Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Most of my family, and particularly my brother, loves French onion soup. Who can resist good melty cheese, gooey and browned from the broiler, atop a slice of yummy French bread that has soaked up a flavorful rich broth loaded with caramelized onions? Unfortunately for a kosher family, the usual restaurant version begins with a rich beef broth, which renders the dish not kosher for two reasons—lack of kosher beef, and (even if the broth were made with kosher stock), the mixing of meat and dairy. Sorry, but pareve (non-dairy) cheese substitute would just not make it here.

I am here to tell you to take heart, both you who are kosher, and you who are vegetarian. You will never miss the flavor of beef in this incredibly rich and savory broth. As to the cheese, my brother prefers gruyere, but depending on your preferences, I have made it with havarti, swiss, sharp cheddar, and parmesan, and sometimes a combination of these. All are delicious! Bon appetit!

Vegetarian French Onion Soup
(makes 6-10 servings)
  • 1 lb. button, white, portobello, or fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 oz. dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup of dry wine
  • 2 Tablespoons of flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 Tablespoon of pareve chicken soup powder (Telma or Osem)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste 
  • 2 tsps. smoked Maldon salt
  • 2-4 large sweet onions (about 2-1/2 lbs.), peeled and sliced into short strands
  • 1 lb. good quality cheese, shredded (I suggest gruyere, sharp cheddar, havarti, or parmesan)
  • 1 loaf crusty French baguette or Italian bread with a diameter that somewhat fits your serving bowls when sliced
In a 6-8 qt. saucepan, sautè fresh mushrooms in butter until very tender and much of their liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add wine and continue to sauté until it has greatly reduced, about another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak dried mushrooms in hot water until soft. Add to fresh mushrooms along with soaking water after liquids have reduced. Continue to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Purée mixture as finely as possible with a stick blender. 

In another large frying pan on low to medium heat, sauté the onions in the sesame oil until they begin to brown and caramelize. Add flour and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes more. Add the four cups of water gradually while continuing to cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.

To onion mixture, add mushroom soy sauce, tamarind paste, pareve soup mix, fresh ground pepper, and smoked salt. Lower heat to simmer. Add puréed mushroom mixture and continue to simmer soup on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, toast half-inch thick slices of bread. Place oven-proof bowls on a shallow baking sheet. Ladle in soup. Top with toasted bread slices. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese. Place tray in oven so that cheese is about 6 inches from the broiler element and broil until cheese is melted and browned around the edges. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mousseline Sauce for Poached Eggs

I love to browse through recipes on my iPhone when I am just waiting around for something, the way other people seem to play games or listen to music. I find it very relaxing and non-violent, which is a nice change from world news, local news, mudslinging election campaigns, and commercials touting the horrifying possible side effects of new wonder drugs. Recently, I ran across a food blog that had tried an egg poaching technique gleaned from the Internet. It was so simple that I was amazed no one seemed to have thought of it before. The blogger was delighted with the results and gave a few practical tips about timing the eggs just right.

Ordinarily, when I have company coming, I don’t try a lot of new recipes or techniques, but I had other options to fall back on in this case. The last time Haley and Erik visited, we had an incredible brunch, set up on a long table by the pool on a picture-perfect day. I was as happy to try to duplicate the experience as they seemed to be when invited. Alas, the pool deck was covered with mud as we are in the process of extending the deck and screen room, and adding a spa. So brunch was inside at the dining room table. I know that Haley absolutely adores hollandaise sauce and poached eggs. 

Many, many years ago, (in fact, I think I was still a teenager) I made this memorable sauce that came from the Foods of the World cookbook series from Time/Life books. This set of books, that came once monthly until the extensive set was complete, was bought as a birthday gift for me by my mother, as I had requested them. I read them from cover to cover during my teenage years and they sparked my early interest in exotic food and travel. This sauce, and the techniques for making it, were a revelation to me at the time and have apparently remained an indelible memory for most of my life. I have only made it a few times, and that was long before anyone worried about raw eggs and salmonella. I curdled the sauce trying to get it to the safe temperature of 160°F., but I also learned to restore it to its creamy state. In experimenting, I also learned how to refrigerate leftover sauce and restore it to a creamy state the following day (which I had thought was impossible). To avoid the worry altogether, I purchased a dozen pasteurized eggs, which were available in my local supermarket, and they worked beautifully. I mentioned to Randi that getting the poached eggs out of the muffin tins would probably be easier with flexible silicon pans, and the following week, when she and her two sisters came for dinner, they presented me with a Mickey Mouse silicon muffin pan. When I used it, I was thrilled to find the openings just the right size to keep the yolk in the center! Since Randi avoids gluten, I substituted polenta rounds for the English muffins we used the first time. It all worked out so easily and beautifully that I know I intend to make this brunch dish in the future.

Mousseline Sauce
(makes 2 to 3 cups)

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) clarified butter (or ghee)
  • 3 egg yolks from pasteurized eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water
  • 3 Tbsp. strained fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (or squirt of Sriracha)
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

Warm and melt the clarified butter in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and water on high speed of electric mixer with wire whisk attachment until they are thick and have doubled in volume.

Place the mixing bowl over a pot of barely simmering water that is small enough that the bottom of the bowl is suspended above the water and not touching it. Continue whisking with a hand-held wire whisk until the mixture is heated through. Do not let the eggs come anywhere near a boil or they will curdle; if necessary, lift the pan off the heat from time to time to cool it.

Still whisking constantly, pour in the hot butter as slowly as possible and continue to beat until the sauce thickens heavily. If your arm gets tired, you can return the hot mixture to the electric mixer with the whisk and continue adding the hot butter in a slow stream until it is fully incorporated and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Thoroughly fold in the lemon juice, salt and hot pepper and taste for seasoning.

Set aside to cool to room temperature.

As soon as it is cool, whip the chilled cream with the wire whisk until it is stiff enough to stand in unwavering peaks on the beater.

Fold it gently but thoroughly into the hollandaise sauce and serve at once.

Tips for rescuing the sauce if things go too far:
If the sauce should curdle or separate because it became overheated when the hot butter was added or you added the butter too quickly, beat two more egg yolks in the electric mixer with the wire whisk until thick and doubled in volume. Gradually add the warm separated sauce, a little at a time, until a smooth emulsion has formed again.

Sometimes, whipping a sauce that has just begun to curdle in the food processor will restore it.

If there is leftover sauce that you wish to use the next day, refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator about a half hour before you wish to serve it. Submerge the storage container in a bowl of warm water that is an inch or two below the top of the sauce. Watch carefully for a few minutes. When the edges of the sauce just begin to melt, begin whisking with a wire whisk. Keep the container in the warm water and continue to whisk until the sauce has been restored to its creamy, thick state. Put into serving dish and serve at once.

Poached Eggs for a Crowd
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray a non-stick silicon or metal muffin or cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place 1 Tbsp. of cold water in each well.

Crack an egg carefully into a small custard cup, measuring cup, or ramekin and then pour carefully into each water-filled well.

Bake for 9-11 minutes depending on your oven and on how well-cooked you prefer your eggs. You can experiment with one egg at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Place a baking pan on top of poached eggs and invert to remove eggs from muffin pan, or lift each one out carefully with a small offset spatula.

Additional Assembly Instructions
If you prefer polenta to English muffins underneath, either make polenta ahead of time, form into a roll, and slice and fry the next day, or buy the polenta in the roll, ready-made, and slice and fry until crisp in butter before serving.

Fancy roasted peppers are available in a glass jar, or can be homemade. Other suggestions for topping the muffin or polenta are lox, poached salmon, avocado, tomato, salsa, sautéed portobello mushroom caps or tapenade.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Taiyaki (Sweet Japanese Fish-Shaped, Filled Pancakes)

I am so proud of my three granddaughters! They come to stay with us every summer for the whole summer in what we all call “Camp Bubbie and Saba.” A regular activity here is baking and cooking of all types. Sami is particularly fond of baking, and Izzy loves to cook and can crack two eggs at a time in classic chef fashion, something even I have not accomplished in all my years. Yona, although she only just turned seven, has been involved in slicing, dicing, and decorating food for most of her years. Sami, this past year, became a part-time apprentice to a retired French chef who, with her son, owns a restaurant in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, that has been a popular fixture of the Philadelphia suburban restaurant scene for many years, The Spring Mill Café. In this way, she is honing both her baking and French language skills. 

When I lived in Pennsylvania, a huge Asian supermarket opened less than a mile from my home. I shopped there frequently, and many times, there was a husband and wife team who made and sold these addictive, fish-shaped, street snacks right outside the supermarket on special equipment that was designed for making a bunch of them to order. I never failed to buy these warm, tasty treats once I had my first taste. At some point, though, the couple disappeared, never to return, and I could not find these anywhere else. One day, while browsing through the extensive housewares department at Assi Market, I found the gadget for making them and decided to buy it. It wasn’t very expensive, and I figured I could use it to make Croque Monsieur, as well, a fancy form of a French grilled cheese sandwich. As with most purchases like this, I stashed it away and never used it. Last summer, the girls ran across it while looking through my collection of interestingly-shaped cake pans and had a million questions about it. Thanks to Sami’s proficiency with Google, we learned the actual name of these treats and set out to buy what we needed to make them at the First Oriental Supermarket here in Florida. Other than almost causing a fire when excess butter dripped out when we flipped the pan over on the stove the first time, the effort was a rousing success. Once Sami really got the hang of it, she began experimenting with all kinds of fillings beyond the usual sweet red bean paste. Everyone here has a different favorite, and she caters to us all! So the following is Sami’s wonderful, tried and true, recipe for this most delicious breakfast treat:

Hello, it’s the apprentice baker! Fish is a weird shape for a pancake, right? In Japan things like this are sold as street food and food stores almost everywhere. These yummy fish pancakes can be filled with almost anything thick. We have tried these with anything from peanut butter, to cream cheese, to carrot cake filling, and all of them were delicious. The traditional filling for these, however, is red bean paste, which may be a little difficult to find. When I went to the Asian market with Marilyfe, I had to ask three times until the woman figured out that I wanted sweet red bean paste for taiyaki and not teriyaki.
Taiyaki (Sweet Japanese Fish-Shaped, Filled Pancakes)
Based on a recipe from 

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Fillings: red bean paste or other fillings of your choice
Combine dry ingredients, except sugar, in a mixing bowl. Mix well. 

Combine wet ingredients and sugar in a measuring cup, mix well.

Pour dry into wet. Use a hand whisk to stir until just incorporated (It should take less than 30 seconds, but you cannot overmix this recipe. I’ve tried.) Transfer the batter to a clean condiment bottle.

Preheat the taiyaki pan over medium low heat (high simmer for gas stoves, #3 for electric stoves) for about 30 seconds. Sparingly, brush both sides of the pan with a little butter or oil, or, you can spray with non-stick cooking spray such as Pam, or Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray. Do not use spray on the pan while it is on the hot electric stove or near a gas flame! Spray the hot pan away from the element to avoid a fire or exploding can. Grease the mold each time before you add batter to make a new taiyaki. 

Squeeze batter through the nozzle of the condiment bottle until the bottom part of the mold is about 2/3 full. Add 1/2 Tbsp. of filling at the widest center of the fish. Then cover the filling with a little more batter continuing down the shape a bit to fill up the tail.

Cover the pan and flip over immediately. Cook over medium low heat for about 3 minutes or until golden. You should be able to clearly see the features of the “fish.” Flip and repeat  until both sides become golden brown. You may open the pan in between flips to check the color, but not during the first minute. Like a normal pancake, the edges should be dry and the bubbles should pop and leave craters. Adjust the cooking time according to the size of the taiyaki and the temperature of your own stove.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Phyllo Lamb Borekas

I have been on the lookout, lately, for recipes that can be made in quantity and then stored piecemeal in the freezer so that we can remove and defrost small bites as the mood strikes, or when company comes unexpectedly and we need something delicious that can be warmed up in a hurry. This strategy is also useful when a picky eater doesn’t like what is being served to everyone else. Personally, I can resist any foods that I shouldn’t eat, like cake and cookies, as long as they are packed away neatly in the freezer. I chanced upon this recipe when I was looking for a use for a pound of ground lamb that I thought I would make into lamb meatballs. I happened to have a box of phyllo that was starting to get old in the freezer and, by coincidence, I had all the other ingredients as well.

The original recipe came from Eating Well magazine, but because they are so concerned with adding even a teaspoon of extra fat or a few more calories, I am making some alterations based on my experience with the recipe and the fact that all the sesame seeds fell off because there was no egg wash to hold them in place after baking.

To work successfully with phyllo, thaw in its original wrapper overnight in the refrigerator, then let stand, unopened, at room temperature for 2 hours before using. After opening, remove only 1 sheet at a time from the stack and keep the remaining sheets covered with a slightly damp, clean dishtowel. Fresh phyllo sheets should separate easily. If they don’t, they may have been too long in the freezer or improperly stored. Don’t struggle with bad phyllo. Get a good box. A wide pastry brush, or 2 to 3 inch-wide, new, clean paint brush works best for this.

Phyllo Lamb Borekas
Yield: Approximately 4 dozen triangles

  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 lb. lean ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, (mint, basil, parsley, etc.) or a combination
  • 1 lemon, grated rind and juice
  • 2 Tbsp. catsup or chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 egg

To make filling: Combine bulgur and hot water in a bowl. Set aside to soften, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook lamb in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add onion and garlic to juices in pan; cook, stirring, until onion is softened and golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the cooked lamb, drained bulgur, broth, raisins, herbs, lemon juice, catsup, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Return to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until liquid has been absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Let cool.

To prepare pastry and form triangles:

Put oil in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a baking sheet with oil.

Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface with a short side closest to you. Brush lightly with oil and place another sheet of phyllo on top. Lightly brush with more oil.

Cut phyllo with a sharp, pointed scissors lengthwise into 4 strips.

Place 1 tablespoon lamb mixture at the bottom of each strip and fold one corner of the strip diagonally over the filling to the opposite edge, forming a triangle. Continue folding the filling up in the pastry, as you would a flag.

Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling to form 48 triangles in all.

Beat egg lightly with 1/2 Tbsp. water. Brush tops of triangles lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until triangles are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

To make ahead, you can freeze and store the baked triangles layered between sheets of waxed paper or parchment in a shallow, airtight plastic storage box. Do not thaw before baking, uncovered, at 350°F. until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Samoa Bars

I was searching the Internet before Thanksgiving for some kind of dessert that could be made ahead which would appeal to my sister-in-law Randi, who is gluten-free because of a gluten sensitivity, rather than having actual celiac disease. She doesn’t like pumpkin desserts or meringues. Flans can only be made a day or two ahead and then have to be eaten within a few days, and I was looking for something that I could store away in the freezer for future use. This recipe not only fit all of my criteria, but I had a small quantity of homemade salted caramel sauce that had been hanging around the refrigerator since we had made our own ice cream, and a small bag of shredded coconut leftover in the freezer from making a Yona Rae Coconut Cake that uses up leftover egg whites from the freezer from baking our family challah each week. Perfect! I also liked the way the bottom crust forms into distinct layers while baking and has no added sugar. Even more perfect! They were a big hit with Randi, who sampled the results even before Thanksgiving. I want to try other flavor combinations of bar cookies using the same base. Freezing them changes the texture a bit, but they are still very tasty. The original recipe, from Katerina Petrovska’s Diethood blog, uses melted store-bought caramels. Randi plans to make it with an organic caramel sauce she gets at Whole Foods.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Samoa Bars

(makes 9 to 12 bars)

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup natural smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup easy caramel sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Using an electric mixer with whip attachment, beat the eggs at high speed for 8 minutes, or until eggs have tripled in volume.

Heat peanut butter on high setting in microwave oven, in heatproof measuring cup, for 1 minute. Remove and stir.

Slowly pour a thin stream of the warm peanut butter over the eggs while beating until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the chopped chocolate on top of the peanut butter mixture.

Spread 1 cup of the caramel sauce over the chopped chocolate.

Sprinkle shredded coconut over caramel sauce.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove and let cool completely to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled.

Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the chilled bars.

Cut and serve.

Easy Caramel Sauce
(original recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond from the Food Network)

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. Maldon salt
  • 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker.

Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.

Turn off the heat, cool slightly, and pour the sauce into a jar.

Refrigerate until cold.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

G.G. Sima’s Schnecken

One of the recipes that my granddaughters put aside to try this year from my expandable folder is this one that was hand-written for me by Saul’s mother. “Schnecken” can be translated as “snails” in Yiddish or German (which Sami is learning in high school) because of their distinctive shape. G.G. Sima used to make them for us whenever she came for family parties, like Mother’s Day, Hanukkah and birthday parties. She also used to fill large, white, deli-type food buckets with them for her favorite people to keep in the freezer, like her son-in-law Alex, and our friend Larry. She almost always worked without recipes, by feel, so I asked if she would try to quantify the recipe for me and she did, but I never made them myself. It is many years since G.G. Sima herself baked these for us. She died about 5 years ago, and for a few years before that, she developed dementia and was living near Saul’s sister and Jessica at Lion’s Gate, an assisted living and care facility in New Jersey.

I wasn’t sure how well the recipe would work in light of all this, but the results were pretty much as we fondly remembered them. The dough worked very well, and can be sprinkled and filled with whatever you choose. G.G. Sima usually used apricot preserves and chopped pecans, but the ones pictured here were made with either apricot or raspberry preserves, and sprinkled with chopped peanuts because of my mild tree nut allergy. Izzy, Alex, and Yona have allergies to chocolate, but sprinkling with chopped chocolate would be very welcome in some circles. G.G. Sima’s talent and love for baking and cooking will hopefully live on in this recipe.

G.G. Sima’s Schnecken

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut in small cubes
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 packet (2 tsp.) dry yeast
  • non-stick cooking spray


  • 1 jar of apricot or raspberry jam
  • 1 cup ground nuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Warm the milk to lukewarm. Sprinkle in the sugar and yeast.

Mix first the butter, and then the egg yolks into the flour using a pastry blender or fork.

Add the milk, beating with a spoon until a dough forms.

Divide the dough in three parts.

Using a rolling pin, roll out each part on a lightly floured surface into a large circle and cut into 16 wedges.

Combine last three filling ingredients.

Spread a very thin layer of jam on the dough. This keeps the nuts from sliding off when rolling up the schnecken.

Sprinkle with nut mixture and roll up each triangle beginning with the wide end and rolling toward the pointy end.

Put them on a lightly-greased cookie sheet and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Steamed Oatmeal with Berries

This recipe is so simple and so common to me that I have resisted putting it up on my blog. Saul or I make it practically every morning since he retired. This morning, he insisted I put it here because so many of our guests in Florida have partaken, and he went to the trouble of of arranging the berries in his bowl and taking a photograph.

Until recent years, even the thought of eating oatmeal was repulsive to me. As a child, I remember sitting for what seemed like hours in front of a bowl of cold, lumpy, slimy oatmeal because my mother insisted I must finish it before I went out to play. I remember literally gagging on the lumps to get it down so that I would be allowed to get up from the table. Consequently, I avoided eating it most of my adult life. Saul, however, loves the stuff, so when I ran across a method in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine years ago that purportedly produced a fluffy, nutty-tasting, and un-slimy version, I decided to try it out… on him ;o). I had to agree when I merely tasted it the first time that it was not my mother’s oatmeal. For several years, I made it for him alone at least four times a week when he rose before dawn to go off to teach an 8:00 a.m. class at Chestnut Hill College. I always added a handful of Craisins to add a bit of sweetness and because cranberries are supposed to be especially healthy for men. When we visited Seattle with Ari several years ago, we discovered Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Oatmeal. It is our favorite, but probably not enough better than the local brands to justify the cost of having it shipped. Mostly, we buy huge boxes of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats from Costco

Usually, working from home, I would share a cup of tea with milk as Saul ate, and then climb back into bed for an hour or two after he left. Usually, I would not eat again until lunch time. Occasionally, I began to join him in a bowl and made it more palatable to me by adding a spoonful of brown sugar. All that changed about three years ago when I had a routine checkup and discovered that my A1C was highly elevated for the first time in my life. Oatmeal, I eventually discovered, was a good complex carb for diabetics, although not with either sugar, or Craisins. I learned that fresh berries, particularly blueberries, which I love, are very healthy and do not raise the glycemic index. Going without breakfast is also not advisable for diabetics. So, for the last three years, Saul and I, almost every day, eat a bowl of this, with the addition of of handful of frozen mixed berries that we buy at Costco (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) with whatever other fresh berries are in season here in Florida. We add low-fat milk to taste at the table, and he likes a lot more in it than I do, hence, the rather soupy photo. In recent years, for their good taste and health benefits, we also top it with a spoonful of hemp seeds which we also purchase at Costco. A few weeks ago, I began adding a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a half teaspoon of turmeric to my bowl for their superior sugar-lowering properties. While turmeric may seem like an odd choice, I have grown to enjoy that spiciness along with the texture and flavor of my steamed oatmeal. If you try this method of cooking oatmeal, you will have a difficult time ever eating instant oatmeal again.

Steamed Oatmeal with Berries
(Serves 2)
  • water
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned or rolled oats
Healthy Optional Additions: milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, dried fruit or berries, fresh fruit or berries, pomegranate seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg

In a 2- or 3-quart pot fitted with a stainless steel collapsible steamer insert, bring enough water to boil over high heat to just cover the amount of oatmeal you are about to add.

When the water is at a rolling boil, add the oatmeal (and dried fruit or dried berries, if desired) and boil on high heat for two minutes. Turn off heat.

Carefully lift the steamer out of the pot into a bowl that will accommodate it.

Pour off all but about 1/4 cup of the boiling water.

Return the steamer insert with the oatmeal to the pot (top with frozen berries, if desired) and cover the pot.

Let steam for 15 to 20 minutes before serving, adding milk or additional toppings as desired to your bowl.