Sunday, April 1, 2012

Leftover Series #2: One Pot of Porridge Makes Three Delicous Breakfasts

Sometimes what seems to be a problem or limitation is actually an amazing opportunity. Case in point last week when I discovered right at breakfast time that we were out of bread, rendering our usual breakfast of toast an impossibility.

Oatmeal porridge is also welcome at our breakfast table, so it wasn't that much of a hardship. D asked for raisins and apples in his oatmeal, so I obliged. Porridge isn't my favourite thing, but I have worked out a cooking method for oatmeal which is slightly unorthodox, but which I like. I add three cups of cold water to 1 cup of slow cook oats, bring it to a boil, and simmer until it thickens, about fifteen minutes. This creates a smooth, creamy texture, which I prefer to the more grainy approach of adding your oats to a smaller volume of boiling water (the recommended water to oat ratio in most cookbooks is 2:1). Critics of my approach might say the resulting oatmeal is too gooey, but I won't apologize, because that's the way I like it, and my kids like it too. (Delicious Breakfast Number One)

Anyway, I ended up with about a cup and a half of leftover oatmeal, and I was loathe to toss it. I've been trying my hand at bread-making lately, and so did an internet search for leftover oatmeal bread. Alton Brown didn't let me down! I made some adjustments to his recipe, however, using butter instead of oil and honey instead of agave syrup. I love learning the science behind bread-making—as long as I have some kind of fat and some kind of sugar, it will turn out just fine!

I was also appreciating having my handy-dandy Salter kitchen scale, which makes measuring by weight for baking super easy. I use it all the time.

Anyway, the bread turned out beautifully, and we enjoyed it simply sliced and buttered, alongside some fresh fruit, the next morning for breakfast. (Delicious Breakfast Number Two)

The next morning, with the bread a little over a day old, we opted for French toast. Another kid favourite! I sliced up some of my dad's home-cured bacon to go along with it. Breakfast was very quiet that morning, with my kids each inhaling an entire slice of French toast. The oatmeal bread, which was very light and fluffy, took on a creamy texture when dipped in the egg mixture and cooked on the griddle. The slight sweetness from the apples and raisins (which were ground into nothing during the dough mixing process, but added a nice aroma and touch of sweet to the bread) reminded me of a cruller doughnut. But not quite as unhealthy. (Delicious Breakfast Number Three)

My Preferred French Toast Batter

3 eggs, beaten until frothy
3/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
3 T. raw sugar

Mix all ingredients together and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Dip bread slices in the mixture, and cook slowly on a hot, buttered griddle until browned on each side.

So, one pot of porridge, one loaf of bread, three delicious breakfasts, and, most satisfying for me, no waste!

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