Amateur cooks need recipes I get it. Especially since most can’t even make toast or boil water.
What I’ve come to realize though is that even people who consider themselves experienced in the kitchen are still prone to disaster-related anxiety. These are the kind of people who would never consider cooking without a tried and true recipe and who dirty every measuring cup, spoon, and glass that they own to cook just one meal. These people hate the thought of wasting even an ounce of food to the garbage and so avoid the possibility by following recipes that are proven to turn out. I am one of these people.
Today however I think I finally considered myself a confident cook. I made a delicious batch of fluffy muffins without so much as a measuring cup. I figure this is a crucial part of being a blogger. Experimentation is downright exciting and opens the doors of possibility. This of course applies not only to cooking but to all aspects of life. True sometimes its better to “play it safe”, but the more often you exercise creativity and self-confidence the more you begin to realize your full autonomous potential and develop as an individual.
My favorite chefs, David Rocco and Michael Smith, both strongly emphasize cooking without a recipe. If you pick up David’s book “La Dolce Vita” or watch Michael’s show “Chef at Home” you’ll know what I’m talking about. Instead of actual quantities, David says quanto basta which roughly translates to “as much as you need” and Michael is known to make up delicious (and random) recipes on the spot. I really love this confident approach to cooking that moves away from the OCD recipe-bible mentality.
Today was declared a snow day for most towns across the province and I’m guessing for many of the upper U.S states too. It started snowing early this morning and still has not stopped, amounting to more than a couple of feet of snow. Thank goodness because I did NOT finish my homework yesterday. I’m not one to pass up a rest day and wasted no time in starting to bake. I made some fresh coconut milk this morning and wanted to make muffins that had oats in them. My dad hates oatmeal but says he needs to eat it because it will lower his cholesterol.
I tried making him some regular oatmeal soaked overnight in yogurt and sweetened with a ripe banana, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and butter but as soon as he saw it had banana he wouldn’t eat it. He said he just wants to eat the store bought instant packets of oatmeal that he knows I used to buy.
Now, The Weston A. Price Foundation has emphasized the cruelty to grains in the making of breakfast cereals as intense. Slurries of grain are forced through tiny holes at high temperatures and pressures in giant extruders, a process that destroys nutrients and turns the proteins in grains toxic. Westerners pay a lot for expensive breakfast cereals that snap, crackle and pop, including the rising toll of poor health.
Hence the reason that I want to veer my dad away from the Cheerios. So I’ve begun racking my brains for ways to get him to eat oats in healthy ways he would actually like, such as bread and muffins. Heck I even created a pinterest board just for the occasion. So
far I’ve considered making crock-pot steel cut oats and baked oatmeal but if you have any other suggestions to get picky eaters to eat oatmeal please comment below. Please.
Now if you’re fairly new to real food you might be unaware that all whole grains must be soaked before eating to deactivate enzyme inhibitors in the outer hull or bran of the grain. I touched on this in my sourdough post a while back but essentially unsoaked whole grains are supremely hard for the body to digest and many times result in nutrient deficiencies because they combine with minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and prevent their absorption in the intestinal tract. You can read this article for more details.
Oats actually require a soaking time of 24 hours in an acidic medium to fully neutralize anti-nutrients. The ratio is usually 1 tbsp of acidic medium per cup of raw grain. For oats I prefer to use yogurt although you can use lemon juice if you don’t mind the taste. Sarah has a fantastic video detailing the entire process. If you are skeptical as to the whole anti-nutrient business like I was when I first started on my real food journey, try eating soaked oatmeal one day and you’ll find that it’ll stay with you for much longer than usual.
So back to those muffins.
I started following Katy’s recipe for Coconut Oatmeal Berry Breakfast Muffins, which, other than oats, had no grains. They were just what I was looking for…but my creative side took over and what resulted could not even be called the third cousin twice removed of the original recipe.
First of all, I didn’t want to waste the oatmeal I had already made my dad in the morning; I also wanted to incorporate soaked oatmeal into the muffins not just raw, hard-to-digest oats.
So I pulled this and that, added a pinch of this and a pinch of that, whipped, mixed, folded, baked….got excited when they rose….got a bit disappointed when they fell….tried them….and fell in love. So am I going to share the recipe? Should I?
I’d rather tell you what I did so that you’ll be inspired to let go of your recipe-bible ways too.
I creamed some virgin coconut oil with coconut palm sugar, added ¼ tsp of each sea salt and cinnamon, 3 eggs, the juice of one orange, 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, some dried almond pulp until I got a thick batter, baking soda, and some raw granola I had lying around. I thought the batter was a bit thin as I put it in the tins so I’ll probably add a bit more dried almond pulp next time. Maybe a handful or so until it looks good. Vanilla would also be good.
See? Its easy and fun to experiment. I’m not saying things will always turn out, but when they do they’ll be more than worth all the flops.