Sunday, February 6, 2011

Enter the Pecans

Last night was not my best evening in the kitchen.  My bag of sugar exploded all over the counter and floor, leaving sandy bits everywhere.  I overbaked my chocolate chip cake and undercooked my frittata.  Have you ever seen a frittata run when you slice into it?  It’s not pretty.  Thinking about it today just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

So, let’s talk oatmeal instead!  I promised we’d talk about my new favorite breakfast, and now seems as good a time as any.  Let’s do it.

Wednesday Breakfast

I know it wasn’t too long ago that I suggested you try a wintry version of overnight oatmeal.  Can you make room in your breakfast rotation for another oatmeal recipe, this one a warm, Southern-style version with bananas cooked into the oats and topped with buttery pecans and toasty shreds of coconut?

We had a very mild January here, so I ate overnight oats on most mornings.  In warmer weather, I prefer the ease and freshness of overnight oatmeal.  When it’s topped with juicy citrus segments, it’s hard to beat.  When the weather turned colder, or maybe I just felt chilled late in the evening, when I make the decision about what breakfast will be the next morning, I turned back to banana oatmeal.  But I wanted something new in my bowl, or at least some new accessories to gussy up what has become my standard banana oatmeal.

Enter the pecans, followed swiftly by toasted coconut.  What is it about nuts that just invites coconut along for the ride?  In the cupboard, I had both a half-empty bag of Mammoth Pecans (the actual name, and indeed, they are mammoth) and a jar of unsweetened coconut chips that I’d toasted myself.  The combination sounded delicious.  To finish topping my oatmeal, I turned to my standard dried cherries, chocolate chips, peanut butter blob, and a relative newcomer, ground flax.

Pause for a Photo Break

Pardon my messy bowl up there.  That’s evidence that I don’t do much primping for my photos.  What you see is what you get.  Plus, I’ve always thought that messy can be completely and totally delicious, which this bowl was.  It’s a little on the rich side with both pecans and peanut butter, but I like hearty breakfasts and both nuts go so well with bananas.  Even with my hefty bowls of oatmeal, I’m still hungry by 11:30 AM, which seems ridiculous.  My metabolism runs amok.

Banana Oatmeal with Pecans and Coconut

Serves 1

My banana oatmeal recipe has evolved as I’ve gotten into the habit of oatmeal for breakfast.  This recipe is derived from Daphna’s Banana Oatmeal, but I’ve made a few changes.  One is that I make a bigger bowl because I need more calories in my breakfast.  The other is that I’ve increased the proportion of liquid to oats to make a more porridge-like concoction.  I like my oatmeal a little soupier; Daphna’s recipe makes for a very thick texture, more like an oatmeal pudding.  It’s just a matter of preference which you like more.  You could make either version and use the toppings I suggest below if you like.

For the oatmeal base:

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1 medium banana, frozen and cut into chunks

Pinch salt

Splash of real vanilla extract

For the toppings:

1-2 tsp. ground flax seeds

A palmful of pecans, chopped

1 tbsp. toasted unsweetened coconut

6 dried cherries

A few chocolate chips (I like bittersweet or semisweet here, just a few because I love chocolate.)

1-2 tbsp. crunchy natural peanut butter

1)  Combine the oats, water, and milk in a glass measuring cup.  Cover and soak overnight.  (Alternatively, you can just mix everything together in the saucepan the next morning, but I like to soak overnight.)

2)  Spoon the oatmeal mixture into a small saucepan.  Add the frozen banana chunks and salt.  Turn the heat to medium-high, and bring the whole thing to a bubble.  Let it cook for a minute or two to let the banana melt into the oatmeal and infuse everything with sweetness.

3)  Take the oatmeal off the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Spoon the oatmeal into a serving bowl, then top with the ground flax, pecans, coconut, cherries, chocolate chips.  I like to arrange all these toppings in a ring-pattern so that the toppings are nicely distributed.  Plus it looks pretty.  Add the peanut butter on top and serve.

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PS  Did y’all see Kristin’s recipe for Maple Oatmeal?  Oh my word, this sounds terrific.  Maple syrup and butter is a very hard combination to beat.  I’m adding this one to my to-make list.  Is it absurd to eat oatmeal for a Sunday night dinner?


Shannon said...

ooh, fabulous! mammoth pecans... they make me smile :) delicious bowl of oats!

Shannon said...

ps- i had oats all over my floor earlier... then i realized they were on top of my fridge, too. off to clean that up!

Rosiecat said...

Ha! Glad to hear I'm not the only one with exploding ingredients in her kitchen :-) I had to vacuum my floor to get rid of all the sugary grit after Saturday night!