Tag Archives: Marion Cunningham

True Gruel

30 Oct

20130913-031807.jpg

It was my lil’ blogmuffin’s birthday. And I decided that in its honor, it was about dang time I made gruel for Gruel.

I searched around for actual gruel recipes. Apparently there is a delicious rice porridge dish (Korean maybe?) called congee that is sometimes referred to as gruel. I also found a broth-y sort of recipe for gruel in one of my favorite cookbooks, “The Breakfast Book”, by Marion Cunningham.

I was told by a friend that the rice porridge dish was great. But I wanted something with the original name of “gruel”.

I also wanted an excuse to open a bottle of wine.

Not that I need an excuse, per se, but like a sweater carried around just-in-case, it’s nice to have one.

Sorry for that metaphor. It was stupid, but too true for me to leave out.

I originally wanted the term “gruel” for this blog because a lot of food that doesn’t look good (like gruel), still tastes amazing. That is the “scrumptious” part. I’ve gotten a bit better at making my food somewhat prettier, I guess. But I still like to think of this blog in “gruel” terms. It’s rough, and ready. It is strong. It is here to nourish you. And me. Duh. Blogs are the most narcissistic invention there is.

I love my blog.

I also enjoy the Oxford comma, incidentally.

Marion’s gruel recipe is not too specific. Most elements it tells to you can add if you like. When it comes to wine, butter, and sugar, I always like.

This was actually quite good. Comforting as Marion promised. I was surprised.

I’m giving you a recipe for what I made but feel free to adapt “as you like”. And you will.

Happy birthday gruel!

Gruel interpreted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
2 Tbsp. oatmeal
1 cup H2O
1/2 tsp. butter
Pinch if sugar
1 Tbsp. white wine (I used a dry Riesling)
Dash nutmeg
Soak oats in water for 20 minutes then strain the liquid into a small pan. Bring to a simmer and add everything else. Yay gruel! Pour a glass of wine and light a candle. Party time. Excellent.

It’s art! OR For the love of soggy bread: Milk toast, part deux

16 Jan

20130112-185308.jpg
I tried to be artistic with my milk toast picture, but any which way you shake a stick of butter at it, it ain’t pretty:

20121209-020650.jpg
Although a stick of butter by itself is a beautiful thing, when it is headed towards your mouth.

The imagery that just came to my mind was terrible. Please forgive my dirty filthy mind. Move along, nothing to see here.

Ah, milk toast.

According to my wordpress stats, it is an oft-searched term that leads people to the gruel. I jest not, it is! I delved into milk toast some time ago here.
It was oh so simple, and surprisingly good.

I teased y’all with the mention of an oven-cooked version.

Oooh, teasing with the milk toast. Teasers. Milk toast. Things that don’t go together. Sticks of butter going towards people’s mouths.

Geez, what the hell is wrong with me. As I SAID nothing to see here move along!

I must say, the oven-baked version had it’s merits…but was not so delightful to me as the stove-top version.

Make milk toast the stove-top way whilst it is chilly out.

As you dine you may think to yourself: milk toast, it’s not just for breakfast any more.
Or maybe: milk toast, it’s a way of life.
Or even: milk toast? Priceless.
Or some other cliche.
You WILL think these things.
Provided you like soggy toast.
Which you should.

But why should you take my word for it when I torture you with sexual butter imagery?

Try it for yourself and see.

And just in case you don’t feel like clicking over to my preferred milk toast style, here’s the oven-baked:

Milk Toast (oven version) adapted from Marion Cunningham’s brilliant The Breakfast Book

2 pieces of buttered bread
2/3 c. Almond milk
Sugar
Turn yer oven to 350. Line a small loaf pan with nonstick foil and spray with nonstick spray, or butter. Just say yes. Put buttered bread in. Fold excess foil over to create a cover for your dish unless the pan you are using came with a cover in which case save the world and use that. Although you are going to recycle your used aluminum foil anyway, yah?
Bake this about 30 minutes. Slide into a plate and if you are feeling it add a sprinkle if sugar. Rarely am I not feeling it particularly after an evening that involved imbibing a sazerac. For the love of absinthe.
Now rinse that foil. Because you are going to recycle it. This is your chance to redeem yourself! And an aluminum can.

Tomato toast

24 Oct

20121008-010517.jpg
I cannot say much more than that this is not a recipe you should put off making. And don’t leave out any of the required elements. This toast is delicious in flavor but rises to new heights by the interplay of contrasting yet complementary textures.

My, that was a lot.

La di da.

I really am a snob. It’s true. I listen to Bach and act in Shakespeare plays and read big books n stuff.

But I was talking about texture. The crunch of the toasted crumbs, the crisp bread becoming tender (and if you are me PURPOSELY soggy) bread. Lilts of butter.
Optional: nutritional yeast
You can sprinkle it on, just for cheezy vegan kicks.

Although I doubt Marion Cunningham was big on the nooch.

But if you are vegan use vegan margerine for butter and if you are gluten intolerant use gluten-free bread.

Tomato Toast from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

1 c. Skinned chopped tomato
6 Tbsp. fresh bread crumbs
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1/8 tsp. dried sage
Freshly ground salt and pepper
2 pieces toast
Melt a bit of butter over medium heat, brown bread crumbs whilst stirring. Set aside and stir in sage.
Melt some more butter, stir in tomato. Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring til it is fairly dry and spreadable as a whore’s legs. Don’t spread those. Spread on buttered toast.

Milk. Toast.

31 Mar

20110331-025946.jpg

This was the perfect example of how simple is better. Milk toast. From Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. If you don’t own this book you should correct the errors of your ways. Both the prose and the recipes almost make me want to be a breakfast eater. Almost. Naturally I had milk toast for dinner. She gives variations both for oven and stove-top versions. This time round I did the stove-top version. You toast bread, bring milk to a simmer then take it off the heat, stir in some butter and optional sugar and nutmeg. I opted for some stevia. I also used some smart balance instead of butter. This is poured over toast, covered and allowed to sit for five minutes. Take the cover off and it’s just magical: your toast is about 3 times larger. And soooo delicious. This goes next to oatmeal in the simplicity is perfection category. Now go have some milk toast for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, midnight snack…