We had some celery in the fridge that is nearing the end of its useful life, so for breakfast this morning I decided to try something I had seen awhile ago in a blog entry from Mark Bittman.  It’s a savory oatmeal cooked with celery, and flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil.  You might (not unreasonably) think that sounds gross, but don’t knock it until you try it!  I liked it quite a bit.  Celery actually has more flavor than people realize, especially when cooked in something that allows its flavor to seep out into the dish.  It’s in fact part of the “holy trinity” of French cuisine (celery, carrots, and onions; or celery, bell peppers and onions in Cajun cooking)–used to provide a flavor base for myriad foods.  I thought the combination of the crunchy celery and creamy oatmeal was really nice (and it felt good to be eating vegetables for breakfast :)).

I’ll post the recipe below as I made it this morning (with some twists on the description from Mark Bittman), but I’ll probably change a few things next time.  First, I’d use more vegetables–I think green onions, and a handful of frozen sweet peas would be nice.  Some little pieces of ham might be nice, too.  Second, I’d like to try using different grains as well.  I think bulgur wheat would be good, or wheat berries (pre-cooked, unless you want to get up 2 hours early to start breakfast), or of course brown rice.  Third, I’ll make a little smaller portion, and top it with an over-easy egg.  Awesome.

Savory Oatmeal with Celery (this makes one man-sized portion, scale as desired):

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (I used a 7-grain oatmeal blend)
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped (I used about 1.5 stalks, but will use more next time)
  • 2-3 baby carrots, grated
  • 1 cup water
  • Healthy pinch of salt
  • ~1/4 tsp  sesame oil
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Ground ginger to taste

Stir the oats, water, vegetables and salt together in small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to just enough to maintain a simmer and cook uncovered, for about 5 min, stirring occasionally.  Then stir in some grated ginger, the sesame oil, and soy sauce, plus a couple shakes of Tabasco if desired for an extra kick.  Sesame oil is strong, so go easy with it, but oatmeal can absorb a lot of flavor, so I kept adding more soy sauce after tasting.  Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit for another 5 min or so.  This would be a good time to fry an egg to top this with.  Enjoy!