Food For Thought — January 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

January is National Oatmeal Month (and It’s Better Than You Think)

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calle-dao

January has the contradictory effect of making you want to comfort-eat and detox at the same time. So it’s little wonder it’s been dubbed National Oatmeal Month, after the familiar food that’s healthy and warming.

But if 31 days of porridge has you dreaming of last month’s cheese plates and pumpkin pie, don’t despair. Head to Calle Dao, the midtown Cuban-Chinese fusion restaurant, where Chef Humberto Guallpa is preparing the grain in three mouth-pleasing ways.

Stop by for brunch to partake in the Five Spice Oatmeal with antioxidant goji berries and shiso leaves ($10) or the Oatmeal Pancakes with Roasted Hubbard Squash, Soy Curds and Ginger-Maple Syrup ($10 or recipe below). Each warming in different ways—the oatmeal sticks to your ribs, while the pancakes show off the spicy zest of ginger—and each incredibly sophisticated for an oat dish.

BlackAngusSteakFriedRiceOatmeal

If you’re hungry for more, go back for dinner and tuck into the Hoisin-Cilantro Black Angus Strip Steak on a bed of fried-rice style oatmeal with butternut squash, Romanesco cauliflower and avocado-ginger salsa ($32). The steak is flavorful and the bed of oatmeal will make you never look at the grain the same way again.

Even if you’re not craving oatmeal, Calle Dao is a fun and tasty option for a pre-theater dinner. China and Cuba have long had their ties (even before they shared a penchant for communism); citizens of the Asian country immigrated to the Caribbean island as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. As we get to know Cuba a little better, with the U.S. embargo eased-up, the 39th street hotspot is a great place to plan your first trip over a well-deserved daiquiri. Salud!

CALLE DAO’S OATMEAL PANCAKES

With roasted Hubbard squash, soy curds and ginger maple syrup

OatmealPancakes

PANCAKES 

1 1/2 cups oatmeal flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter room temperature
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl, combine the oatmeal flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar. Add the milk and vanilla and mix. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until it’s the consistency of pancake batter. Do not over mix.

HUBBARD SQUASH

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Take 3 pieces of squash and cut into 4-inch sizes. Rub each piece with butter and place on a baking sheet. Mix brown sugar (as much as you’d like) with a teaspoon of nutmeg and a ¼ tsp. salt and sprinkle over the squash. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.  Cut into smaller cubes.

SOY CURDS
1 quart soy milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh Lemon juice
Pinch salt

In a small pot over medium, bring all the ingredients to a boil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, remove from the heat and set aside for approximately 15-20 minutes then strain through a fine mesh strainer. It should look like young cheese.

GINGER MAPLE SYRUP
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup fresh ginger

In a small pot, infuse the ginger and the maple syrup by bringing them to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool down until ready to serve.

Twisted Talk: How do you like your oatmeal? What’s your favorite fusion combo? Discuss below!

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