. These aren’t typically things we keep in the house, but this summer has been stressful and it’s nice to have a sweet breakfast treat every now and again. But every now and again has somehow become every single day and when I eat a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast, my stomach is growling again around 10:30.

Enter steel cut oats. A hearty, delicious breakfast perfect for leisurely weekend mornings. And now, weekday mornings too! It’s super easy to reheat steel cut oats in the same amount of time as those sad, instant oatmeal packets.

Steel cut oats are also incredibly versatile. Once you master the basics of cooking them up, you can customize the oats to match your mood or the season. Apples and cinnamon in the fall, fresh berries, and even bacon and caramelized peaches.

So cook up some bacon, then sauté your peaches in bacon grease and brown sugar and actually enjoy Monday morning.

I mean, check out this peachy goodness…

Caramelized Peaches

Caramelized Peaches

Bacon Peach Steel Cut Oatmeal

4 pieces of thick cut bacon

2 ripe peaches, diced

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup steel cut oats

2 cups water

2 cups milk (I used a combination of milk and heavy cream)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)

Put water, milk, and salt into a pot and bring to a boil. While waiting to boil, cook bacon over medium heat. Reserve bacon grease and put diced peaches and brown sugar into the bacon pan. Cook until peaches are caramelized and the sugar and bacon fat create a syrupy caramel.

When milk/water is boiling, add steel cut oats and stir. Cover pot and reduce to simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Oats are done when tender and creamy. Stir in coconut oil, caramelized peaches and bacon (broken into pieces). Pour into a storage container and cool before putting into the refrigerator.

In the morning, spoon a portion of oats into a microwave safe bowl, add a little water or milk and stir before reheating for 2 minutes. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

(Today’s photos taken on my iPhone 6. My DSLR is temporarily out of commission. I apologize for the picture quality…or lack thereof.)

Stressed

I baked last night for the first time in weeks.

I haven’t been happy lately. Work isn’t going well and I come home each night feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I have been overlooking the things I know will help me feel better in favor of sitting on my couch with my dog watching Netflix.

I know cooking will make me feel better. As will writing. As will yoga. But it’s so hard to find the motivation when you feel down. I’ve struggled with depression for years and it comes and goes. And right now, I’m firmly in a depressive episode. I know I am and this weekend I made the conscious effort to engage in the activities I know will make me happier. I went to yoga. I baked a cake. I took longer walks with my dog. And I feel better.

And I’m making a new commitment to writing. I’m writing to you now and I took pictures of my weekend food activities and will write about them later in the week. Because sharing my passion is motivation. Talking about food and wine and my kitchen always make me happy. The more I talk about cooking, the more I cook. The more I cook, the happier I feel.

I need to remind myself of the pleasure I find in preparing food. Chopping is therapeutic. Stirring a pot garners results. And I desperately need results. Positive results. These past few weeks at work have felt futile. Like I’m bailing water out of a sinking canoe and everyone around me is just watching from the shore. But time spent in the kitchen always results in food. This weekend it was a caramel apple cake. Later this week there will be pasta. And I will find comfort in it.