Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Natural Red Velvet Baked Oatmeal {a celebratory post}


Cake is peculiar. I say this because, to me, ‘cake’ is more of an idea than a thing. From unadorned vanilla, to the fruitcake you originally hated but have secretly learned to savor over the years of gifting grandmothers, to pearly tiers laced with flowers and crowned with figures of the lovely wedding couple, to chocolate cakes laden with frosting so thick that you might be better off with a tall glass of milk, to rich chocolate hidden inside oxblood flesh and slathered with divine waves of pure white frosting (like the 'cake' you see here), to spray-painted fairy princess sheet cakes with cloying fillings that only the new-turned six year old it was made for could enjoy. I could go on, but the heart of it is that no matter the artist or masterpiece, all are composed around the same concept. And in this indisputable fact, I find the ultimate comfort.

Rather than the veneers of frosting that are either smoothed or slapped on top, or the flavor lying underneath, I have found that what truly ‘makes the cake,’ is less of the what and more of the why; the thought behind the frills, the reason for creation. Today’s reason for indulgence is celebration.



The first post on Oatgasm was Banana Bread Oatmeal with Maple Nutmeg Swirl (I'm almost ashamed to give you the link). My first camera was only 4 days out of the packaging, and my ambitions were just as fresh. Today, as I (we) celebrate Oatgasms’ 100th post, I’m humbled at the amount of change that has occurred both on the lens, and in the girl behind it.



For the past 10 months, I’ve documented my breakfasts on this blog, through pictures, writing, memories, and, most importantly, recipes. The inevitable game of browsing through past posts never fails to swell me up with emotion, as I remember things otherwise forgotten. I’m often elusive to myself; seeing without seeing, breathing without being. But in these 100 posts, I see myself with lucid clarity; in every bowl of oatmeal, in Cosette, in every berry, in the faces of the spoons and plates, in every memory uncovered. In the posts, live the  bittersweet, true-to-the-core salts and grime of who I am.



As I look back, I am reminded of what I am constantly telling those who scoff at the mention of my blog. Oatgasm? Oatmeal? Are you crazy? Yes; I am. I’m crazy in love. Not with oatmeal, but the discovery of each morning.



Of course, not every morning has been peaches and cream. There’s been more rain than shine, and waking up to smell the coffee is often more bitter than sweet. Recipes have failed, and I’ve had to dump more oatmeal in the bin than I’d care to admit. And while it might sound cliché, my sole motivation in keeping up with it all has been you. The tender support that I feel in each comment, pageview, and e-mail forms into a blossom. My veins are their vines; pulsing, thriving, pushing through the soil and toil of every day.  As I create recipe after recipe, and strive to make something beautiful, your overwhelming feedback mushrooms into something equally as beautiful inside of me. And, whether you’re aware or not, you are the gardeners of this weed-ridden, worm-holed, creepy-crawly, vermin infested heart. Slowly, I come into flower. Each recipe plants a new seed, and each word unearths something new. I’m digging deep into this garden; dirtying my hands. Thank you for helping me with this process. Thank you.



This little cake is not just one of celebration, but gratitude; a creation of thanks from the deepest roots of my heart. While we can’t necessarily faire la fete, or eat oatmeal-cakes in gathering, I can share the recipe with you. Just as I have time and time again in the past 100 posts. Just as I plan to do in the next 100, and beyond. Enjoy, my gardeners, readers, creators, bakers, passerby-ers, and friends. As always- enjoy.



One of my earlier posts Red Velvet Baked Oatmeal. I was proud at its’ success, but ever since posting the recipe, I’ve wanted to recreate a natural, vegan version that could present some competition. As I said, I’m often forced to throw away my kitchen endeavors; barely able to muster a miserable, pitiful look before tossing it in the trash, much less choke it down. I was terrified that today would be of such days. Beets are new territory for me, even with my rabbit-like eating habits, and tendency to scarf greens just as much as oats. While untried and untested, these beets were downright gorgeous, and even before peeling off their cracked, wine tainted skins, I was smitten with this new vegetable.



Dropping dusty scoops of cocoa into the cherry-pink beet puree almost seemed offensive to the beets, but what came of it was not at all disappointing. Like a true red velvet, this oatmeal tastes of chocolate; the rich, downy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate that usually comes with sticks of butter and ladels of sugar. But instead, the beets stand in to provide that supple, tongue-clucking moisture. They’re presence is almost nonexistent; most noticeable in the dark crimson of the oats. I’ll admit, there is a slight beet flavor, but don’t allow that small off-put stop you. The taste is barely tangible, and what you can taste of it is good. Unlike average chocolate oatmeal, this recipe tastes homemade and true; a bit on the rustic side, like the sweetened grains and roots of the earth. Combined with chocolate and wrapped up in oats, the end result is, in my opinion, better than the original recipe, and definitely worthy of a meal, celebratory or not.

Note: The 'frosting' I used is hardly a frosting, much less a recipe. I swirled a bit of syrup into the folds of Greek yogurt. Feel free to use whatever you would like. Red velvet has never bickered with a thick wave of cream cheese, and I'm sure a good splash of milk would do just as fine. Or, leave it unadorned. The moisture already in the chocolate-rich oats is surely enough.



Ingredients

  • ½ cup oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp. regular cocoa powder (dark cocoa will affect the color)
  • ¼. tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
  • ¼ cup beet puree (homemade or canned)
  • ¼ cup milk of choice (may need a tad more)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a ramekin or oven-safe dish by lightly spraying/greasing the sides.

In a bowl, combine the oats, salt, baking powder, and cocoa. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and stir so that you have an even, vibrant blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir them together.

If the mixture is too thick and not combining well, add in 1 or 2 more tablespoons of milk. The result should be batter-like; wet but not sopping. The color will be a murky red. Transfer to the prepared dish, and bake for about 20 minutes. When done, the top will be lightly tinged and fragrant of chocolate.

Let cool, spoon on any toppings, and enjoy.

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations! You are such a gifted writer, and the recipes I have tried of yours have all been delicious. Good luck on the future of your blog... I can't wait to taste whatever you come up with next!

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    1. Thank you, Lyndsey! This means so much to me. It's people like you who keep the blog going. I can't wait to share with you in the future, and hopefully hear from you again.

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  2. Well done Meghan. Cheers to the many more beautiful recipes your heart and soul will create in the coming days. Your words are beautiful, your photos are story telling and your oatmeal is delicious. This all comes from that "weed-ridden, worm-holed, creepy-crawly, vermin infested heart" and from my eyes, thats a beautiful thing. Be well Megahn.......

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    1. Through the past 100 posts, you've remained as a steady support to both me and the blog. Your comments are always beautiful and touching, and never fail to leave me smiling. You, along with the rest of my readers, are the reason I continue to create. Thank you for all of this, Dan. Cheers to you as well, and I wish you the best.

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  3. Congrats on your 100th blog. Your mastery of the pen as well as the shutter are only outdone by the scrumptiousness of your recipes. Well Done!!!!!!!

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    1. This is lovely, thank you so much. I love the whimsical way you phrased this compliment. Thank you!

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