Pomegranate + Pumpkin Hot Cereal

January 23, 2013

Those of you that have been to Japan know that there is literally a vending machine on every corner, selling something. Cigarettes, beer, live crabs (I’m serious,) fresh eggs, and beverages of all types of course. In the summer, you could get the iciest green tea (or Calpico) even in corner of the most remote sugar cane field. My favorite day of the year when we lived in Okinawa was that on which the summer winds would become brisk, the sun would hide behind clouds in the afternoon, the ocean would chameleon from translucent green to churn an abysmal grey-blue and the evening would arrive with a chill in the air. In the morning, we would wake up and all of the vending machines would have gone from dispensing amazing cold drinks would have hot drinks in their place – coffee, tea, hot chocolate. As if the Vending Machine Santa had swooped down with his beverage sled and delivered winter, and all that comes with it, to the island. 

I’m a bit the same way when it comes to breakfast – when that first chill arrives in the fall, something clicks over in me and all I can think of when I think of breakfast is something warm and comforting. I’ve been dabbling in hot cereal combinations for quite a few months now – tossing in different fresh and dried fruits, trying exotic spices, crunchy components and savory versions (hot cereal cooked in brewed chamomile is quite good, btw.) This particular combination has been getting many sidelong glances and inquisitive finger points lately (usually as my colleagues are emptying those mundane little paper oatmeal packets into their bowls) and so I figured I should share it here. 

I usually pack my breakfast the night before and then make it once I get into the office. Admittedly, I don’t love my cereal to be super sweet (sometimes I give a little swirl in a dab of ohia lehua honey) nor to swim in milk – if I use any at all, its just a splash of almond milk here or there. This said,  I also don’t like it to be cement which is how the idea to mix something creamy, but healthy, in came to be. Since I’ve been roasting an entire pumpkin with a bit of butter and nutmeg and use it in recipes for the week (more to come), I steal little dollops to go in my cereal. Once the grains and fruits are cooked, I stir the pumpkin in with fresh pomegranate seeds. This makes for a tart, tangy, and gently sweet concoction made so by the juice of the apples and raisins and I really like it that way. I hope you do too.

For those of you that are preparing breakfast for one and have no qualms about whipping up breakfast in the microwave, you may like my quick method. And, for those stove folks (or folks with a few breakfast eaters) you will spend very little additional time. I’ll be curious to hear what you all think of this little concoction. I’ve been really enjoying the combination for the past few months which means, spring much be on the way and more breakfast inspiration is likely on the horizon…

**Photography note: the images for this post were a good experiment with my GoPro camera, that has been traveling with me during the day. It’s quite used to more exciting assignments than oatmeal but, we’re working on it. 🙂 On the go breakfast literally shot on the go.

**Recipe note: This is the type of recipe that I absolutely suggest playing with – before the pumpkin, I was stirring a good spoonful of greek yogurt into the mix and that was delicious; to that I would add little chunks of pears, dates, and roasted almonds. The magic combo for me seems to be a shortlist of the following somethings: tart, sweet, crunchy, luxe, crisp and nutty. One of each something gets tossed into the bowl and if something is more than one of those above, excellent. And, I try to be sure that there’s some protein in there (hence the quinoa, toasted nuts, etc.)

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