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Entries in oats (25)

Sunday
Jan262014

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread

The wind is blowing outside my window with a fierceness only Mother Nature herself could bring. Another blizzard has descended, matching the winds of last Wednesday and the snow of last weekend. If the nine foot snow drift that appeared outside of my bedroom window this morning is any indication, it was only proper to spend the day wrapped up in sweaters and hiding under blankets. This winter, in particular, has been one of hot cocoa and warm ovens.

How could you have it any other way?

Honey Oat Bread
Honey Oat Bread

One of the dearest ways to spend a Sunday morning for me is baking bread. After the coffee has been brewed, I slowly pull the flour out of the cupboard and the yeast off the shelf, moving at the speed of the weekend. The morning may be filled with yawns (and flour may pepper the sides of my pajama pants), but bread is an act of patience and a practice in meditation. There can be no rush, for bread grows at its own pace, feeling out the air around it and reacting accordingly. It is this nature of bread, this uncontrollable spirit, that keeps me coming back time and again.

The scent of yeast and the feel of dough beneath my fingers is irreplaceable.

Honey Oat Bread

Honey and oatmeal are a classic comfort food combination, perfect for giving warmth to a wintery day. When approaching this bread, I wanted to find a way to make the oats a significant portion of the bread, lending a pronounced flavor to the final loaf. To do so, I ground up the oatmeal flakes in a food processor until they resembled flour, which working surprisingly well. The bread has a hint of honey, providing a pure sweetness which complements a spread of jam and acts as a spoon for potatoes and gravy.

It may be cold outside, but it is warm in my kitchen.

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread is a standard dinner table bread. The subtlety of oats and honey allow the bread to be served with both sweet and savory foods. Before baking, the bread is brushed with warm honey and sprinkled with oats. When it emerges from the oven, the top takes on a golden color. If golden were a flavor, this bread would certainly match it. The honey soaked bites and toasted oats become the icing on the cake, so to speak. The bread keeps well for several days, bringing an element of joy to your favorite dishes.

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Monday
Nov042013

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

I adore autumn weather for many reasons—the comfort foods, the colors of the trees, the days of nothing but drizzling rain—but ripe, fresh apples are what truly bring this season home for me. Apples are one of the few foods I keep continually stocked in my refrigerator. I eat apples like other people enjoy bread or drink milk, daily and sometimes more than once. A few years ago, I found myself with an unquenchable apple craving. One thousand apples later, it hasn't dissipated.

When fall rolls around, and the apples become crisp and sweet, this simple fruit becomes irresistible.

Apple Crisp

When the cold sets in for the year, I surround myself with apple recipes. My grandmother's applesauce recipe is on constant rotation, popping up several times a season. Slightly bruised apples, fallen from the tree, are often the stars of this dish. Once the soft parts are cut off, the apples are salvaged in such a simple, but beautiful manner. Likewise, this Apple Cinnamon Cake has never failed to grace my autumn table. More apple than cake, the ingredients vary to accommodate the ones already in the cupboard.

A few years ago, I branched out and made my own homemade apple cider. The final result was so fresh and delicious, my roommate and I were so afraid to drink it (lest it should disappear) that the cider nearly spent too long in the refrigerator.

Apple Crisp Apple Crisp

On a phone call with my mother, she told me about an apple crisp my sister had made for her when she last visited. As I eyed the freshly picked apples boxed on my counter top, the idea seemed like the perfect plan to enact with my own apples. When the weekend rolled around, I peeled and sliced nearly a dozen of the small apples, coating them with sugar, and baking them in the oven until tender. I had plans to share the apple crisp with my coworkers, but after two greedy forks kept stealing bitefuls while it was cooling, half of the apple crisp disappeared in a day.

It is safe to say that my coworkers never saw this dish. Sometimes, I've found, some foods are just too good to be shared.

Apple Crisp

This Apple Crisp is an autumn favorite, with enough variance in texture and flavor to call itself a classic. The apples are baked in a mixture of butter and brown sugar, with a hint of rum to round out the flavor. The crisp bakes on top, sweet and spiced, providing a crunchy contrast to the tender apples. Served cold with whipped cream or hot with ice cream, this apple crisp never fails to please. You may even find yourself scraping the sticky remains from the bottom of the pan, wishing for more.

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Thursday
Jun202013

Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal

Rhubarb Vanilla Almond Oatmeal Rhubarb Vanilla Almond Oatmeal

If there is anything this summer has taught me so far, it is to put my expectations aside and embrace the reality of the summer for what it is. This is, like most things, easier said than done. I am (and forever will be) a planner, picturing how an event will play out in my mind, making sure I know all of the details beforehand. I get so caught up in these designs and visions that when change surfaces unexpectedly, it becomes jarring. Taken off guard and scrambling, I find myself needing a moment to compose myself—needing a moment to allow my well laid plans to fade away.

This summer seems to deal me a new set of expectations at the end of each week. It is growing exhausting to keep up with the changes, watching my summer slip so far from the vision I longingly dreamed of in the middle of winter. Right now I am in the middle of taking a deep breath, of composing myself, of preserving a hopeful outlook.

Rhubarb Vanilla Almond Oatmeal

Earlier this week, my boyfriend abruptly had his own summer expectations wiped clean. After a bike accident and a trip to the emergency room, he left with a broken arm, immobilized with a tight-fitting sling. Though I happily took on the role of nurse, we realized the summer plans we made together were going to need quite a bit of editing. For dinner that evening, I cooked up a pot of oatmeal for two by request. Over the stove, as the oats bubbled and boiled, we started a new list of summer plans.

Oatmeal has its own unique curing powers—for body, for soul.

Rhubarb Vanilla Almond Oatmeal

Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal combines almonds, vanilla, and the tart flavor of rhubarb. Rhubarb is roasted in the oven with a bit of sugar until tender. A traditional brown sugar oatmeal is mixed up, topped with the roasted vanilla rhubarb, a sprinkling of chopped almonds, and a spoonful of ground flaxseed. The oatmeal has a range of textures, spanning crunchy to smooth. This breakfast is lovely on cool summer mornings or when you need a bowl of comfort, served hot.

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