“The snow started and didn’t stop. Icy winds banged against the window as if they wanted to come inside and warm themselves by the fire. The gale howled, the drifts mounted around the house. Three weather advisories warned us not to leave unless absolutely necessary. Inside, the house was cozy,” writes Ruth Reichl in her new book My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life.
Reichl finds comfort and sustenance in her kitchen, where her everyday cooking and baking is inspired and directed by the natural rhythms of the seasons, the day-to-day elements that we awaken to each morning – sun, rain, sleet, hail, wind and snow – and that the earth needs to rejuvenate, grow and flourish.
Below please find three recipes for oatmeal that offer a cozy comfort and help to sustain one through early morning storms.
Ms. Reichl writes: “So cold. Heavy snow-swollen sky. Butter-toasted oatmeal, rivers of thick cream, brown sugar. Fresh orange juice; such fragrant hope.”
ATG’s “Just Right” Creamy Hot Porridge
1 cup McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups cold water
1 cup milk
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 heaping tsp. good quality honey
Sprinkles of Cinnamon
Melt butter over medium heat in saucepan. Stir in the cup of oatmeal and swirl around quickly and just enough to coat the grains of oats being careful not to burn. Pour the water and milk in and slowly bring to a boil staying with the oats and stirring almost constantly. Add the salt while stirring. Once it comes to a boil lower heat to low and keep stirring thoroughly to keep from any burning. Stir in the brown sugar and continue to stir until the oatmeal thickens to the point where there is still a bit of liquid left and remove from stove. Stir in the honey and more milk if desired (we like our oatmeal to be just right – not too thick, not too thin), pour in bowls and sprinkle each with cinnamon. Enjoy!
Sunday Morning Oatmeal (taken from Barefoot Contessa At Home by Ina Garten, 2006)
1 & 1/2 cups whole milk, plus extra for serving
1 & 1/2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup golden raisins
Pure Maple Syrup or brown sugar, for serving
Heat the milk plus 2 cups water in a medium saucepan until it starts to simmer. Add the oatmeal and salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Off the heat, stir in the banana, cherries, and raisins. Place the lid on the pot and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Serve hot with maple syrup or brown sugar and extra milk.
Butter-Toasted Apricot Oatmeal (taken from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl, 2015)
1 cup steel-cut oatmeal
1/2 cup dried apricots
1 tsp. salt
Begin by melting a dollop of unsalted butter in a small pan until it becomes fragrant and slightly golden. Toss in the oats and worry them about until they’re glistening, have turned slightly brown, and are very fragrant; it should take about 5 minutes.
Add 4 cups of water and the salt; turn up the heat and bring to a furious boil. Turn the heat down very low, cover the pot, and cook until most of the water has evaporated; this process should take about half an hour. At the last minute, stir in a handful of chopped dried apricots, heap the oatmeal into warmed bowls, and top with a few crumbles of brown sugar and a generous drizzle of cream.
See also our recipes for spirit warming drinks.