It’s the dead of winter days here in New England – long and dark. Night still seeps into morning, and that blue black void is hardly conducive to an early start. Beguiled by the warmth of our beds, its often hard to rouse ourselves up and out into the day. But the promise of a warm kitchen and fulfilling breakfast, even on those multi-directional weekday mornings, gives us much needed motivation. We have come to look forward to our darkened mornings, and have become something we each look forward to when the alarm goes off. This winter we have successfully won back breakfast with an incredibly simple but satisfying breakfast ritual. At its core is an age old combination – whole milk and oats. These two stalwarts of breakfast certainly become more than the sum of their parts with the addition of made in Maine Oakhurst Dairy whole milk and a sweetly modern twist on the bowl of porridge.
The frigid tempratures make hearty breakfasts a New England necessity but these overnight oats have made it something much more acheivable and enjoyable this winter. They easily lend themselves to the hurried mornings (even more hurried with Ruairí now in the mix), a simple stir and toss on of toppings (my favorites suggested below) and these vanilla overnight oats, creamy with whole milk from Oakhurst Dairy and elevated from the heady scent and exotic flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. These last months we have nurtured our new ritual of breakfast together, just us three in the kitchen, a steaming kettle on the table and bowls of these overnight oats at hand. And with just a bit of practice (most of the work comes the night before, infusing the milk and combining it with the oats) we have easily gotten the hang of weekday breakfasts together. Starting the day with a little goodness has made all the difference this winter. And getting to watch the sun come up, cresting the stone wall and flooding through the house as been an added bonus
- 3 cups Oakhurst whole milk
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, rinsed
- 2 whole vanilla beans
- 2 cinnamon sticks, about 3″ each
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup raw buckwheat
- 1 Tablespoon butter
Run the tip of a very sharp knife length wise down each vanilla bean, scoring the skin on one side and opening up gently to reveal the seeds. In a medium sauce pan place the Oakhurst whole milk, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and dark brown sugar
infuse the milk over low heat for about 30 minutes, you should see a little steam rising off the top of the milk but do not let it simmer or boil. While the milk is infusing, place oats in a strainer and rinse under cool water using your finger tips to scrub the oats. Let them drain well then place them in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Toss to combine
Once infused, remove milk from the heat and let stand a few minutes to cool. Then transfer two cups of the milk to the oats along with the cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. Stir well to combine, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight until breakfast the next morning.
Reserve remaining cup of milk for a before bed treat or to top the oats when serving.
For the toasted buckwheat. Place butter and a pinch of salt in a pan over medium low heat. When the butter begins to bubble, add the buckwheat to the pan and toss well with the butter. Cook, stirring continuously about 5 minutes or until the buckwheat is browned and nutty smelling. Remove from the pan and let cool. Once cool, buckwheat can be stored in an air tight container on the counter for up to one week.
To serve: Remove overnight oats from the refrigerator and stir well. If desired, they can be heated in a sauce pan over medium or simply served straight from the refrigerator. Top with a splash of the remaining reserved milk (also heated if desired) and a sprinkling of the toasted kasha. Fruit, fruit compote (im loving blood orange right now), a swirl of your favorite jam, toasted nuts or seeds can also be an nice addition
This post is sponsored in part by Oakhurst Dairy. all thoughts and opinions are my own