Make fun of me all you want, internet, I love fall.
Unfortunately, I live in southern california and we do not really have fall weather. Things will get cooler for a little bit around November/December but nothing close to what the rest of the country has. However, I persist in my celebration of fall things, regardless of the green palm trees around me. Case in point? It was 106 today and I was trying on fleece pullovers at Patagonia (which a friend affectionately refers to as Pata-gucci, as in fancy). Also, last weekend I roasted a turkey breast and made a lovely turkey soup. I feel this all shows commitment to my love for fall. In addition to the turkey cooking, I made a large batch of steel cut oatmeal to sustain me for a week of breakfasts.
When I was a kid I adored the single serving instant oatmeal flavors like "brown sugar" and "cinnamon apple". They were so loaded with sugar that I even loved to eat them raw. I have transitioned in my oatmeal tastes and now appreciate the nutty texture of steel cut oats. My only complaint being how long it takes to cook, which is why making a big batch on sunday evening and reheating smaller portions for the weekday morning is a win for me.
But I must admit, that while I no longer favor the instant oatmeal flavors, I do appreciate a good serving of brown sugar alongside my slow cooked oatmeal.
Having recently ended a month of no sugar, I wanted to see if I could reintroduce oatmeal without as much sugar and keep it interesting, flavorful and cozy. To go with the oatmeal, I had a bag of pears I put to good use by roasting in the oven with just a smidge of sugar and lemon juice and some butter.
I followed Molly Wizenberg's recipe here, with my only difference being that I started the pears out with about 1/4 cup of water in the bottom on the pan.
What I ended up with was fork tender pears, glazed with just a bit of sweetness and perfect for tucking into warm oatmeal. The caramelized edges softened up and kinda melted into the warm grains, creating perfect pockets of sweetness. I found myself so looking forward to breakfast because I think one of the powerful things about food is how it helps us feel cared for. That sense of nourishment and caring is not limited to when others cook for us, but can also be found when we make food for ourselves. I have started commuting into work in downtown LA one or two days a week (I take the train) and this week I carried along a little serving of oatmeal and pear with me, to heat up at my desk. After the bustle and anonymity of the ride in, it felt nice to have something so comforting.
I hope you're able to create the space you need this week to nourish both yourself and those you love. And if you have recipes/rituals that you look forward to each fall, I would love to hear about them!