When I think of oatmeal breakfast is the first thing that comes to mind, and second is oatmeal cookies. I learned that oatmeal can be made into dishes can be eaten any time of the day.
On behalf of Urbanspoon, I met up with Chef Samantha Stephens, owner of OatMeals NYC, a business that highlights oatmeal in all of its creations – from sweet to savory. On a gorgeous summer afternoon, we chatted and shopped at the Greenmarket in Union Square. At the market, we purchased ingredients that would be used to prepare some of Sam’s oatmeal creations – Roxbury Mountain Maple Syrup, Just Raw Honey (Callicoon, NY), fresh milk, eggs, mint, and multi-colored carrots.
As we walked back to Sam’s restaurant, we chatted about how the concept of an oatmeal shop came about. It all started when she moved to NYC from Virginia to attend college at Baruch. With all the great food NYC has to offer, and the weight gain that comes along with college (a la “freshman 15”), oatmeal became her staple as she switched to a healthier lifestyle. After she graduated college, she worked in investment banking then later attended the French Culinary Institute and perfected cooking oatmeal with different ingredients.
So what’s Sam’s favorite creation? Truffle Oatmeal RisOATto made with shaved Parmesan, truffle oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. As she described it, my mouth watered.
Sam opened my eyes to the different possibilities of cooking with oatmeal, and most importantly, following your passion. Her passion is oatmeal. Not only has she built a business around oatmeal, she has also become Quaker Oatmeal’s Creative Oatmeal Officer.
After shopping at the Greenmarket, Sam and I headed back to OatMeals in Greenwich Village to cook some lunch and dessert. As she gathered the ingredients, I checked out the goodies she had on display at the counter – cookies, muffins, granola bars – all made out of Quaker oatmeal. Also at the counter are a variety of toppings customers can choose from to create their own oatmeal bowls.
In the Kitchen with Sam
We prepared Moroccan Spiced Cold Oat & Carrot Salad with Fresh Apricot Dressing and delicious Orchard Peach, Cherry and Vanilla Crème Fraîche Baked Oatmeal Cups.
The Moroccan Spiced Cold Oat & Carrot Salad with Fresh Apricot Dressing is an easy dish to prepare, and is delicious to serve alone or with some protein.
As Sam prepared the dish, I picked up a few tips:
Tidbit 1: the darker the vegetable the sweeter it is. Purple carrots are sweeter than orange or white carrots.
Tidbit 2: cold oatmeal tastes even better the next day. Think of how a stew tastes better the next day. The oatmeal will absorb the flavors of the dish.
The Orchard Peach, Cherry and Vanilla Crème Fraîche Baked Oatmeal Cups are another simple treat to make. It could be served for breakfast, snack, or even dessert. I could also see myself packing this up and giving some as gift treats to my foodie friends. The aroma is wonderful when it comes out of the oven.
The recipe starts out with combining dry ingredients (oats, cherries, and peaches) and wet ingredients (milk, egg, maple syrup, honey, butter) in a bowl. They’re then scooped into muffin cups and topped vanilla Crème Fraîche, oatmeal, slices of fruits, and turbinado sugar. They’re baked for about 20 minutes and served.
As we wrapped up I asked Sam if an oatmeal cookbook was on the way. Not yet, but you can check out oatmealchefsam.com for her recipes. Sam was kind enough to share her recipes with my readers. Download these cards and try them yourself. Let us know how your creations came out.
If you are in the area, stop by OatMeals for a filling, healthy meal.
120 West Third Street (Between MacDougal & Sixth Avenue)
New York, NY 10012