Category Archives: Breakfast

Gadget: The Aeropress

 
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Aeropress Coffee Gadget For those of you who don’t already know, I’m a total computer geek.  Like most geeks, I’m obsessed with gadgets, and that is as true in the kitchen as it is in the rest of my life.  I wanted to start out this series of “Tools and Gadgets” posts by picking the single tool that I consider to be the most important thing in my kitchen, but I couldn’t choose between my cast iron frying pan and favorite knife (plus, they’re both rather boring topics to start off with).  However, when I woke up this morning, I knew exactly what I should do.

Apparently, word has gotten out that Jessica and I live in Seattle, a city obsessed with coffee.  I was never much of a coffee fan until Jessica introduced me to Turkish coffee a few years ago, which soon had me curious about espresso and other high-strength brewing methods (I still can’t drink “normal coffee” because it tastes watered down).  A coworker recently caught my attention with an unusual device he kept on his desk.  It’s made of industrial grade plastic, and doesn’t really look like anything to do with food, but he assured me that it produces some of the best coffee that anyone has ever tasted.  It’s called an Aeropress, and it’s made by Aerobie, a company better known for frisbees than for cooking.  I’ve been obsessed with this device ever since I got my first taste, and have been recommending it to friends and family alike for the last couple of months.  When I woke up this morning in need of some coffee, I knew that it would be the perfect thing to use for my first “Tools and Gadgets” post. Continue reading

Steel-Cut Oatmeal in Four Minutes a Day

 
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Behold, the oatmeal cupcake!

Frozen Steel-Cut Oatmeal "Cupcake"

Okay, I haven’t perfected my oatmeal cupcake yet. When I do it will be legendary, but I may have to turn to the world of molecular gastronomy if I want this baby to keep its shape after a spin in the microwave.

What I have perfected, though, is the weekday morning breakfast.

It’s no secret to anyone that weekday morning breakfasts have gone very literal: all the do is break our nighttime fast and keep us going until we have our first real meal at lunchtime, or dinner if lunch is a grab-and-go affair. I “work” from home (I’ll remove the quotes after I get a publishing contract), I have a love and appreciation for breakfast born of watching so many people be nourished by our two-course offerings at the Inn, and even I have a hard time sitting down to something substantial most mornings. Sure, sometimes I’ll make myself an omelet and realize how little time it takes, but any reform is usually short lived. Within a week, I’m reaching for the cereal box again or just waiting for lunchtime.

The cure for this is my steel-cut oatmeal. Not only does it take very little hands-on time on my part, especially if I have the dry ingredients mixed and at the ready in advance, but it makes fantastic leftovers. Continue reading

Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Cardamom Yogurt

 
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Soon after I graduated from pastry school, I got a job at the wonderful 11th Avenue Inn on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It was a dream job, especially coming from being a bottom-of-the-totem-pole pastry cook at a large restaurant. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to see the faces of the people I cooked for every morning, to talk to them and see they were enjoying my food. Not only that, but I got to plan the menus, do the shopping and order equipment. You know, like an actual, real-live chef.

My favorite of that second sort of task was the opportunity to come up with new dishes, which leads us to today’s recipe. (You’ll notice that it’s still on their list of sample breakfasts, although I have to say that I never put papaya on it, mostly because I have yet to meet a papaya I’ve got on with well.) This oatmeal was my star contribution to the breakfast lineup, the only one that really stuck, the only one that it was imperative to leave the recipe behind when I had to leave long before I ever wanted to.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Mango, Toasted Coconut Flakes and Cardamom Yogurt

At the Inn, there were several discussions about what to call the oatmeal. I have to admit, it was a hard sell every morning I made it. When you say “oatmeal”, most people think of the instant kind that you hide under lots of milk, brown sugar and raisins (if you fall on the pro-raisin side of things). Even qualifying it with “steel-cut” didn’t do much good. This was a few years ago, and steel-cut oatmeal wasn’t on the average American’s radar yet. It needed a good name to recommend it to the uninitiated.

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