town and country
Before I begin today’s post, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to those following my blog. Welcome to the world of coffee and woodsmoke. I appreciate your support and hope you enjoy your stay on these pages!
The local grocery store here is called “Town & Country.” I reckon for many visitors even the town seems pretty country, but when you take the time to drive just a half an hour out–maybe not even that far–the difference makes itself known.
Time slows down and space opens up. The sky yawns bigger, the mountains stand taller. More solid. They settle into your bones and become, somehow, the fiber of your being. The clouds stretch taut, a quilted web of cotton batting, rent now and again to reveal glimpses of blue. Cottonwood trees edged in gold release their gilt to autumn breezes; leaves lift into the sky and flutter down like so much glitter, collecting at the base of split rail fences and along dirt roads, rustling and rattling, swirling alongside truck tires and horses’ hooves.
Massive cylindrical hay bales lie scattered about fields newly shorn, expanses of bleached blond stubble extending near to the horizon. Horses graze and lift their heads to watch you pass by with dark eyes, seeming to know much more about where you’re going than you do.
When autumn mornings turn cool and crisp and daybreak takes its time, cozy breakfasts re-emerge from summer hibernation. This figgy porridge is simple and one of my favorite ways to start the day. It was actually one of the first recipes I intended to put on the blog, but I got distracted with others so it is just now making its appearance. The recipe is easy and straightforward and can be made with dry staples often kept on hand. The dried figs provide sweetness and earthiness, and the cinnamon warmth and spice. It nourishes you from the inside out. The recipe below is for one serving. Simply double, triple, etc. the recipe to make a bigger batch. I hope you enjoy it!
Figgy Porridge (Serves 1)
1/2 C rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking) 2 dried figs, stemmed and roughly chopped 1/2 t cinnamon powder 1 C cold water (plus more as needed) splash of milk (dairy or non) or heavy cream optional toppings: fresh figs, more dried figs, maple syrup, and/or brown sugar
Place the oats, dried figs, cinnamon, and 1 cup water into a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the porridge begins to thicken and dry out, add additional cold water, a tablespoon or two at a time, to make sure the porridge stays easily stirrable and has a little bit of liquid visible between the rolled oats throughout the cooking process.
After 8 minutes, add a splash of milk or cream. Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Pour the porridge into a bowl and add toppings to suit your taste. The dried figs and cinnamon bring a sweetness to the porridge, so add any additional sweetener a little bit at a time.
Recipe notes: The key to creamy porridge is threefold: first, bringing the oats and water to a boil together (NOT boiling the water first as package instructions often state); second, making sure the porridge absorbs enough liquid (this is why continually adding water is important! If you accidentally add too much, just cook the porridge for a few extra minutes and it will either absorb or evaporate out. You can adjust the overall liquid content to your preference.); and third, adding a splash of milk or cream near the end of cooking. If you do all these things, you will enjoy the creamiest, dreamiest bowl of porridge!