I've always been a big believer in the phrase "everything in moderation." So in our home, we don't really limit our diets to one category. On the average night, however, you can finds us whipping up a vegetarian or vegan meal because they tend to be easy and make our bodies feel vibrant and healthy. We still enjoy our weekly libations, and the occasional summer barbecue fare. But through exploration, and the elimination diet, we try to bring a sense of consciousness to the way we eat in order to make ourselves operate well.
One of the most interesting parts of our cooking journey as a couple has been exploring the realm of just how much you can do with good produce, hearty grains, and a little bit of seasoning. This weekend's Sunday brunch was a great example of that exact kitchen manifesto: a warm bowl of steel cut oats topped with grilled stone fruits and banana cashew cream.
I first wandered into the world of steel cut oats a few years ago when my parents began making them regularly, and my father reported the emergence of his abs, which seemed as good a reason as any to add it to the repertoire. They take a little bit longer than your average oat to cook, but that's because they're more whole and less processed, meaning they tend to keep you satiated for a longer period of time. This is a trade-off I'm willing to make.
Slow cooking oats gives you time to come up with a whole slew of delicious toppings. Because it's stone fruit season, I chose to sprinkle apricots and plums with Celtic sea salt and grill them up alongside fresh figs on my cast iron skillet, which renders the flesh succulent and decadent. I then whipped up a batch of cashew cream mixed with bananas, which is so painfully easy that the end result leaves you wondering why you don't always have a jar full of this stuff handy.
The end result is a comforting and nutritious bowl, drizzled with flaxseed oil and sprinkled with hemp seeds for an extra Omega boost. It was a great way to plant-power a day spent at the beach, and kept us nice and full until an al fresco lobster roll beckoned in the late afternoon.
Steel Cut Oats with Grilled Stone Fruit & Banana Cashew Cream
(Serves two, generously)
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon sea salt (we use Celtic sea salt)
Seasonal fruit (I chose apricots, plums, and figs)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
For cashew cream:
- Measure 1 cup of cashews and place them in a bowl. Boil water and pour over cashews so that they're completely submerged. Let sit for 1-2 hours, covered.
- Drain and rinse cashews and place in food processor. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup and 1/8 cup of filtered water and blend until smooth.
- Add more water as needed to achieve your desired consistency (I like my cashew cream on the thicker more creamy side for this dish).
- Add banana and give one final whirl in the processor until mixture is combined and whipped.
For steel cut oats:
- Measure 1 cup of steel cut oats and place them in a large saucepot. Cover them with 3 cups of filtered water.
- Cook over low to medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Oats should be creamy, so if they appear dry, add 1/2 cup more water and cook for another 10 minutes.
For grilled fruit:
- Set grill or cast iron grill pan to a low-medium heat.
- Halve each piece of fruit, and sprinkle with remaining sea salt. Place fruit flesh side down on grill for 3-5 minutes, and flip when grill marks have appeared.
- Grill for another 3-5 minutes and remove, letting fruit cool on a plate.
To assemble bowls, add cooked oats first, top with the fruit, and scoop in cashew cream. Drizzle with flaxseed oil, top with hemp seeds, and enjoy!