Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest.
Pretty soon she came upon a house.
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She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in
At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.
“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed
So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl. “This porridge is too cold,” she said
So she tasted the last bowl of porridge. “Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up ~ The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears
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I have an outstanding date with Amazon Prime around the first of every month. After a few points and clicks, a couple of days later a shipment of diapers and baby things will land on the doorstep of my son and his family.
And really, what would life be without some frivolities? So I always include a few things for mom and dad as well; things they probably wouldn't buy for themselves. Chocolates, a crock-pot, scented soaps, assorted teas, and cookbooks
In today's age, one could certainly learn a lot about cooking from Siri (and by googling), but there's something truly magical about a book that you hold in your hand. One that you write in the margins (+ more heat!), splatter with grease, and fill with chocolate thumbprints
Over the years I've found that no matter the stage of life, a few solid cookbooks will always inspire me to make something delicious. I wish the same for them. I thought it might be fun today to share some that have arrived in their monthly care packages.
Like a big hug from afar
How to Cook Everything – Bittman says it best “Everyday cooking is not about striving for brilliance but about preparing good, wholesome, tasty, varied meals for the ones you love”
Good and Cheap – The author wrote the cookbook, especially for people on SNAP/food benefits; who eat on $4/day. But the book (which you can download as a free PDF is really for everyone). It teaches us how to plan, shop, and cook on a budget; great life skills to have no matter our financial circumstances
Artisan Bread in Five Minute a Day – The cookbook that forever changed the way I make bread. It's like an old friend
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone – Every recipe, even the simplest, have been absolutely wonderful
The Joy of Cooking – My copy came as a house-warming gift from a neighbor, the week I moved into my first house. It was left on our front porch alongside something hot and bubbly. After almost 25 years, it's stained, a little rough around the edges, and still a favorite
Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Julia will never let you down
The Forest Feast – This cookbook is full of such beautiful photos and illustrations. It'll make you want to eat seasonally, and make a pretty meal. Everything I've made from it has been approachable and delicious
Barefoot Contessa at Home – I love everything about Ina (especially the sweet things she says about her husband) and have collected all of her cookbooks over the years. The recipes in this one are especially yummy and approachable. Her roasted pepper and goat cheese sandwich is an all-time favorite
I'm Just Here For the Food – Because Alton doesn't just teach us how to cook, he teaches us how cooking works. It's a must-have
The Heart of the Plate – For vegetarians, you can't go wrong with anything by Mollie Katzen. Recipes that are modern, yet classic, with great flavors and simple techniques
“The recipes that have been passed down from cookbook authors, chefs, and bloggers who've made them legendary. They make us rethink cooking tropes, solve problems, get us talking, and make cooking more fun” ~ Food52 Executive Editor Kristen Miglore
While the weather in Iowa has stayed beautiful even into this first week of November, my body has been craving warmer weather kinds of breakfasts. (Especially after I heard how much the kids loved this recipe from the Genius Recipes cookbook)
I made this for breakfast this weekend, and kept thinking; if I owned a restaurant, it would certainly serve brunch, and this would be the first thing on the menu. It's really just a simple bowl of oats, although ..
“Too much chew, too little chew — this one's just right: Bloomfield calls for equal parts of both styles of oats, which means the steel-cut bits keep their pop, while the rolled oats melt around them. And getting them to the perfect texture only takes 20 minutes” ~ Food52
A note about the salt, it will seem like it's too much, but it won't be. In the end, something sweet is added, along with something milky, and it all will live in harmony.
If you'd like to fancy it up just a bit, it's nice to toast the oats in just a bit in clarified butter before you begin. You'll have another step, but the trade-off is a house that smells like a batch of oatmeal cookies baking.
At our house, the scent drifts from the kitchen, and down the hallway to the bedroom (and into every room along the way). It lets you know breakfast is going to be good
There are so many ways you could go with your toppings:
Most days I like to keep it simple, adding a small drizzle of maple syrup, a tiny splash of cream, whatever toasted nuts are nearby, along with some fruit.
If you're feeling fancy, a couple of ideas:
Boozy Berries: Place the berries in a jar and cover them with bourbon. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Note: they're pretty boozy) I'll drain and sprinkle them with a bit of brown sugar before serving.
Maple & Buttermilk Melted Butter: In a saucepan over gentle heat, combine equal parts maple syrup, buttermilk, and butter. Heat just until the butter has melted stirring frequently. (I'll typically do 1/3 – 1/2 cup of each) Serve warm
~ Adapted from Food52 Genius Recipes
April Bloomfield's English Porridge
- 1 ½ cup whole milk + a few generous splashes (for a vegan option, substitute nut milk of choice)
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 ½ tsp flaky sea salt (if using finer salt, start with ½ teaspoon and add to taste)
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup steel-cut oats
- About 2 Tbsp natural sugar (or maple syrup)
- In a medium-sized pot over high heat, add the milk, water, and salt. Combine, stirring frequently as the liquid comes to a gentle simmer.
- Lower the heat to medium and add both kinds of oats
- Stirring frequently (lowering the heat as needed to maintain a good simmer), cook the oats.
- After about 20 minutes, the rolled oats will have turned a bit mushy, while the steel-cut oats will be just tender and will pop when you bit into them
- Taste for seasoning (they should be on the salty side)
- Add sugar or syrup.
- Spoon the porridge into warm bowls and let it sit for a minute or two
- (Note: Included below is the topping suggested by April Bloomfield. For other topping ideas, see above)
- Then carefully pour a little cold milk around the edges of each bowl, so it pools all the way around.
- Sprinkle a five-fingered pinch of sugar or drizzle the syrup in the center of each and let it melt, then serve right away.