Starting last fall I began crafting season breakfasts, more specifically oatmeals. In fall there was a Quinoa Oatmeal with Persimmons and Pears and in winter there was Teff Oatmeal with Chocolate, Chestnuts, and Winter Fruits. With winter wrapping up this month (for seasonal cooking I use a 4 quarter calendar rather than the “official” start and end of seasons) I just put together out last back of the teff oatmeal. This got me to thinking, what’s next?
When I think of spring a few things come to mind. First of which is Passover. This gives me thoughts of lamb and dates. Then I think of spring blooms and the berries which quickly arrive. So, now I have thoughts as to the flavor profile I am going to work with. No, I am not putting lamb in my oatmeal but what I am going to try might be just as weird or it might be amazing.
Thinking of Jewish cuisine I got hinting about Kamut. This is an old world grain that is suspected to be one of the original grains. I use the flour form in my challah and I love the notes it adds to the bread. So my base is going to be Kamut and Steel-cut Oatmeal. Normally, I add dried fruits to my oatmeals. I love the texture it adds. My first swing at this breakfast will be strawberries. I am even thinking of dehydrating my own. So far so good. At this point I start thinking about spices. Spring fruits can be a tricky thing to come up with a spice pairing. Not sure what to do I turned to The Spice Companion by Lior Lev Sercarz. This is a book that needs to be in every kitchen right along side The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Just meaning that every kitchen should have a few basic reference cookbooks and this should be among them.
I opened the book to the index and looked up strawberries. I didn’t even know if there would be anything. To my surprise there was! Interestingly a common direction for a spice pairing with strawberry were various peppers but that wasn’t what I was thinking of…then I saw it. Hibiscus Blossom. Yup, you heard me right. Now, I know this is more of a summer flower but looking to bring a floral note into my breakfast intrigued me. This said spring in my head. Think of the earthiness of oats, the butteriness of kamut, the sweetness of strawberries, and then add in something floral and this could be magic! Then again it might be gross. Having had Hibiscus Iced Teas before I new the flavor can work well with sweet pairings so I read on.
What I love about this book beyond it’s beautiful illustrations and layout is he talks to you about the flavor, origin, harvest season, recipe ideas, and traditional uses. What you need to know about Lior Lev Sercarz is he is incredibly well known and sought after in the culinary world for his custom spice blends and in his book he offers one for each spice. For the hibiscus flower he makes a blend called Rose Mallow.
This blend is a combination of hibiscus flowers, ground galangal, star anise, and cayenne powder. Along with this blend he recommend sprinkling this into a chilled strawberry soup for a dessert. So I am going to take a leap of faith and try this. I think it’s actually going to be amazing and not your every day oatmeal. Once we give it a whirl you can be sure I will be posting about it.