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Marissa Lingen

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Can this porridge be saved? [Mar. 2nd, 2011|06:46 am]
Marissa Lingen
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So I bought this nine-grain porridge stuff at Great Harvest, and this morning I made myself a bowl. I figured I could do my current standard for porridge stuff (a little milk, chopped pecans, dried blueberries, chopped dried apricots) and then go from there once I'd had a bowl like that and was clear on what flavors might go well with it.

It is so salty.

It's like when you go to order grits and the waitress looks at your northern self dubiously and tells you they come with butter and are not like northern food and you say that's fine but it's a cheap restaurant and what she means is that they come with butter and a good half the annual output from the salt flats at the Great Salt Lake. Only there are a bunch more grains in there.

Possibly this analogy is not of great use to everyone.

Seriously, these are salty enough that I would mix in a little cheese and serve them as a dinner side if I lived with people who would put up with that nonsense. (There is very little of my nonsense that's off-limits here, but I believe quinoa is as far as they'll go for savory dinner porridge.) Maybe as the rest of my lunch when I'm eating brussels sprouts? Or, I don't know. I'm asking for your help, lj people. Surprisingly salty whole-grain porridge. Cheesy lunch? Some magical fix for breakfast? Passing it on to a local friend with a higher salt tolerance than I (which is, like, everybody, but you will have to speak up personally)? Or throwing it all out as a failure and going back to my beloved barley porridge for tasty reliable breakfast on chilly mornings and all my other possibilities for non-chilly mornings and lunch?
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2011-03-02 01:00 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...the following comes to mind:

1. Mix it up with some sausage (and cheese) and eggs and serve it that way
2. Try rinsing it off really well before cooking it, in case you can rinse some of the salt away?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 02:10 pm (UTC)
It is mostly too fine to rinse reasonably--anything that the water can drain through, these grains can drain through.
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2011-03-02 01:49 pm (UTC)
I'd go with some good cheddar. Or, cut the salty stuff with some other non-salted porridge? Porridge Helper?
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2011-03-02 02:05 pm (UTC)
I was about to suggest brown rice and/or quinoa.
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[User Picture]From: sageautumn
2011-03-02 02:15 pm (UTC)

Totally got your analogy. :)

HRm. Couple of things come to mind, one of which may be "not put up with nonsense"... mix in some cheese and fry them like potatoe cakes/hashbrowns, and make them a side for dinner.

I'm not clear if you fruited it yet? If you did, then the above and my other thoughts will probably not work/be yucky.

Depending on the grains, could it become a soup base?
Toss in some barley/oats/something to stretch it and make it not salty/spread the salt around.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 02:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Totally got your analogy. :)

I only made one bowl of them, so while I fruited that, the rest can be done without fruit.
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[User Picture]From: rikibeth
2011-03-02 02:18 pm (UTC)
What if you called it "multigrain risotto" as a dinner side with cheese mixed in? Would that fly?

Lunch with sprouts sounds very tasty. We kind of love roasted sprouts around here.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 02:24 pm (UTC)
Hee. It's the thing, not the label, I expect markgritter in particular would object to: he has texture issues about anything he considers "mushy," which includes mashed potatoes, pudding, and (I strongly suspect) any porridge with grain this small.
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[User Picture]From: intrepida
2011-03-02 02:49 pm (UTC)

If I had a salty porridge problem....

I would mix in some parmesan cheese and serve it with a lightly fried egg and some chunky tomato sauce. In my household this will fly for any meal -- of course Bill would eat a radiator hose if you melted enough cheese on it and is a grits-loving Southerner, so this may not be very helpful.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 03:25 pm (UTC)

Re: If I had a salty porridge problem....

Cheese does cure a multitude of ills, I will agree.
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[User Picture]From: cathshaffer
2011-03-02 02:51 pm (UTC)
How strange. Does it have salt added? I like to have corn meal mush for breakfast with butter and a fried egg. It might work that way. Or you could mix extra oatmeal into it.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 03:26 pm (UTC)
The package is very cagey about what exactly is in it, other than the allergen warning--"nine grain mix." But this almost certainly means added salt; I can't see how it could not, having tasted the stuff.
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[User Picture]From: lutin
2011-03-02 02:57 pm (UTC)
1) I like salty and sweet. Maybe maple syrup.
2) Indian things work well with strong salty, strong sweet and strong spicey. My dad and I make a breakfast "porridge" with an Indian recipe and think it turns out best with 9 grain cereals and the like. I could give the recipe if you're interested.
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[User Picture]From: lutin
2011-03-02 02:57 pm (UTC)
You could also use it as an ingredient in Healthy™ muffins or veg. burgers.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 03:28 pm (UTC)
I think I'm the odd one: I will tell people I'm fine with eggs and sausage or bacon for breakfast, but what I really mean is that by the time I am having breakfast with other people, I have already had something non-proteiny/non-savory for first breakfast elsewhere. Unless it's nuts. Most non-nut proteins/savories make me nauseated first thing in the morning.
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2011-03-02 04:12 pm (UTC)
Theoretically, adding extra sweetener could reduce the perception of saltiness, although you might just end up with porridge that is too salty *and* too sweet.

I'd probably do as others have suggested and use it like I would polenta - top it with cheese and/or tomato sauce and/or sauteed mushrooms.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 04:34 pm (UTC)
Yah, the too salty and too sweet thing seems likely. Sigh.
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[User Picture]From: rmnilsson
2011-03-02 05:23 pm (UTC)
I would second the attempt to rinse it before cooking or to include it in quick breads, where it could replace the salt in the recipe.
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[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2011-03-02 05:29 pm (UTC)
Have you ever read The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale?

One of the first stories in it is about how the Peterkin family deals with a cup of coffee that accidentally got salted rather than sugared. They experiment with many additions and solutions with no success until the Lady from Philadelphia eventually suggests throwing it out. Which they do.

I'm with her.

(And I'd probably complain to the manufacturer -- I hate oversalted food unless it's supposed to be that way, like chips or crackers).
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From: diatryma
2011-03-03 05:12 am (UTC)
One of my dad's stories is that he and his siblings put flour in the sugar bowl one April Fool's Day. Their dad yelled at them a lot. It's salt! You put salt in the sugar bowl! Because it looks like sugar!

Apparently my grandfather took his mischief more seriously than his coffee.
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[User Picture]From: adrian_turtle
2011-03-02 05:35 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't eat it as porridge at all. I'd reclassify it as "grain mixture," and add it to either soup or savory muffin batter. (Lots of bread and muffin recipes seem to call for a cup of cooked cornmeal or oatmeal.) Are the cooked grains substantial enough to be a reasonable substitute for barley in something like mushroom barley soup? Or would they do better cooked down to mush and mixed in as thickener?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-02 06:06 pm (UTC)
They are quite, quite a bit smaller than barley.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2011-03-02 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thow it.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2011-03-02 06:13 pm (UTC)
(as my southern family would say about bad grey-its.)
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[User Picture]From: miz_hatbox
2011-03-02 08:15 pm (UTC)
I second all the suggestions that said to fry it up with cheese, or use it as soup thickener, or mix it with tomato sauce.

I was at an Indian buffet for lunch last Friday and they had something called Tomato Bath (but I think based on Internet searching, they meant Tomato Bhat). It was a very tasty side dish involving a base of cream of wheat, tomatoes, cashews, and non-hot spices like a garam masala.

This discussion reminds me there is polenta in the fridge, and it is lunchtime...
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