Thursday, June 27, 2013

Za'atar Oatmeal

I sure post a lot about oatmeal. But oatmeal's great, very versatile. And here's another thing to try with your oatmeal: za'atar. There are a lot of little variations in the abundant recipes you can find online, but most basically it's ground sumac, thyme (or oregano, or something else, or some combination), sesame seeds, and salt. Unfortunately, I have issues with sesame seeds (yeah...), so to get a bit of sesame flavor in without setting off my allergies, instead I drizzled a bit of sesame oil in with the other ingredients. Brilliant! (Sesame oil doesn't cause me any problems, so it must be some other element of sesame seeds--likely a protein, as they're often the allergen in foods.)

For protein and more substance to my breakfast, I added a soft-boiled egg. Mmmm--but there are few things you could add an egg to that it would actually clash with. Usually egg makes things better with its richness--egg in and of itself doesn't have a lot of flavor to it. Add a little salt and the egginess starts to come out more, and it goes great with savory dishes and salads. At the same time, it's also an essential ingredient in desserts.

Speaking of versatile foods, za'atar is very versatile, too, going in all sorts of Middle Eastern dishes and meshing with all sorts of foods.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pro-est Oatmeal Tip

Today, I bring you the pro-est oatmeal tip:

You can start your oatmeal in cold/cool/whatever-temperature-it-comes-out-of-the-tap water, no problem.

This simple fact actually makes a huge convenience difference, to me at least. Now you can just measure out your water and oats, put it on the stove and away you go! No need to break up steps into measuring water and putting that on to boil first, which means you have to pay attention to when the water boils to add your oats, ideally being aware when it first starts boiling so as to minimize your time spent and water lost boiling (which could put your measurement off). I mean, come on, we're trying to get some food in our bellies on our way out the door to work/school/conquering-the-world here, amirite?

I first thought to try this after reading Kenji Lopez-Alt's Food Lab article on how you can let your pasta soak in cool water before cooking it without any difference in product due to the two phase process of cooking pasta: hydration and cooking. Sounds like a handy tip for those of you who eat pasta regularly.

And now, some oatmeal pics:

I loves me some savory oatmeal. This one is with a Thai spice blend that my roommate had, with a microwave soft-boiled egg (another super convenient technique I may post about) and cilantro.

Also, I've really cut down on my sugar intake (which was already low). Breakfast was kind-of the last bastion of sweet foods in my diet. But I don't add sugar to my oatmeals anymore, buy only unsweetened soymilk (which is kind of a pain since most have some added), and stick to cold cereals with the lowest sugar content when I do eat them.

My go-to oatmeal flavoring is now cinnamon with a little paprika or other ground chili pepper of some sort, and a bit of ground dried ginger (and a pinch of salt, of course, to bring out the flavors).