So I tried the recipe I mentioned in the comments on Heidi’s post, for a “batido de avena” or oat shake. The recipe is from Ingrid Hoffmann’s cookbook Simply Delicioso, which I read in Spanish, but I promise I double-checked any uncertain vocabulary in this short recipe before attempting to make it and pass it on. I partly double-checked it because usually a “batido” is the equivalent of our smoothie; you blend the ingredients in a blender. With this drink you don’t blend anything and there is no fruit. In fact all you do is heat milk and oats (and pumpkin, see below) together, add cinnamon, then strain out the solids after a 2 hour or overnight chill in the fridge. I made it last night and stood over the stove reading this very funny and informative book by an ER pediatrician (I’m reading it partly in an attempt to feel slightly more in control of things when I babysit and the kids are running around incurring various injuries as they are wont to do) during the 10-15 minutes of constant stovetop attention.

I used 1% milk (one of the greatest sacrifices I make for our marriage, no doubt) and was afraid it wouldn’t be very thick, as Ingrid didn’t specify what sort of milk was used in the original, and if you haven’t noticed there’s a big difference between 1% and whole milk (oh how I miss thee). But I would be afraid to try it with whole milk—it would probably be like drinking a full-on milkshake first thing in the morning (this was in the breakfast section of the cookbook, I believe, and I drank it as such). Even with 1%, and though it didn’t look that thick the night before, after I strained it into my glass it had a very creamy, frothy texture just like a light milkshake. I guess that’s where it gets the name—from the effect rather than the technique. I’m drinking the rest of what I made now. It is a very refreshing drink and I will be making it again. I can imagine it heating up well for a more suitable fall/winter drink, too.

For this first try, I just used 2 Tbsp of canned pumpkin for the 2 servings I made. I might add more next time, but 2 Tbsp. does give it discernable pumpkin flavor. Plenty of earthy oat flavor, though it is kind of sad to use the oats for flavor and then throw them out. At least if it is like cooking vegetables in water, then some of the nutrients will still be in the milk, I think. Feel free to correct my simplistic reasoning here.

For two servings:
3 c. milk
1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp. canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat the milk, oats, and pumpkin in a medium saucepan over medium heat until milk is starting to boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, til thickened. Stir in cinnamon and sugar and chill at least 2 hours, or overnight. Strain milk through a wire mesh strainer or a colander with fairly small holes into a measuring glass or some sort of pourable container. Stir in the vanilla and serve.

P.S. This reminded me to try another oat and pumpkin recipe, the one Elizabeth posted here last year. And we recently discovered that pumpkin bread and vanilla ice cream are a Ridiculously Good combination.

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