We go through a lot of oatmeal at Beekman 1802 Farm during the winter. It’s one of the few breakfasts the two of us agree on…mostly. Josh usually likes a sweet breakfast – such as muffins or pancakes. But Brent generally prefers something savory – like last night’s dinner leftovers. Thankfully, oatmeal allows both of us to be happy…we just add different toppings. And we’ve found that when we have overnight guests, they usually like to choose their own toppings as well. We’ll often set out a buffet-style Oatmeal Bar, so that everyone can create their own perfect bowl. And because we make our oatmeal overnight in a slow cooker (see below slideshow for instructions) it’s hot and ready – even for the latest sleepers. (Steel cut oats are required for slow cooker method. Our favorite brand is McCann’s.)
Here are some of our own topping ideas, as well as a few from our Beekman 1802 colleagues:
Josh – the “Traditionalist.” Josh doesn’t think you should mess with tradition. So his add-in ideas are probably most peoples’ childhood favorites.
1. Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup – just a tablespoon.
2. Golden Raisins – Josh is adamant that his raisins are golden, not black. (“Black ones are for oatmeal cookies only,” he insists.)
3. Cinnamon & Nutmeg – sometimes Cardamom if he’s feeling adventurous.
4. Toasted Walnuts, Hazelnuts, or Pecans.
5. Heavy Cream.
Brent – “Southern Savory.” Brent makes his oatmeal like he fixed his corn grits growing up in North Carolina. With salty add-ins. And why not? Like grits, oatmeal is nothing more than a simple grain, and is a great blank canvas for anything. After all, there’s no law declaring all oatmeal has to be sweet.
1. Bacon or Ham
2. Cheese – sharp cheddar or MuBock.
3. Butter, sour cream or creme fraiche with chives. Salt/Pepper to taste.
4. Leftover chicken or turkey, with soy sauce.
5. Leftover steamed vegetables and a little sesame oil.
Megan – “Health Nut.“ Megan, Beekman 1802 COO, makes sure we all get our vitamins at the Mercantile, by bringing in healthy salads and making kale smoothies. So it’s no surprise that she can make oatmeal even healthier than it already is – while still making it taste great.
1. Quinoa – which adds additional protein and vitamins to oatmeal. Just throw some in with the oats as they’re cooking.
2. Seasonal Fresh Fruit – why use dried raisins when you can pack in even more nutrition with fresh fruit. In the fall & winter use bananas, kiwi, pear, apple, dates or figs. During spring & summer try peaches, blueberries, strawberries or currants.
3. Freshly Grated Ginger & Unsweetened Coconut Flakes.
4. Ground Flax Seed – adds mega-3 fatty acids and lignans (plant estrogen & antioxidant qualities.)
5. Raw (not roasted)Walnuts, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds
Maria & Pete – “Sweet Tooths.” Husband & wife Beekman 1802 team Maria & Pete think dessert is the most important meal of the day. So if you can turn breakfast into dessert, why not?
1. Chocolate Chips – there aren’t many things adding chocolate chips to doesn’t help.
2. Red Hots – cinnamon AND sugar all in one.
3. Marshmallows – when the oatmeal is piping hot, the marshmallows melt right in.
4. Crumbled Graham Crackers or Oreos.
5. Caramel or Hot Fudge Sauce.
Let us know your favorite toppings in the comment section below the slide show.