If I have a skill for cooking or baking at all, it’s because I try recipes until I find the perfect one. Since I don’t like to waste food, I’ve choked down lots of unpalatable dishes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it <winking>. Therefore, I’d like to save each of my readers the trouble and post the to-die-for ones on here. Rarely will the recipes be my own. They are drawn from the myriad cookbooks we own (which date back generations), and from recipes I've seen on the Internet and television; sort of like a Sherlock Holmes of baking and cooking.
I will always leave a link or cite the cookbook. The rest is up to you. And, if my stars align just right, hopefully my darlin’ husband, the best self-taught chef/writer I know, will edit for me.
I must note, each of us has different taste. So, I will include what I like and how I like it for comparison. If your tastes are dissimilar, you could tweak the recipe to suit your palate, or disregard it and move on to the next.
Please feel free to leave a comment, or a suggestion for recipes with which to explore.
Let’s begin, shall we?
The first recipe I’d like to post is for oatmeal, to honor my paternal grandmother, who passed away long ago, and my older sister, who lives in Michigan. I don’t like the instant packages. I don’t like the “raw” types. I don’t like the newfangled oatmeal in a cup. To me, real oatmeal is a comfort food; one that says “home” from the very first taste to the last.
As a child in the 60s, I spent almost every weekend at my grandmother’s house. Each morning she’d make a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. It took me quite a while to replicate her recipe, but my childhood memory begged me to continue until it tasted just right.
I like my oatmeal creamy with a capital “C,” cooked well, sweet, and flavorful. You can, however, sweeten to your taste and add any flavors you wish.
To start, measure out the oatmeal and add to a medium saucepan. Then, measure out twice as much milk: ½ cup oatmeal to 1 cup of milk, 1 cup oatmeal to 2 cups milk, etc. Put the milk in the pan, too. You could use water or milk with less fat, but it won’t be as creamy. Remember my capital “C” above?
Next, add any dried fruit you prefer to the pot. I like raisins, but cranberries, apricots and prunes are nice, too; or a mixture of ‘em.
Sweeten it before cooking as well (It doesn’t taste the same if you sweeten it later). There are many options for this: sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup, honey…Or, you can slightly sweeten it now and finish off with a drizzle of maple syrup or a few pinches of brown sugar.
Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil. Boil for one minute. Then, turn off the heat, remove the pan from the stove, and cover for three more minutes.
Spoon the desired amount into a bowl; add nuts, and additional sweetener if desired. Add some cinnamon or fresh fruit. Experiment a little. The options are endless.
If you want it to look and taste like my grandmother’s, which I do, add more milk and stir gently. The finished product has clumps of cooked oatmeal in a soup-like milk broth.
Yummmy! Those childhood memories are rushing back!
My Grandmother's version
NOTE: Silhouette courtesy of The Sherlock Holmes Museum, 221b Baker Street, London, England