Posts Tagged with oats

Hazzard Free Farm Grits – Locally Grown Jewels

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

When you taste the real thing, it’s hard to go back. Belly up to real actual corn grits, or small batch rolled oats and the difference is shocking. Heritage is a longstanding cornerstone for Hazzard Free Farm – bringing heirloom grains and unadulterated goodness right to our door and to markets all over the city.

Hazzard Farms

It starts with a history; growing up in the drawn out lands and rolling creeks of farmland USA, taught the right way to plow, plant and live within the surroundings from a young age – our Hazzard Free host lived it. Sat with her grandmother making jams and jellies, preserving the food for eating through the year, squirrelling away jars in the basement cupboard. Put into 4-H, stuck it out in nature no matter the weather, and questioning everything – it was a building of change like the swelling of winds across an open field that put the start to the Hazzard Free Farm idea. Put against a backdrop of knowledge and timing, just like the best things in life, it just seemed inevitable. So in the Pecatonica, IL – Andrea kicked off a farm of her own, plowing and seeding the same land-area her family has worked since 1847. Chemical, non-gmo, and organically practiced farm from the beginning – crops are rotated, grains are stone milled & un-bleached, think au-natural with a focus on quality, preserving the plant’s natural state.

We’re quite happy it all came together the way it did. Currently, we carry three of their choice grains. Hazzard Free Farm’s oats are fresh and tasty, with real flavor without comparison – they are fluffy and rich that taste almost nutty due to them containing their natural oil. Two of their grits adorn our shelves too, a Red Flint grit that is an italian heirloom which is the best of the best for polenta, and a pinkish Bloody Butcher grits that are fine and sweet that is a cross between native and settler’s corn.

Pick up these from our shelves and get tasting really tasty local corn grits and oats that make any meal wonderful. Have a favorite grits recipe? Want to give a shout out to Hazzard Free Farms? Drop us a line below!

Baked almond oatmeal: breakfast of…barbarians?

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Spring may have officially started over a month ago, but these chilly mornings remind me that pleasant spring weather hasn’t arrived just yet. As we patiently wait for it, now is the perfect time to indulge in winter treats once or twice more, like sipping hot cocoa or pulling on a cozy sweater. In that spirit I decided to try our baked almond oatmeal — what breakfast food suits a chilly morning better than a piping hot bowl of oatmeal?

Oats, widely praised by nutritionists as an energy-boosting source of fiber and other nutrients, weren’t always held in such high regard. When Europeans first began cultivating them 3,000 years ago, some viewed oats as nothing more than a diseased version of wheat. Greeks and Romans, in particular, considered oats unfit for human consumption and fed the crop to their horses instead. Maybe their negative reputation was due to the fact that oats spoil quickly after being harvested, though nowadays that isn’t an issue because the oats have been processed in some way to prolong their viability: steel-cut, rolled, flaked, or ground into flour to avoid going rancid.

While Romans may have refused to eat their oats, “barbarian” Germanic tribes to the north used the tiny beige circles as a staple food and went on to eventually crush the Roman Empire. During their conquest the barbarians would chop oats with steel blades, mix them with water, and bake oat cakes over a fire – a snack that fueled them through the many long days of violence. After the fall of the Roman Empire, oat cakes became increasingly common fare over the centuries. Thank goodness they’d lost their stigma as animal feed, because no matter who or what eats them, oats seem to do a body good.

I reaffirmed the ‘goodness’ of oats when I ate our baked almond oatmeal for breakfast. Next to our amazing breadpudding pancakes or savory selection of omelets, the thought of oatmeal might seem a bit uninspiring. Not at Southport Grocery! The baked almond oatmeal can easily hold its own in our breakfast menu.

What’s so special about our oatmeal? It isn’t the just-add-water, microwavable mush being peddled on most grocery store shelves these days. Those “convenient” products are quick to prepare because the oats have been processed to the point where water is the only thing necessary to make them palatable. Our oatmeal is a much more natural combination of steel-cut and rolled oats, then we toss some thinly-sliced almonds in, add a beaten egg and a tiny bit of sugar, and bake to a hot and crisp perfection. The first thing I noticed when digging my spoon into the oatmeal is that I could actually see whole pieces of almond and oat – no beige amorphous mush here! The oats have a dense and chewy mouthfeel, contrasting with the crunchy almonds.

What really sold me on the baked almond oatmeal is its flavor. The few simple ingredients give the oatmeal a clean and earthy taste, with a hint of sweetness. It’s finished with a dusting of powdered sugar, and is accompanied by seasonal fruit and a ramekin of cream. I mixed the sides in to my liking and felt satisfied after eating only half, but I wasn’t bouncing off the walls from a sugar high that some other breakfasts have been known to induce. In fact, while my to-do list that day didn’t include crushing the Roman Empire, I did have the steady energy I needed to complete my work. And that’s what I appreciate about our oatmeal:  it’s a perfect choice for when you want a breakfast that’s simple yet satisfying.

For those who also want to enjoy quality oatmeal at home, we do carry the steel cut oats in our grocery. The baked almond oatmeal recipe is printed on the packaging.