Fall in the Pacific Northwest is a thing of beauty. The misty sky settles low into the tree-lined hilltops, vibrant leaves of every warm hue dance and trickle their way down to the streets like floating confetti, and the cooler mornings make way for slower rising, complete with warm, hearty breakfasts.
This October, on a particularly brisk morning, I drove North up highway 30, away from the bustle of Portland central and into the forested outskirts where farms, ranches, orchards, creeks, and trees larger than life take precedence. The destination: River City Shiitake. The cause: a celebration of union between supplier, retailer, and consumer.
Every city has a love language. In Portland, it’s savoring the bounty of local produce. As a food-and-flavor-driven community, we take pride in the partnerships between farmers and chefs of all kinds (including those who only appear in their own kitchen). Quality ingredients take time and care, and will, in return, nourish and support our bodies so that we too may thrive. Not to mention, they also taste a hell of a lot better than those flown in from halfway across the world.
When we can’t make it out to the farmer’s market, we’re lucky to know that New Seasons Market has our back, sourcing ingredients not solely out of cost or efficiency but out of a deep respect for the livelihood of the producer, choosing to support a higher cost in exchange for a high quality product that both home cooks and trained chefs alike can celebrate.
I pulled into the long, gravel driveway at River City Shiitake, and was greeted by the friendly faces of my community: the New Seasons social media marketing team and main producer buyer, women food bloggers from all over town, and the sweetest mushroom farmer I ever did meet (although she may be the only mushroom farmer I have ever met). Below are a few photos from our facility tour.
Savory Oat PorridgeCourse: BreakfastDifficulty: Moderate
- For the Oat Porridge
1 c. whole-grain, steel-cut oats
4 c. filtered water, plus more to soak
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. grass-fed ghee
1/2 tsp sea salt or pink himalayan sea salt
- For the Toppings
4 pasture-raised eggs
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms
1 bundle green onions, sliced
- Optional Garnish
Crumbled goat cheese, sesame seeds, red chili flakes, hot sauce, freshly cracked black pepper, flaky sea salt
- Add the oats to a large glass bowl and soak overnight in plenty of water.
- Rinse and drain the oats, then add to a stand-up blender with 4 cups of filtered water. Blend until the oats are broken up into smaller pieces, but not completely pureed.*
- Pour the oat mixture into a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until simmering. Stir in the nutritional yeast, ghee, and sea salt. Cover with a lid, and continue to cook on low heat for 20 minutes, or until the oats are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. The mixture should be loose and creamy when it’s ready. If it overcooks, it will become gummy and tense, but it can be loosened up with a few splashes of water and a good stir.
- While the oats cook, prepare the toppings. Heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat with 2 tbsp of ghee. Crack the eggs into the pan, and cook to desired doneness. Remove eggs from the pan, and set aside. Add the remaining ghee to the pan, and add the mushrooms. Sauté for 7-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from the heat once lightly caramelized and tender.
- Assemble: divide the oats into four bowls, and top each with a fried egg, a portion of mushrooms, and a handful of sliced scallions. Crumble the goat cheese, if using, and sprinkle each bowl with sesame seeds, chili flakes, and extra sea salt or freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy immediately!
- In the Vitamix, this takes about 10 seconds on medium speed. If you’re not sure how long it will take in yours, pulse a few times and check the consistency until it looks about right.
After learning about how the shiitakes are grown, I knew I had to whip something up right away. First, I knew it would be a breakfast, my favorite meal of the day. Second, something outside of my comfort zone. Enter: savory oats. A creamy, comforting combination of textures and flavors, perfect for a cold fall morning. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.