Chewy steel cut oats are cooked risotto style for optimum creaminess. Filling and comforting, with plenty to share.
I woke up on Wednesday with my head throbbing and my soul drained. I flicked to the New York Times on my phone, and no, it hadn’t been a bad dream. I bathed, I pulled on my black fleece-lined leggings and a dark turtleneck. Somber colors, mourning colors. I don’t remember driving to work. Once there, I walked the halls in silence. I try not to discuss politics in the workplace, but now I desperately wanted to. But since I hadn’t talked to anybody about it before, I didn’t know who was feeling the same way I was. I forced a game face and made myself function.
When I’m nervous, I am an eating machine. When I’m sad, I can’t stomach a thing. I never skip breakfast -like, ever – but I couldn’t eat. I eventually managed to choke down some dry cereal on my lunch break. I found, however, that many other people had the opposite reaction. They wanted comfort foods. Creamy things, starchy things, foods to warm you up from the inside. My husband guiltily texted me that he’d had a a huge cheesy bread Panera sandwich for lunch. Dear friends posted pictures of mac and cheese, pancakes, chess pies, custard-thick soups, heady beers.
This oatmeal was inspired by something my mom made when she visited a few weeks ago. Jason and I ate in silence, savoring its warmth on the frosty morning. Our cat padded around my mom’s feet, purring for the kind of treats she’s usually not allowed to have. She got them, of course, because that’s what grandmothers are for. Even if your grandchild has fur and mischievous green eyes.
That’s what friends are for too. To comfort you, to listen. I posted on Instagram that I’m not ready to say “it’s okay, we’ll all be fine.” I’m still not ready. But I’m ready to offer a hug, to listen, to cook you a warm meal. <3
This oatmeal is made risotto style, adding the liquid a bit at a time for optimum creaminess. It takes a bit longer, but it's truly worth it. You can make it on the weekends and then freeze in single-serving baggies and reheat for a quick weekday breakfast (microwave for 2-3 minutes, breaking it up halfway through) Or just have a bunch of people over and share the love in a messy kitchen.
- 2 apples, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup of fruit + nut trail mix, plus more for topping*
- 1 1/4 cup of steel cut oats
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, or to taste
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups almond milk
- Place the apples and water in a large saucepan and cover. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until apples soften and begin to release their juices.
- Lower heat to medium and stir in the dates, fruit and nut mix, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add in all of the oats.
- Add the milk, a little bit at a time (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup), stirring constantly for about 20 minutes. You want to add the milk a little bit at a time so that it's creamy like risotto. When you have about 1/2 cup of milk left, add it and then cover. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Stir in vanilla and maple syrup.
- Serve with more trail mix on top, and plenty of love.
*the one I used had cranberries, cherries, pepitas, raisins goji berries, walnuts, and cashews