Readers of this blog know, I love my oatmeal. Typically I enjoy it with a sprinkle of brown sugar and some milk. I admit that as delicious as it is, I always feel a bit decadent eating brown sugar for breakfast, even on a whole grain.
Mark Bittman opened my eyes to a whole new way of enjoying oatmeal as a savory dish. In particular, I heard him utter the words "oatmeal with tapenade". What?
I was immediately intrigued. I knew I had to try it. So last night I fired up my crockpot and the filled it with one cup of steel head oats and four cups of water. The oatmeal was waiting for me this morning for breakfast.
First I whipped up some olive tapenade by pulsing some kalamata olives in the food processor with a couple tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes that had been packed in oil. The oil on the tomatoes was enough to make a tapenade out of the olives.
I started cautiously. Would I miss the brown sugar? Would it taste odd? I put about a third of a cup of oats in my bowl, and stirred in a little of the tapenade. I took a bite. It was a revelation: tasty, hearty, and satisfying. Success!
I added more oatmeal to my bowl, more tapenade, and then I stirred in a tablespoon of red pepper tapenade I had in the fridge. It only made it more complex and flavorful. I look forward to testing out many more savory breakfast grain combinations.
I have known for a long time that I need to convert more of my carbohydrate intake into more complex and whole grains. I have resisted that, preferring instead to focus on vegetables (which I love). Sure, I cooked the occasional dish with barley or quinoa or brown rice, but I confess these have not been part of my standard fare in the kitchen. Mark Bittman has inspired me to investigate whole grains with renewed interest. Maybe I will wonder what took me so long (other than a serious love of bread and pasta).
Coming up: a review of Bittman's new book, Food Matters.