national oatmeal day savory chef ninamarie cooking unique oatmeal recipe smoked mozzarella muchroom fricassee

Oatmeal, a breakfast staple, takes its place at dinner table

The Record, October 29, 2012
Better Living,
By Elyse Toribio

Link to full article

Local chef Ninamarie Bojekian often turns to the whole grain to make a quick and hearty meal for herself after a long day of cooking for others.

“Adding a little salt, pepper, stock and olive oil can completely transform the flavor profile of oatmeal from sweet to savory,” said Bojekian, the owner of Franklin Lakes-based Ooh La La Catering. She has topped oatmeal with a steamed egg and arugula salad, and recently whipped up an oatmeal dish flavored with smoked mozzarella and mushrooms.

“Oatmeal has a lot more going on for it than just brown sugar and breakfast,” Bojekian said. “It can be used as a great platform to let other ingredients shine. I’m always surprised at how versatile it is.”


Chef Ninamarie Bojekian, the owner of Ooh La La Catering and Events in Franklin Lakes, puts a spin on a classic breakfast staple with this original recipe. “This is a versatile dish that can be served at any time,” Bojekian said. “It’s perfect as a savory breakfast or brunch option, or as a hearty fall side dish.” To make it a complete meal, she recommends serving the dish with a fresh salad and crusty bread.

3 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups oatmeal

1 tablespoon butter

1 3/4 cups water

2 cups Baby Bella mushrooms (or any assortment of preferred mushrooms), thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons marsala

1/3 cup smoked mozzarella, grated

2 tablespoons cream or milk

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a small pot, and then turn down heat to a simmer. Simmer chicken stock for about five minutes, to slightly reduce the volume.

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat.

Add the shallots and garlic. Sauté until softened, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the oatmeal and stir to coat. Turn heat to high and add 1 1/2 cups of the hot chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups of the water to the oatmeal; stir.

Adjust heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring for five minutes. Remove oatmeal from heat and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter to pan. Add mushrooms and let sit without stirring for two minutes.

Toss and season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and two tablespoons of Marsala to mushrooms, toss.

Remove mushrooms from pan and transfer to a small bowl, leaving behind any juices in the pan.

Add the remaining chicken stock and wine to pan, and simmer for about 4 minutes, until it is reduced by half.

To finish the oatmeal, add a little more water to loosen it up a bit, about 1/4 cup. Add the mozzarella and cream. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted and the oatmeal is creamy. Adjust seasoning if needed.

To serve: Divide oatmeal into desired portions. Top each with mushrooms and then sauce from pan. Serve immediately, while piping hot.

Serves: 2-3

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