Savory Oatmeal with Kale and Mushrooms

Savory Oatmeal 2

Breakfast – for some people it’s as easy as opening a box of cereal and pouring on the milk. For me, it’s never been that simple. For all you cereal lovers out there, I’m sorry, but I just can’t stand cold cereal. It was the breakfast of choice for my busy parents to feed us as kids, but somewhere on the way to growing up, I liked it less and less until it reached the point that I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I decided to rebel.

Savory Oatmeal 4


My father and I always enjoyed something else for breakfast on the weekends after watching Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, our favorite cartoon. Breakfast might be Pop Tarts, or toast with peanut butter or Cheese Whiz. It was NEVER cereal. So, that fateful morning I told my mother I was not going to eat cereal, that I wanted something else for breakfast instead. The answer was not what I wanted to hear: my mother told me I would sit at that table until I finished my cereal, “or else.” Well, my dislike for cereal was certainly stronger than my desire to go to school. Duh! So hours later, well after school had started, there I sat in front of a bowl of really soggy cereal. I never ate cold cereal again.

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These days I’m always on the lookout for decent dishes to make for breakfast that are relatively healthy and don’t take a ton of work. I still dislike cold cereal, but have gradually started to add hot cereal or grain bowls to my breakfast selections. I’ve always been more about savory than sweet, and breakfast is no different. So when I came across a recipe for savory oatmeal, I had to try it.

This oatmeal is delicious. It really tastes more like a rice bowl than oatmeal. I made it even more so by adding some soy sauce and a splash of Siracha sauce. Yes, I’m weird that way.

Savory Oatmeal 1

Savory Oatmeal with Kale and Mushrooms

4 Servings

The only drawback to this dish is that steel cut oats take a little time to cook. I made this the day before I planned to eat it and it warmed up in the microwave just fine. Oats are supposedly easier to digest if they are soaked even for a short time before cooking them, if not overnight. I soaked them for the time it took me to chop and sauté the vegetables. Place the oats in a bowl, cover with water, add a tablespoon of cider vinegar and soak for the length of time you have available, up to over night. Gomasio is a dry Asian condiment made of sesame seeds, seaweed, and salt. You can substitute sesame seeds of you don’t have it.

1 cup steel cut oats

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 bunch kale, stems stripped and discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced

1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Gomasio or sesame seeds for sprinkling

Place the oats in a large saucepan (preferably non-stick) with 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 30–60 seconds. Add the kale and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 6–8 minutes, until tender.

Divide the oats between four bowls. Top with the sautéed vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with toasted walnuts and sprinkle with Gomasio.

Adapted from Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

Props used in the photos courtesy of Brian & Herma Leak

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Pound Cake 1

“And now for something completely different.” Unlike many of my previous recipes and probably many more to follow, this cake is not gluten-free nor is it Paleo or Primal. It’s a lovely treat we enjoyed on a holiday weekend. If your diet allows it, I hope you enjoy it as well.

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Why pound cake? Quite honestly, I’ve never been a real fan. “Pound cake” conjures up thoughts of some icky sweet cake-like substance you buy at the gas station. That pound cake comes in a crinkly plastic wrapper with an ingredient list you can’t pronounce.

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So, when I found myself with some leftover buttermilk from making Ranch dressing I decided to do some baking. I wanted something easy that wouldn’t require hours in the kitchen, and I wasn’t really in the mood for making biscuits.

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I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go. I’ve had really good luck with Alton Brown’s baking recipes. I never really cared for his show, Good Eats, but then I’m like that. I tend to like the material that comes in print, but then find it doesn’t translate to my taste in television. Okay, I guess I’m weird that way. Anyway, this recipe is from one of Alton’s first cookbooks, I’m Just Here for More Food. It was the book that I turned to for a refresher course in baking when I was hired as a baker for a catering company and needed to become a maestro baker overnight. A quick perusal of each chapter’s techniques was enough for me to get through my first day of baking what seemed like hundreds of wedding cakes and keep me employed.

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My husband absolutely loves this cake. The first slice disappeared in seconds. I think he had told me in the past that he loved pound cake, but I had no idea how much.

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I like this cake too. The buttermilk really gives it a nice depth of flavor that’s not too cloying. It has infinite possibilities. I’m imagining it as a base for any kind of summer fruit with piles of whipped cream on top, or maybe with a pile of blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. We tried it toasted with jam this morning. It was nice, but I believe the best way to eat this cake is just plain, with a cup of tea.

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Happy Independence Day everyone!

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Buttermilk Pound Cake

Yield: One large cake

I greased the pan with shortening and floured it. That’s a little difficult to do with a tube pan, so I recommend using Baker’s Joy spray. I ended up baking this pound cake at 325 convection bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I started testing it at 1 hour, at which time it was still pretty jiggly. If you don’t use convection bake, it might only take an hour.

Baker’s Joy spray or shortening and flour for preparing pan

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 325. Prepare a 12-cup tube or Bundt pan with Baker’s Joy spray or by greasing and flouring.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt by whisking in a bowl.

Place the eggs and the vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat at medium speed with a paddle attachment for one minute to spread fat in bowl. Add the sugar and cream with the butter, scraping down with a spatula as necessary, until the mixture is lightened and fluffy.

Reduce the speed on the mixture and add the eggs one at a time, scraping down between each addition. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in three installments, beginning with dry ingredients and ending with buttermilk.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out clean.

Allow the cake to stand in the pan for 15 minutes then carefully turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

This cake will keep tightly wrapped at room temperature for 1 week.

Adapted from I’m Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown

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Sweet Potato Hash with Chorizo

Hash 1

Today’s post is about what my husband affectionately refers to as the “5-year rotation;” the way I plan meals.  I don’t think I have kept my cookbook addiction a secret.  Actually, it’s so bad that a better name for this blog might be “So Many Cookbooks, So Little Time.”  What can I say?  Cookbooks are one of my principal inspirations. Now that I have a food blog and am attempting food photography, the inspiration that a well-photographed cookbook provides has become even more important.

Hash 2

You can imagine that with so many recipes to try, I don’t do many repeats.  I crave variety, in every aspect of my life, and the food I eat is no exception. I do repeat recipes, but not that often, and I almost always vary it slightly each time; however, I’ve definitely never been one of those Meatless Monday or Friday fish sticks types. Although, as a young girl, when my mother was doing her meal planning and asked me what I wanted to eat that week, the answer was always Bavarian Supper Sandwich – a layered casserole with a poppy seed-flavored biscuit base, sausage, and a baked béchamel on top.  I absolutely loved that stuff.

So, it’s been something of a surprise that just in the past 2 months I have made a couple of recipes over again, almost immediately – the goat cheese salad recipe that I made for Christmas Eve dinner, and now this hash. It is very filling and makes a very satisfying breakfast, especially when topped with a fried egg.  It also works well for those following a Paleo or Primal eating plan.

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Sweet Potato Hash with Chorizo

4-6 Servings

This recipe will serve 4 to 6, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes you use and how much potato you like on your plate. 

2 large sweet potatoes (approximately 2 pounds total), cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons salt (for boiling water)

2 links (approximately 6 ounces total) fresh Mexican chorizo

5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage



4-6 fried eggs for serving

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by about 1 inch, and add the salt.  Bring the water to a boil and add the sausage links.  Cook until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife, about 10 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and sausage links.

Slice the chorizo into half-inch coins and brown in a large skillet in 3 tablespoons coconut oil. Remove from the pan, but leave the oil and chorizo bits in the pan.

Sauté the onion and garlic in the hot fat until the onion begins to brown, 5 minutes.  Add the sage and stir until the scent is released, about a minute.  Add more coconut oil to the pan if necessary.  The pan should be thoroughly coated with the oil and have enough to brown the potatoes.    Add the potato chunks and cook until they are brown on the bottom, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chorizo to the pan with and cook until everything is warm and browned.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the potatoes between 4-6 plates and top each serving with a fried egg.

Adapted from Gluten-Free Girl Everyday by Shauna James Ahern