Today I completed my final training run for the Armadillo Dash Half-Marathon. The race is next Sunday. I’m carbo-loading in anticipation.
I’ve been craving carbohydrates even more than usual, so it’s really no extra effort on my part to get my muscles ready for their 13.1-mile jog on March 6. I like to cook and eat according to my cravings; this is one perk of eating by yourself most of the time. There’s been lots of pasta and bread. Quaker Oats Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares topped with a spoonful of peanut butter and a cold pour of milk is downright addictive; I’ve been eating that for dessert lately. But I’m also finding that it’s quite nice to drink my carbs too, and I don’t mean in the form of beer. I have nothing against bread in a glass, as I’ve heard some people describe Guinness, but I’m talking about oatmeal in a glass. Specifically, an oatmeal shake inspired by a much-loved item on the menu at Irazu, a Costa Rican restaurant in Chicago.
My friend Daine told me about the oatmeal shake. He sent me an e-mail and wrote, “An oatmeal shake tastes like the best horchata you've ever had, and isn't as chalky or chunky as you'd expect something with oatmeal in it to be.”
I thought, Horchata! I like horchata. I was intrigued.
He went on to say, “I'm planning on experimenting on it soon, and will be sure to send off any results if they're share-worthy, but I thought I'd pass on the culinary experience either way, just in case you haven't had the glory of Costa Rican oatmeal shakes and wanted to try your hand at it.”
Indeed! Once Daine planted the idea in my head, I had to have my own oatmeal shake. Since I no longer live anywhere close to Irazu, I’d have to make it in my own kitchen. I asked Google what it thought about the issue, and it gave me this lead, from which I came up with a recipe sketch. I particularly liked Brooke’s advice in the comments (scroll down, she’s near the end) because it meant I didn’t have to hunt for horchata in my small town. Oatmeal, cinnamon, milk, and sugar are easy to come by here, but more exotic ingredients can be hard to find. (On an unrelated note, anyone want to send me some Mexican chocolate?)
My oatmeal shake is thick and textured, with the warmth of cinnamon and a touch of sweetness. I like to eat this one at home, as an afternoon snack or a healthy dessert. I think the flavor is terrific, though I think the texture could be controversial, so I’ll say this: you might like this better with less oatmeal. You could try 2-3 tbsp. instead of the 1/3 cup (~5 tbsp.) that I’ve been using. With less oatmeal, I imagine you’d still get the flavor of oats, but your shake would be smoother. Alternatively, you could strain it if you’re feeling up to the task.
Oatmeal Shake—An Irazu Knock-off
Inspired by my friend Daine and this blog post
Now, before I get into any trouble, I just want to emphasize that I have never actually had Irazu’s oatmeal shake. Maybe this is similar to what they serve; maybe it tastes nothing like their shake. Regardless, I like this version and can drink it quite happily. The oatmeal does tend to settle over time, so it’s nice to drink it with a straw that can double as a stirring utensil.
2/3 cup milk (I use regular dairy milk here)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oatmeal, or less (to taste)
2 tsp. vanilla sugar
1 tbsp. plain malt powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1) Place the milk, water, and oats in a measuring glass and let them sit for 1 1/2 hours or longer. You can tuck this in the fridge if it makes you nervous to keep fresh dairy at room temperature.
2) Dump the oatmeal mixture into a blender, along with the vanilla sugar, malt powder, and cinnamon. Blend like the dickens! Or blend for at least a minute on a high speed. You want to pulverize those oats into something drinkable.
3) Pour the shake into a glass and serve, preferably with a straw.