There isn’t a morning that goes by when Louie doesn’t wait for a twinge of a turn to stroll over to the side of the bed to see if I’m awake yet. I’m always so impressed by how patient he really is. It’s surprising he never rushes me to swing my feet out of bed. Often, he will read into a false movement, but he’ll realize his mistake and tip toe back to his bed underneath the window. Once he sees that I am awake, though, he looks for some slow morning love before searching for signs that might answer his one question of the morning: Will we go on a hike today? He knows pretty quickly whether his wish will come true or not, depending on whether I do or don’t slip on the running shoes. This morning, however, is not a hiking type of morning, since it seems that it rained overnight, and the trails will need to dry out a bit. The hike will be pushed back until midday. I can see Louie’s sadness.
Instead, we have chosen to cook a bit during this early hour, as the family is still asleep. For me, oatmeal seems like an indulgence, since I don’t eat it as often as I would like. I only realize how much I really do enjoy it when I have a bowl in front of me and I’m savoring each bite.
None of my meals or dishes are complete until I have multiple layers of textures playing different roles. This morning’s oatmeal is no different. There is the creaminess of the slow cooked, nutty oatmeal, coupled with the rich toasted pecans and the explosive, juicy summer blueberries. These different textures are completely balanced with every spoonful. By the time I get to the final bite, there are some last bits of garnishments to accompany the lonely oatmeal. That is what makes me smile and makes me satisfied with my meal. It doesn’t take much to please me, I know.
It’s important to find balanced flavors for every dish. Most believe a good recipe takes care of that for us, and I would agree. However, I don’t care how good the recipe is, you still need to taste the food and adjust and balance the flavors to make sure they are “in check.” There are just too many variables involved, and a recipe only takes you so far. Say, for example, the pear the recipe writer/chef used was riper than the one you are using when you follow the recipe. These little differences happen throughout the cooking process, becoming more noticeable by the time you get to the end. That is when you will need to adjust and tweak for the meal’s final balance. This will make all the difference between a good dish and a great dish. I’ll touch more on this soon.
This morning’s simple oatmeal was everything I hoped it would be and more. I already look forward to the next time the oats come out of the pantry and those well-balanced textures surface with every bite.
I always look forward to your comments and/or questions.
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- 2/3 c Milled Whole Oats
- 1 1/2 c Water
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1/2 Lemon (zest only)
- 1 Banana (sliced)
- 1/2 c Toasted Pecans
- 1/2 c Fresh Blueberries
- Brown Sugar (to taste)
- Place first four ingredients into pot and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Stir occasionally once they come to a simmer for even cooking. Cooking time will be around five minutes. Even after cooking, the oatmeal will continue to cook and firm up. I would suggest to leave the oatmeal on the loose side in anticipation for that and being perfect while eating in the serving bowl.
- Add the banana, pecans, blueberries, and brown sugar over top.