Monday, March 17, 2008

... Oatmeal

I get lots of requests for recipes and cooking advice and I find myself repeating that the key to a good meal is good ingredients. The recipe can be super simple but taste super wonderful if each ingredient is chosen with care.

If the picture you get in your head is dollar signs, thinking organic is too expensive, you'll be happy to know that oftentimes that is not the case (and, oftentimes I don't even use organic). I'm finding from personal experience that it doesn't require extra money, or even extra time, rather, just a little bit of planning.

So to those of you who have copied a recipe of mine and followed it to the letter only to call me complaining it didn't taste as good as mine, no, I did not leave an ingredient out of your recipe. I chose to go about how I made it differently.

Want my secrets? OK, I'll share. Today I think I'll talk about....

Oatmeal.

Sounds plan and mushy and un-inventive, huh? Oh but it's not. I've discovered Steel Cut Oats. Also knows as Irish Oats or Pinhead Oats, Steel Cut Oats are milled from high protein whole grain oats and cut into neat little pieces on a steel buhr mill.

What probably came to mind when I said oats are the old fashioned rolled oats or instant oatmeal paper packets filled with dried apple squares. While still a good source of fiber, these are the kind that tend to be a tad bland and mushy -- having been steamed & rolled thin.

I find Steel Cut Oats to be crunchy & flavorful, famously heart-healthy, and a great base for a variety of toppings such as:
  • toasted walnuts
  • natural cane sugar
  • unsweetened toasted coconut
  • raw honey
  • half and half
  • blueberries
  • extra-chunky homemade applesauce
  • agave nectar
Now, here comes the planning part. These take 30-40 minutes to cook well. You can cook them in 10, but they are better if they cook slower. Follow the directions on the package but boil them at a much slower rate.

This doesn't mean you're at the stove for this long, just that the Steel Cut Oats are slowing spreading their warm and toasty aroma throughout your home for this long. You are running around getting other things accomplished. It's very hands off. As an added bonus, it re-heats splendidly so you can make a large batch on Sunday night and eat it all week long.

8 comments:

Paul, Jess & Elise said...

Oatmeal as bland??? I LOVE oatmeal and cook it alot with all natural ingredients and fruit! It's very tasty, but I've not tried the steel cut oats...think I will. oh yeah...hi...I don't get much time online anymore but it's nice to catch up once in a while.
Love ya.

Katy Van said...

good advice- where do you buy inexpensive steel cut oats?

Judy said...

I've heard of people raving about steel cut oats. I've never been a big fan of oatmeal myself... until now. I like it with raisins & brown sugar. I'll try the steel cut oat. Thanks Michelle!

Mindyb said...

Hey Michelle! I stumbled on your blog from Rebekah's. So, funny you should discuss oatmeal. I have become a big fan of John McCann's Irish Oatmeal. I make mine on Sunday or Monday evenings and eat for a week. I make mine with water, but I think I am going to experiment with milk. Do you use milk? Wonder if half milk and half water would work? Anyways, did you know that Trader Joe's sells it for 4.99 and Farm Fresh sells the exact same thing for 9.99? Now, that is a 'steel' of a deal!

Mindyb

Michelle said...

Hey Jess! Good to hear from you! :)

Katy, I buy Bob's Read Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats at The Market in downtown Norfolk (The Market is owned by Farm Fresh). For some reason, the organic ones are less than the non-organic ones?? Not sure why. But this bag is about $3.50 and will last me about a month.

Mindy! Hi! Oh yes, Trader Joes is amazing. Love it! I boil mine in water but then add a bit of half and half (I haven't been buying milk lately) in the morning when I reheat it. Let me know how it works if you cook it in milk. I imagine it would be even more decadent. Mmm

anne said...

mmm... I have to say, I am not a huge oatmeal fan, but I took your advice and LOVED the steel cut oats. Who knew? Apparently you. :)
Thanks Michelle!

Michelle said...

Anne, I'm so glad you liked it!! :)

Bethany said...

Oh I have been wanting to try these I saw at TJ's the other day. They even have them in the freezer section already cooked....that kinda sounds yuck to me but the regular ones sound good.