Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recipe: Carrot Top Oats

For breakfast this morning I created a new variation of my standard oatmeal: Carrot Top Oats.

No, my recipe was not inspired by this Carrot Top.

My recipe was inspired by this creation from my blogging buddy Heather. We share a mutual love for the natural sweetness of sauteed carrots. I suggested adding cinnamon to up the flavor; Heather then raised the ante by topping cooked oatmeal with cinnamon carrots.

While Heather stuck to a more savory version of carrot-topped oats, I decided to put a sweet spin on the recipe, along the lines of this Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Angela. I aimed to combine the best of both recipes: substituting Heather's cooked carrots for Angela's raw. Carrot cake for breakfast, anyone?

Well, okay. It might not quite be carrot cake, but oatmeal with stove-top roasted carrots, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and chopped nuts is the next best thing when you are looking for a way to eat through the thee kilos of carrots you admirably, albeit inaccurately, negotiated for at the market using Nepali Language lesson #5. (Sidenote: need to review lesson #5).

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Carrot Top Oats

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup grated carrots
1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon + 1 pinch salt, divided
1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon raisins
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil. Toss in the grated carrots, along with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until carrots begin to take on a roasted, slightly charred look -- approximately two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Place 1/3 cup rolled oats, 2/3 cup water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Stir. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the oats until they thicken and absorb all the water. Then add 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon raisins, and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup. Stir well and pour the mixture into a bowl.

3. Top the bowl of oats with the cooked carrots and 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut. Add a little drizzle of maple syrup for good measure.

Below, the recipe in photos.

Assemble your ingredients.

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Grating carrots with a food processor's grater attachment is a snap. By hand, it is a little more work.

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The carrots would be delightful cooked in coconut oil. Although we have access to plenty of fresh and dried coconut in Nepal, coconut oil has not yet made it to the supermarket shelves here. I used a mild olive oil instead.

Cooking the carrots over high heat more or less ensures that some of the pieces will slightly burn. I love slightly charred, roasted carrots, but you can cook them less aggressively if you like.

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I don't think there is such a thing as too much cinnamon, so I added one teaspoon to the oats for good measure. I used rolled oats in this version, but steel cut oats, oat bran, or another whole grain (brown rice or buckwheat, for example) would also work well.

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Cook the oats until they have thickened and absorbed the water.

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Then add the mix-ins: chopped walnuts, raisins, and maple syrup (or local Nepali honey, as pictured below; you caught me going un-vegan on this one because maple syrup is currently on short supply in our kitchen).

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Finally, top your bowl of oats with your cooked carrots and shredded coconut.

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Enjoy -- not only the oats, but also the fact that you are getting beta carotene with your breakfast and making a dent in your carrot stash all at once.

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