Thanks so much for all of the lovely birthday wishes – you all really made my day! We spent the weekend out of town, celebrating my birthday. It wasn’t really a weekend for relaxing – we did a lot of sightseeing and driving. By the time we got in last night, we were pretty exhausted. Just thinking about the alarm going off at 5am was enough to get out the crock pot to make a batch of overnight oats. I do this often and they turn out great. My crock pot has a timer – I set it for 5 hours on low – and then it switches to warm for 3 hours. Just add steel cut oats and water, a little cinnamon maybe. I also knew I had a blog to write (this one) and thought I would make a new recipe to share today. I got a little creative and thought the combo of steel cut oats, red rice and rough cut corn meal would make a great breakfast porridge. I measured equal amounts of the grains and twice as much water. Added cinnamon and cubed some pink lady apples I had. Gave it a stir, set the timer and went to bed.
Up at 5, made a bowl for Bill, added some blueberries for him and a splash of almond milk. How is it? I asked. ….I love you, but….he said. Oh. Not good? Well…
Fail. A little about my husband…he’s not picky and will eat just about anything I make. So it must have been pretty bad.
So I taste test my creation…and I have a big crock pot full of porridge that is very bland. The apples are even flavorless. As you find your way in the plant strong world, ‘bland and flavorless’ meals are apt to come up. You might make something from scratch or convert a recipe that you love and find it just doesn’t have that ‘zest’. So what to do? Work on it! In the absence of salt, oil and sugar you often have to pump up the flavor by adding more to it.
When it came to my oatmeal, I added more fruit. What makes a good ‘eating’ apple and a good ‘baking’ apple are usually different varieties. Granny Smith’s make good baking apples. They hold their flavor really well. I used the pink lady apples I had on hand. Not as good for baking. I also should have added more apples. After all, it is a bowl of oatmeal – not a cake, so I am not going to mess up the moisture content or anything by adding more fruit. I also added more cinnamon.
Taste test number two…not as bad. So I stirred in some vanilla extract, added some blueberries to the bowl and had a bowl of ‘better’ breakfast. The lesson is: don’t be afraid to experiment or just plain make stuff up! I was not about to google a recipe or pull out a cookbook last night. I was too tired. If it doesn’t turn out, doctor it up a little bit. Add more spices or more fruit/vegetables, a little more water or vegetable broth maybe would do the trick? In all of my ‘recipe lab’ experiments, I’ve only epically failed a couple of times. Most things can be salvaged just by playing with the ratios. So don’t toss that bland dish just yet. Work on it! A squeeze of citrus fruit livens up most any recipe. So does fresh grated ginger, herbs, garlic and spicy peppers.
So make your kitchen a recipe lab! Save that recipe by trying again and helping it along. I am not sharing the recipe with you just yet…it still needs some work
*Every day this week we are giving away a copy of the new book, My Beef With Meat! Be sure to leave a comment on every post this week for more chances to win! Today’s question is: Tell us about a meal that you rescued!