Monday, March 30, 2015

Chilled Oatmeal with Strawberry Compote and Creme Anglaise

The Rules
One of the goals of our budget eating is to make extra and freeze one and refrigerate one of whatever is leftover.  The other day I applied this principle to breakfast.  I was making oatmeal with strawberry compote and creme anglaise sauce and I decided to make the oatmeal thick and serve the rest cold, as a leftover.  I was able to pack up three extra breakfast portions and I now don't have to deal with breakfast for a day or two. 

The Inspiration
I have tried the overnight refrigerator oats recipes cruising around Pinterest with limited success, but I've always like cold oatmeal.  Even as a kid, I would eat my peach instant Quaker Oats with cold milk instead of microwaving it.  Now that I have been working on a certain airlines "Mint class" airplane, one of the perks is eating the food specially designed by Saxon and Parole, a New York restaurant.  They often offer a cold oatmeal with a fruit compote and creamy sauce.  I can't claim any originality to any of this, but I highly recommend you try it. 

The Recipe

Chilled Oatmeal with Strawberry Compote and Creme Anglaise
The Strawberry Compote
1 1/2 cups of strawberries, cleaned and diced
1/2 cup of water
1/4 of white sugar
2 tsp of corn starch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom

Boil all ingredients together mashing strawberries with a fork as they soften, adding more water if compote seems too thick or begins to burn.  Don't worry if the strawberries still seem tart, they should be to counter the sweet and creamy creme anglaise. 

The Creme Anglaise
I used this recipe for the creme anglaise because it used milk, an ingredient I readily had on hand, and it has less calories then cream or half and half.  It was excellent with the oatmeal.  I also halved the recipe making it the perfect amount for the four portions of oatmeal.  (I also didn't ice bath my creme anglaise, because I'm lazy and it cooled perfectly while I made my oatmeal.)

The Oatmeal
Prepare Oatmeal, following package directions, for 4 people, using whole milk, instead of water.
Steel cut oats are my personal favorite, but I've also tried instant.

Put it Together
Top Oatmeal with strawberry compote and creme anglaise.  Add nuts if you have some on hand (Candied Walnuts!).  Eat it warm, then dish up the left overs to eat cold the next day.

Necessary Ingredients
Corn Starch
Egg Yolks
Nuts (Optional!)


Two People, Fifty Dollars

Two people, fifty dollars.  That's our weekly grocery budget.

After taking a finance class that asked the question "On what do you spend your money and time?" My husband and I decided we spend too much money on food.  And with that, I now spend much more time on food.  Cooking it, planning it out, bemoaning a meal of three sides.... 

The Rules
The goal is to purchase the basics, milk, bread, eggs, cheese, butter, potatoes every week.  Purchase on sale fruits and veggies.  Grab a few grains (preferable ancient grains, but pasta and rice once a week is fine with us).  Grab a few beans.  Add a couple treats.  Stock up on a staple.

We also have $100 a month to spend on food for entertaining and social activities.  So far I've spent $25, but Easter is approaching and I will be in charge of desserts.

This Week
This week I spent $20 dollars at Target and $35 at Safeway, going over by $5.  I had planned to put back the blue cheese after I found out the cost, or the salsa because I'm the only one who eats it but as I was choosing potatoes in the produce section, two customers ran out the back door of my ultra classy neighborhood Safeway with a cart of groceries, and as I was checking out, the security guard was explaining to the checker that the customer who stole the groceries, was the same guy from last week, and how he caught him, and I was engrossed in the story and forgot to put back the cheese or salsa and then I felt ashamed to ask the checker to take it off the bill, so the overage will come out of my fun money.  I'm going to need to invite someone over for blue cheese salads to get the money back from my entertainment fund.  :-) 

The Recipe
I buy a lot of my olive oils and vinegars from Marshalls and occasionally go to a shmanchy olive oil store in SF called "Olive this, Olive that".  My favorite thing there is the walnut-cranberry balsamic.  It's sweet and rich and nutty and I love it mixed with walnut oil and fruit (pears and apples especially) for a breakfast salad.  Given the price of oils and balsamics, one would assume it's not a budget food item, but a little goes a long way and the right oils and vinegars make even the most simple food, special. 

Sweet Walnut Salad
Lettuce (Mescalin mixes or butter lettuce works well.)
1 ounce of blue cheese
1 ounce of candied walnuts
1/4 red apple, thinly sliced or diced
Thin drizzle of walnut oil
Thin drizzle of cranberry-walnut balsamic
Salt and pepper to taste