Flashback Friday – Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 2/16/09 at Exit 51.

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

My introduction to the Food Network came courtesy of Alton Brown and Good Eats.  In thirty minutes, he not only presents multiple recipes, but he explains the “why” of it all.  I guess I’m not the only person who wants to understand the how and why of the kitchen.  Did I mention he makes it entertaining?  Props and skits illustrate concepts or give brief history lessons.  At the end of a show, I feel like I’ve really learned something and I get new recipes too.  Five years of college and all I can show you is  an unframed degree and student loan payment coupons….I definitely think I’m getting a better value from Mr. Brown.

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Since those early days with AB, I’ve branched out to other FN personalities, but Alton remains a favorite.  One recipe that I go back to over and over is his Overnight Oatmeal.  I’ve made this so many times, and it’s so simple, that I no longer pull out the recipe.  With only a few minutes of active prep and a crock pot set to low, I can have a week’s worth of breakfast at the ready. For a non-morning person such as myself, this is gold.

In a different life, maybe I would have the time, or inclination, or personal chef to make a full on breakfast each and every day.  But as it is, I’m lucky to get out of the house dressed and fed each morning.  So anything that saves me time is welcome.  And unlike packaged cereals, I know EXACTLY what is in the food.  No trans fat this, or high fructose corn syrup that.  No guessing needed.

Really, what’s not to love about this recipe?  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  It’s open to countless interpretations.  It may not be the most glamorous dish to hit your table, but not every meal has to look like it came from the five star kitchen of the celebrity chef du jour.

AB’s recipe is below.  I use whatever dried fruit I happen to have on hand – dried apples or dried peaches work very well.  You use what you like.  I also add about one half cup of unsweetened applesauce to the crock pot to give a little more moisture. If you have a cinnamon stick, throw it in crock pot.  Just be sure to remove it before serving.  Serve with a bit of brown sugar, preserves,  jam, or syrup for a hint of sweetness.  Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week.  To reheat, thin with a bit of milk, stir to combine, and microwave for about 90 seconds.

AB's Overnight Oatmeal

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours.

Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

Flashback Friday – Sugar And Spice

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 12/4/08 at Exit 51

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and spice…quick, what’s the first thing you think of?  Cinnamon sugar, perhaps?  There’s nothing wrong with cinnamon sugar but sometimes I think it’s more interesting to pair up flavors that don’t usually get to hang out together.  Like cayenne pepper and brown sugar.  And cumin.  And paprika.  And chipotle.

Sugar and Spice Collage

My favorite application of this combination is usually as a pork rub.  I pile it on good and thick and get a smoky sweet crust.  So when I was in search of a recipe to make for the holidays, I started with the flavors I wanted and worked my way backwards to find the medium.  I mean the pork is good and everything, but  I’m pretty sure a spice rubbed pork loin is not what someone wants to find when they open their gift box.

My selection criteria included quick, easy, and ships well.  A search on FoodNetwork.com got me to Emeril’s Spiced Nut recipe.  The first batch, I made exactly as the recipe directed.  And they were pretty bad.  I don’t know why, but the recipe called for butter…4 tablespoons of it.  Butter certainly has its place in my cooking but when I’m thinking candied anything, butter doesn’t come into play.  Instead of nuts evenly coated with a spicy sugar shell, they were greasy and the sugar was clumpy.  So I got to thinking, what if I cut out the butter entirely?  It couldn’t be any worse than the first batch that ended up in the trash.

I was pleased to find that eliminating the butter did the trick.  The nuts were smoky and spicy with a sweet candy shell.  Learn from my mistake and don’t add too much water to the pan.  If you do, the candy coating gets too sticky.

Now all I need to do is package them up and get them shipped out.  If you see a box in your mail with my return address, I can promise you that it’s not a spice rubbed pork loin.  But I think you’ll like this anyway.

Spiced Nuts

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse, Food Network

Notes:  Use more cayenne (up to 1 teaspoon) if you like things really spicy. I also added 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika and 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder.  Add 2 tablespoons of water at first and see how well your sugar melts.  If it’s still thick and clumped, add the third tablespoon.  Use your best nonstick frying pan and be sure to wash it out between batches.  Even a little bit of burned sugar will ruin an entire batch.  Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups unsalted mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 – 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Mix the spices, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.

In a large dry skillet, place the nuts and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to toast, about 4 minutes. Add the spices, sugar, water, and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts, the sauce thickens, and the nuts are glazed, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet, separating them with a spatula. Let the nuts stand until cooled and the sugar has hardened, about 10 minutes.

For another spin on the spiced nuts, check out this blog entry by Kim O’Donnel.

Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/8/09 at Exit 51.

Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots

It should come as no surprise that I plan out meals in advance.  When I do my planning, I try use a Garanimals approach.  Remember Garanimals?  The line of children’s clothing, originally from the 70’s, designed to let kids put together coordinated outfits.  From their website:

“The kid-friendly Garanimals mix-and-match separates provide a simple, coordinated system that makes clothes easy to pair and fun to wear. The Garanimals pairing system brings creativity and independence to young children as they select their own clothes and dress themselves. Through these small, successful decisions, children develop early feelings of self-confidence.”

That is so what cooking should be.  Easy, fun, and confidence building.  Which is why I totally think of recipes as separates, that when combined, make a coordinated outfit on the plate. Continue reading “Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots”

Flashback Friday – Good Karma Risotto

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 5/30/08 at Exit 51.

Good Karma Risotto

Ok, so maybe this risotto recipe won’t bring you good karma, but I think sharing it with you can’t be bad for mine. Besides, every time I have served it, it’s been a big hit. Huge.

The final dish is creamy with a tender grain and comes without the aggravation of having to stand over a steaming pot stirring and stirring. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard work you know? Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Good Karma Risotto”

Flashback Friday – Kitchen Karma

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 5/29/08 at Exit 51.

Kitchen Karma

I can’t very well tease you with references to recipes that not only work but impress the heck outta folks and then leave you high and dry, now can I?

No, that would be bad.

Bad kitchen karma.

And all my future cooking endeavors would be doomed.

So to appease the Kitchen Gods…not to mention my own personal St. Anthony of Bacon…I give you the main course from Win Some, Lose Some. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Kitchen Karma”

Fine Print

Insanely Good Waffles

I haven’t yet retaken the Cook Wise Raised Waffle Quiz.  Truth is, I may never retake it.  Because as much as I would like to tame that yeasty beasty, there are plenty of other recipes out there to fill my plate with waffle love.  One of the first waffle recipes I ever tried had the audacity to call itself the Waffle of Insane Greatness.  Humble much?

The recipe came with the following disclaimer in the fine print, “this recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant.  The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representations as to the results.”  Hey Food Network, if you post a recipe on your website it’s pretty safe to assume that a majority of people will figure that you have tested the recipe and that you are endorsing the results.  Since when do recipes come with fine print, disclaimers, and limits of liability?  It’s not an  insurance policy or lease agreement, it’s a waffle.  The question is, is it truly a Waffle of Insane Greatness?

You’ll have to judge for yourself.  The fact that I currently have a double batch of these in the freezer should in no way influence your decision.  BAH Fine Print:  Who am I kidding?  Of course I think you should try these waffles.  I have tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and I do make representations as to the results.  I represent that if you don’t think these are insanely good waffles, you should send them to my house.  The Mistah and I will gladly accept them.

Waffle of Insane Greatness

Adapted from Aretha Frankensteins

BAH Note:  The recipe posted at Food Network specifically said not to use any nonstick cooking spray on your waffle iron.  With 1/3 of a cup of vegetable oil, you don’t have to worry about these waffles sticking.

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the oil, milk or buttermilk, egg, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, mix well, and let sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat your waffle.  Cook the waffles according to your machine’s instructions and enjoy.

{printable recipe}

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Flashback Friday – What’s Cooking?

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 11/5/07 at Exit 51.

What’s Cooking?

This past weekend saw more kitchen action as I hosted a small brunch. Not sure which I enjoyed more…the food or the time with friends. The combination of good food and good friends is always a winner.

We dined on:

Butternut Squash Soup
Mixed Green Salad with Carrot Ginger Soy Dressing (this is similar to the dressing that comes on your salad in a Japanese restaurant…yum)
Pie

The food was easy to pull together in advance. Try it yourself, you’ll see. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – What’s Cooking?”