When it comes to food, what does indulgence mean to you? I would venture a guess that for a lot of people it is linked with something that is higher in calories and/or fat than one’s normal daily consumption. For me, I will admit my gut associations with the word conjure up visions of fat greasy burgers, donuts, and ice cream. The dictionary tells me it is about gratifying desire. This for me begs a question. In the food world, can something be of a reasonable fat and calorie count and still be indulgent? I’m sure there could be a whole philosophical debate about this (I am also sure lots of people would find me frivolous for having debates about this topic when there are far more serious things to discuss), but for now, for me, the answer is yes.
I think sometimes indulgence is about having something that is a little out of the ordinary. Perhaps making something more complex than your life would normally allow or using an ingredient that is hard to source or a little pricey. In my particular case, my dish of the day was indulgent for me because it stemmed from the latter. A slammed schedule at work had left me feeling a little ho hum and wanted something that would provide a much needed pick me up. Because of that I decided it was time for a special breakfast – baked oatmeal. I will admit that in and of itself baked oatmeal is not a special food for me. I’m much more apathetic about oats than the average food blogger, so baked oatmeal especially tends to be a food I make out of convenience. What made this batch a little more indulgent than normal was the use of vanilla bean. Anyone who has purchased them before knows they are pricey, usually reserved for special occasion recipes and rare instances when the ingredient will absolutely shine. However, sometimes it’s fun to celebrate an ordinary weekday as if it were a special occasion and there seemed no time better than now to put a vanilla bean to use.
And it’s worth it in this recipe because it really does shine. When combined with the citrus it makes for a delicately flavored oatmeal that has a cleaness to it that I associate with spring. I put more of my orange confit to use in this recipe, but you could easily opt for some orange marmalade instead. However, I would potentially reduce the marmalade to 1/3 cup since it tends to be so concentrated in flavor. It’s also worth noting that on the spectrum of baked oatmeal textures this recipe is more on the cake-like side so it’s a perfect on-the-go breakfast.
-2 cups rolled oats
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 1/2 cups low fat milk
-1 large egg, beaten
-2 tablespoons melted butter
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
-1/2 cup chopped orange confit
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the oats, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the egg mixture reserving the bean for another use. Stir the oat and milk mixtures together and then fold in the chopped orange confit.
Pour mixture into a 9×9-inch square baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray or greased lightly with butter or oil.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a nice crust has developed and the oatmeal is lightly brown around the edges. Serve warm.
What about you? Is there something you make that you consider indulgent, but that doesn’t necessarily tip the scale when it comes to fat and calories?