You know how they say there are more than 50 different Inuit words for snow? Well, anyone who’s read my blog though a season or two likely already knows how I feel about winter. I mean, if there were 50 (or more) ways to say “I loathe it with my entire being, abhor it to the very depths of my soul and spirit, despise it more than the fictional progeny of Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, Satan and Paul Bernardo combined” (never mind that they’re all male and therefore couldn’t spawn any progeny on their own)–well, if there were myriad ways to say “I ABSOLUTELY HATE, HATE, HATE WINTER,” then you just know I’d be the first one to utter each and every one of those words.
Then again, I must admit we’ve been pretty lucky with the dreaded frigid season this year. So far, we haven’t had a single pirta (the Inuit word for “blizzard”), nor has there been any natquik (drifting snow particles), any qengaruk (snow banks), qerretrar (icy crust on snow) or navcite (getting caught in an avalanche). In fact, even as I type this blog post, I barely see any aniu (fallen snow on the ground) at all outside. What I’d much prefer to see, however, is beaming sunshine (blessed relief from pasty white winter skin), swaying green leaves (nature reawakening after months of hibernation), itsy bitsy tank tops and teeny tiny cut offs (high school students on summer vacation), sprinklers (happy Girls) and thermometers soaring to 30C/86F (happy Ricki).
Well, if I must
suffer through endure survive tolerate a winter in Toronto, I’m glad to have quick, warming, filling dishes like these simple, satisfying oatmeal wedges. If you’ve got leftover cooked oats and aren’t sure what to do with them, or if you just want another option that isn’t a bowl of porridge for breakfast, this is a great way to use them.
Years ago, I wrote book reviews for a magazine called The Niagara Current. They once sent me a cookbook by a local author, Kathleen Sloan McIntosh, called New Celtic Cooking. It seemed to me that the book contained a plethora of recipes made with steel-cut or rolled oats, each with a slightly different texture, preparation method, and name–and virtually every one appealed to me. There were farls, bannocks, bread, pancakes, baps, oaten, cakes, and probably several dozen more I can’t remember at the moment. I recall leafing through the book and thinking that the Celts could easily have rivalled the Inuit when it came to naming recipes with oats. I wrote a lovely review, as I recall, then slid the book onto one of my cookbook shelves and promptly forgot about it.
The other night, as I was scrounging through the fridge looking for something quick and hearty to cook for dinner, I spied some leftover cooked steel cut oats on one of the shelves. Now, you’d think that McIntosh’s book would come to mind and that I’d seek out one of those oat-based recipes, wouldn’t you? But that didn’t happen. To begin with, my mind is probably even more crowded these days than my bookshelves, so it never occurred to me. And even if it had, I mean, really–would you be able to find anything in this mess o’ books?
[Kitchen chaos extends to bookshelves: please ignore that blurry box of Nut Thins crackers in the foreground!]
Instead, what I did was hark back to an old favorite, Chinese Scallion Pancakes. I had the idea to combine the concept of a scallion flatbread with the simplicity of my Pan-Seared Oatmeal wedges for a savory spin on oats. I chopped the onions, grated some carrot, added seasoning–and in about 20 minutes, dinner was served. I completed the meal with a salad of mixed greens with added nuts/seeds for extra protein (though oats themselves are no slouch in this department; a 1-cup serving boasts 13g of protein).
The result was a terrific light supper. The wedges are crispy on the outside, creamy and nubby on the inside, with the characteristic caramelized flavor of fried onions. I added carrot for a bit of visual interest and additional vitamins, but really, you can adapt this recipe in an infinite number of ways, adding chopped veggies, seeds, different flavorings or seasonings as you see fit. In fact, I bet there are more than 50 variations to these oatmeal wedges. Now. . . . all that remains is just to name them all.
[Here with a splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos for a flavor accent.]
Savory Pan-Fried Oatmeal Wedges with Green Onion and Grated Carrot
Super simple to whip up, these wedges are great as a light main dish or appetizer course. They’re great on their own with a splash of Bragg’s or soy sauce, or squirt of sriracha; or use them as a base for a stew or legume-based curry.
2 cups (480 ml) cooked leftover steel cut oats (be sure they’re cold)**
4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 large carrot, grated
1 tsp (5 ml) garlic salt
1 tsp (5 ml) dried dill or 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh chopped dill, optional
fine sea salt to taste, optional
1 Tbsp (15 ml) unrefined coconut oil, preferably organic, melted
In a medium bowl, blend together the oats, onions, carrot, garlic salt, dill and salt, if using. Brush a large nonstick frypan with about half the oil and heat over medium heat. Plop the oat mixture into the pan and flatten with a spatula until about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick, shaping into a round. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the edges and bottom are browned (lift a little bit of the edge with the spatula to check). Brush the top with the rest of the melted coconut oil and then carefully cut the round into four wedges. Gently turn each wedge and cook on the other side until browned, 6-8 more minutes. Slide the wedges onto plates and serve with Bragg’s, wheat-free soy sauce or sriracha. Makes 4 servings.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan.
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Three Years Ago: Raw Nori Rolls with “Salmon” and Spicy Miso-ginger Paste (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond Maintenance)
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs