Best Oatmeal Ever

MAKES 2 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 5 minutes (after soaking the oats overnight) • COOK TIME: 15 minutes

Ever notice how the consistency of most oatmeal falls somewhere between wall plaster and grout? As a result, we often resort to the culinary equivalent of wallpapering, covering up the abomination with butter and brown sugar. This is sooooo unnecessary, because oatmeal just needs a little love to deliver a heartwarming, nutritious meal. The best oatmeal recipe is akin to a two-part harmony, pairing solid prep with inspiring spices to yield a joyous anytime song. Part of the trick is to soak the oats overnight. Top this with fruit compote or nuts, and you’ll never again be tempted to use oatmeal as an all-purpose adhesive.

1 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger,or 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk (optional)
Chopped toasted almonds or walnuts, for garnish (optional)
Blueberry Compote (page 185) for garnish (optional)

Place the oats in a pan or bowl with the lemon juice and water to cover and soak overnight.

Drain the oats in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Combine the oats, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, lower the heat, and stir in the dried fruit, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. The oatmeal will become very creamy as the water evaporates. For less-moist oatmeal, leave the lid off for the last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking. Stir in the maple syrup and milk (if using) and serve garnished with toasted nuts or a dollop of compote if you like.

COOK'S NOTE: Our ancestors had it right. Before they cooked their oatmeal, they soaked it overnight in a bowl of water and lemon juice. Why lemon juice? Because its acids help break down the outer shell of the oats. This makes their nutrients more available and also gives them a creamier texture. For the best taste and nutrition, go with organic rolled oats or organic steel-cut oats, which are popular in Ireland and Scotland.  For extra calories, add a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil or nut butter.

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009, 2017 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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