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September 14th, 2011

Last tastes of summer

peachesandverbena

I just received a phone call from a good friend of mine who is spending the month on the Island of Limnos in Greece. Much of her husband’s extended family live on the island and they are always dropping in for impromptu meals of garden salads and local seafood. My friend told me she found fresh langoustines and has kilos of sun-ripe tomatoes and peppers to keep her entertained for most of the day.
It made me long for summer, which is quickly fading away, and ripe peaches and lemon verbena, as in the photo above. It’s a simple salad I like to make with just a squeeze of fresh lemon. Peaches are also wonderful, peeled, lightly poached in Lillet Blanc and lemon verbena, one of my favorite herbs for its heady lemony fragrance and flavor.

WHAT SUMMER FLAVORS WILL YOU MISS?

September 1st, 2011

Of Black Beans and Oatmeal…And the winner is….

I’m just back from the great city of Portland, OR (thanks Bob and the Bob’s Red Mill crew) where I was honored to judge, along with Leather Storrs, chef at Noble Rot in Portland and winner of this season’s Food Network’s “Extreme Chef;” and Rachel MacRitchie, Scottish native and honorary president of the Daughters of the British Empire, the Spar for the Spurtle Ultimate Oatmeal Throwdown.
Matthew Cox, The 2009 World Porridge Making Champion and Golden Spurtle Winner, animated the event, which will send the winner to compete in Scotland later this year.
It was a tough decision among the 3 finalists. Jim Schafer, from Wisconsin, had already made almond milk and churned his own butter for his Nutty Coconut Oatmeal by the time the judges arrived. Portland resident, Rachel Kimbrow, wowed us with her gorgeous silky custard and a gingerbread-flavored oatmeal. In the end, Merry Graham, of California, won us over with crisp black bean porridge patties. I know…I know…oatmeal patties? I thought the same thing, but once we tasted them, we loved the Southwestern flavors and crisp coating as well as the surprising take on “oatmeal porridge.”
blackbeanpatty
Black Bean Porridge Patties with Black Bean Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:
2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Award Winning Steel Cut Oats
1 2/3 cups water
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinse, drained, divided
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup minced cilantro for patties, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro for pico
3/4 teaspoon Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour, additional for forming patties
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 ½ chopped fresh tomatoes
2 green onions, chopped, additional for garnish
1/2 cup picante salsa, medium or mild if preferred
2/3 cup Greek yogurt

1. In a 4-cup bowl, combine Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats and 1 2/3 cups water, stir and set aside for three hours. Do not drain water after oaks have soaked. *Alternative non-soak method listed below.

2. Pour softened oats and soaking water in a 4-quart or larger saucepan, combine, garlic, water, and salt, cover, and cook on high or medium-high for 9 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Uncover, add 1-cup black beans, cumin, and red pepper, stir constantly and cook 4-minutes.

3. Pour hot porridge into a large bowl and stir in 1/3-cup cilantro and then add baking powder, stir, add all but about 2-tablespoons of the oat flour until uniform in consistency. Sprinkle a work surface with about 1-tablespoon of remaining oat flour. Form 4 patties by scooping 1/2-cup oat mixture. Sprinkle each mound with about 1-tablespoon of oat flour; press down with the back of a metal spatula and shape with hands. Use additional oat flour if needed.

4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat grapeseed oil on high. Fry patties on both sides 5 minutes, adjusting heat between high and medium-high, until patties are brown and crispy. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl toss together remaining black beans, 1/2-cup cilantro, tomatoes, green onions, and picante salsa.

5. Place Black Bean Porridge Patties on a large serving patter or on individual salad plates. Top patties with Black Bean Pico de Gallo and dollop with Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions. Serves 4

Winning Recipe by Merry Graham, COURTESY OF BOB’S RED MILL

* Alternative non-soak method: Combine oats with 2 2/3 cups water in a 4-quart saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, adjust heat to medium and cook for 14 minutes or until water has almost completely absorbed into oats. Uncover, and add black beans, cumin and red pepper, stir constantly and cook 4-minutes. Continue instructions as listed above.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO COOK OATMEAL?

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