27 February 2008
Growing up, I always preferred cold cereal to oatmeal. Crunchy cereal swimming in milk seemed more satisfying than a warm bowl of soft and often bland porridge. Lately though, I started thinking that oatmeal deserved another chance because A) it's cheap B) it can help reduce your cholesterol and C) why not?
After a few weeks on the quick cook oats (which were less mushy than the instant kind but still pretty tasteless) I came across a package of steel cut oats at Trader Joe's. The price, $2.69 for 21 servings, was right so I tossed it in the cart. Steel cut oats (often called Scotch or Irish Oats) are the whole oat grain, chopped into pieces instead of being rolled into flat little disks like most quick cooking oatmeal. In addition to a chewy texture, steel cuts oats may take longer for your body to digest since they are in a more natural form leading to less rapid release of sugars aka- you feel fuller longer and your blood sugar doesn't spike.
The only issue with the steel cut oats is the cooking time- 30 minutes, something I think few of us have in the morning. Luckily my friend M--- came up with a way to cheat (although he actually doesn't remember telling me this). You can soak the oats overnight in the cooking water, then pour the whole think into the pot the next morning, cutting the cooking time to about 20 minutes. Also- I've started prepping 2 or 3 breakfasts worth of oats at once and popping the leftovers into the fridge in bowls; then I can just pull one out and nuke it for a minute or two and add a bit of brown sugar or, for a treat, some golden syrup and milk and breakfast is ready.*
Steel Cut Oats
Makes 4 servings, can easily be halved or doubled
1 c. steel cut oats
4 c. water
pinch of salt
milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, golden syrup, ect. for topping
- Before you go to bed, put the oats and water in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- As soon as you wake up, pour the oats and water into a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for approx. 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- The oats are done when they are chewy but not crunchy; start tasting at 20 minutes and stop cooking when they are done to your liking. Stir in the pinch of salt and serve. They'll firm up as they sit.
- Serve with milk and your favorite toppings.
*In the interest of truth I should add that while I prep the oats at night, Zach is pretty much always the one that starts them in the morning since I can never seem to get myself out of bed....