Oatmeal, Times Two

Jeremy loves oatmeal. I like it too, but perhaps not on as frequent a basis as he would like. We use Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats, which are thick and hearty, and although oatmeal seems like one of those no-brainer things, I find that when I make batches according to the Good Enough to Eat cookbook, it comes out lighter and almost fluffy, so that’s always what I do.

More recently, we’ve taken to eating steel cut oats instead of rolled oats. I didn’t like it at all the first time around, because compared to regular oatmeal, it seemed too crunchy, chewy and kind of slimy at the same time. I’ve gotten used to it now, though, or perhaps I am getting the hang of cooking it, because I have started preferring it to rolled oats.

Most oatmeals reheat well, so it may be worthwhile to make a supersized batch and keep it in the fridge for quick hearty breakfasts that make instant oatmeal look and taste like cement (isn’t it?). When I reheat mine in the microwave, I add a tablespoon or two of cold water and cover it, and it ends up perfectly fresh and creamy again.

Oatmeal That’s Good Enough to Eat

1 1/4 C rolled oats
2 1/4 C cold water

Put the oats and water in a medium sauce pan, stir to combine, cover, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. When it begins to boil, stir it, lower the heat to medium low, keep covered, and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring 2-3 times, which encourages a creamier texture. When the consistency is to your liking, remove from the heat. If desired, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or vanilla extract, and top with brown sugar, milk, nuts, dried fruits, toasted wheat germ, etc. to your tastes. I like cinnamon, vanilla, plenty of brown sugar and a splash of milk on mine.

Alton Brown’s Steel Cut Oatmeal

1 T butter
1 C steel cut oats
3 C boiling water (an electric kettle is quick and handy for this)
1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C plus 1 T low-fat buttermilk
1 T brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.

Combine the milk and half of the buttermilk with the oatmeal. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with remaining buttermilk, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Source: Good Eats, with Alton Brown

Update: 5/18/07: The first time I made steel-cut oats I followed the recipe and it was fine, though I’m not the hugest fan of flat-out buttermilk flavor (wouldn’t just drink it, say). The next time I added some desiccated coconut to the oats before toasting, used 1% milk mixed with some plain yogurt, and stirred some brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon right in. I thought it was perfect just like that, sprinkled with a bit of demerara sugar for crunch, but Jeremy also garnished his with walnuts and dried cranberries. Very creamy and hearty. Another option, and one I used last night, was just to use straight whole milk in place of the buttermilk.

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