Whichever type of pasta dough you choose, consider a no-cheese ravioli, cooking oats until they are dry and adding
ample candied pecans or cinnamon-toasted almonds and
cranberries. Cut everything in small pieces and allow the
oats to act as a binder, Mohr suggests. Then saute the ravioli
in brown butter or compound maple butter. “It can’t cost
more than a few pennies, but could demand a good price on
the menu as a healthy appetizer,” he says.
Considering the popularity of risotto, use oats in place of
rice, suggests Mohr. Or play with a polenta theme. Cook
oats, and flavor with fruits, pieces of meat or nuts. Press
them out on a sheet pan to dry, cut into triangles and bake
Babbage likes to grind oats into a flour and make buttermilk/
oatmeal baked chicken. “It’s not as heavy as fried chicken
and doesn’t have as many calories. It also tastes a little
nuttier, and it makes a nice crispy, crunchy crust,” he says.
He also makes his version of falafel, starting with canned
chickpeas, which he grinds, adding oatmeal to tighten it and
mixing in a bit of flax seed. “It’s low on the glycemic index,
and it makes you feel fuller longer,” he says.
Oatmeal also plays a role in liquid refreshments. Tiztal Café
is a Chicago destination for its oatmeal shake. Manager
Rosemary Lucas’ business partner hails from Mexico, and
came up with the idea to add a version of the popular avena
licuado to the menu. The Mexican tradition is to blend
oatmeal with milk, strain it, add such other items as fruits or
nuts, and re-blend it for a thick shake. But Tiztal Café adds
ice cream for richness.
“It flies out the door,” Lucas says, adding that guests come
just for the shake, which is made with inexpensive quick
oats. “I love an oatmeal shake with pecans or walnuts. Talk
about rich, healthy food that’s just delicious.”
Another popular Mexican drink served at Tiztal Café is
made of blended oatmeal, granola, orange juice and apples.
“Some ask for it not strained. If it’s strained, it’s smooth,”
Lucas says. It serves as a vegan form of the oatmeal shake.
Chicago is a hotspot for putting oats in drinks, with some
even adding it to hot chocolate, Lucas says.
Over the past few years, oatmeal supplier Bob’s Red Mill in
Milwaukie, Ore., has seen an explosion in what people are
doing with oats, and one involves another Mexican drink,
horchata, says marketing specialist Cassidy Stockton.
The drink typically combines rice, vanilla and cinnamon.
However, some prefer to replace rice with oatmeal.
No matter the preparation, when choosing oats/oatmeal, consider
the differences. “I’m a big label reader,” says Babbage. He notes
that instant oatmeal has added sugar and salt. He advises going
for the purest form.
Overall, expect that oatmeal will have a long life in the U.S.
“It’s one of those things that no matter where or when you grew
up, it’s something everyone has in common,” Babbage says.
JODY SHEE, AN OLA THE, KAN.-BASED FREELANCE WRI TER AND EDITOR, PREVIOUSLY WAS EDI TOR
OF A FOODSERVICE MAGAZINE. SHE HAS 20 YEARS OF FOOD- WRITING EXPERIENCE AND WRITES
THE BLOG W W W. SHEEFOOD.COM.
OATMEAL HAS BEEN A
PART OF THE CUISINE
OF IRELAND SINCE
HISTORY OF THE PEOPLES
THERE, AND THIS SOUP
IS REPRESENTATIVE OF
WHAT WAS AVAILABLE
TO THE ANCIENT IRISH.
IRISH CUISINE HAS
ALWAYS RELIED ON
FOODS THAT HELP FIGHT
THE CHILL OF THIS COLD
AND WET COUNTRY.
Method: Put butter in large pot;
heat over low flame. Once hot,
add oats; gently fry, stirring
constantly with wooden spoon
until oats are golden-brown. Stir
in vegetable stock; add leeks,
salt and pepper. Bring mixture to
gentle simmer over medium heat;
simmer for 45 minutes, or until
leeks are tender. Temper in milk;
adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Garnish with minced parsley.
(Leek and Oatmeal Soup)
From International Cuisine
(Delmar Cengage Learning, © 2008)
by Jeremy MacVeigh
Yield: 1.75 quarts (approx.)
3 oz. butter, clarified
5 oz. raw rolled oats
1 qt. vegetable stock
12 oz. leeks, cleaned, sliced thin
1 t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup minced parsley
Recipe and photo courtesy of Delmar