#1 – Not to point any fingers, but oatmeal for me (and most likely you) growing up was Quaker Oats and its similarly lumpy, glue-y brethren. The nice, friendly looking man on the cardboard canister always seemed so friendly, so jolly – I wanted desperately to love his oatmeal. Then in college, I discovered steel cut oats and breakfast in the wintertime was never the same again. Texture. Flavor. Heartiness. Good.
#2 – I will pick savory over sweet any day, especially for breakfast. If you want to win in a fight, just throw a whipped cream and strawberry syrup covered waffle at my face and I will shrivel and die. For the longest time, I was just adding fruit and nuts to my oatmeal. I’m sure it was very healthy, but did make me feel distinctly like a ruminating farm animal. Then on cold day in 2009, Mark Bittman talked about savory oatmeal, a light dawned, and oatmeal got much, much better.
The great thing about oatmeal is that it forms a great base for almost anything you can throw at it. I like to cook a larger batch of steel cut oatmeal and store it in the refrigerator to be parceled out during the week, sometimes even for dinner. (McCann’s has some good time-saving options to peruse.) To reheat without a microwave, throw a portion or two into a pot with a little bit of water to rehydrate and heat up for a few minutes on the stove.
This is my current, most favorite oatmeal iteration.
We begin with a base of plain, lightly salted cooked oatmeal.
Add sauteed mushrooms and green onions. (I cooked the mushrooms with some thyme and the teeniest bit of rosemary for some woodsy goodness.)
Sprinkle generously with really good cheddar.
Here’s the real overachiever (aka awesome) part.
Throw the resulting pretty egg with its fried ruffled edges on top of everything else. (Almost done.)
That olive oil that’s in the pan? Drizzle some on top of the whole mess. Add some fresh black pepper.