Growing up, I did not like oatmeal, not one bit! To me, cereal was someting that should be cold, poured from a box, and floating in milk. My, how things have changed.
Well, to be honest, I still don't like instant oatmeal or 'quick oats'. The old fashioned ones are pretty good, though, but best of all are the steel cut, or Irish, or Scotch oats. They are a little chewier, a little more hearty. Yum yum yum! Coolest of all, this is PORRIDGE! Hello, three bears! If you have little kids, combine the Three Bears story with a tasting party of sorts for some extra fun!
I'm not sure if they are actually more costly, or if it just seems that way because they never go on sale. That said, if you're buying them, the least expensive option is the bulk bin in a health food store. We opted to make our own. I got a big bag of 'oat groats' from our co-op. Oat groats are oats before they've been steamed, rolled smushed, toasted, all that good stuff. They look a lot like wheat berries!
Anyway, I have the groats. With a little trial and error I figured out a good setting to 'break' the grain without grinding it into meal or flour. I use the grain grinding attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer. A hand-crank grinder that allows lots of adjustment would work well too. My grain mill (the electric one) is far too fine, even on the coarsest setting. I BET you could break the grains in a blender or food processor too - just use quick little blasts so they don't turn into meal or flour!
Once the groats have been through the grinder, they look like this:
Then I put them in pans and toast them in the oven - 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. This gives them a nutty flavor. They cook more quickly too!
At this point, I let them cool, then I store my homemade steel cut oats in glass jars.
Some instructions call for cooking them for 30 or 40 minutes. Most of us don't have that kind of time in the morning. You can actually cook them the night before, and save some energy doing it! Here's how:
PORRIDGE - STEEL CUT OATS - OVERNIGHT COOKING
First, decide if you want some milk cooked into your porridge. It adds calcium and a little protein, and give them a nice creamy taste. Either way is good, though.
If you're going to use milk, put 3 c. water in a pot and bring it to a boil. If you're NOT using milk, put 4 c. water.
(Yes, that is a photo of boiling water. You know a recipe is EASY if the illustrations include a pot of boiling water!)
Measure 1 c. of your steel cut oats, and pour them into the pot.
Stir to combine, and bring the water/oat mixture to a boil.
Once the pot is bubbling nicely, turn off the heat. The oats will be very watery, but that's okay! Put the lid on the pot and leave it sitting on the stove. Brush your teeth, comb your hair and go to bed!
In the morning, take off the lid, and you'll find something that looks, well, not very pretty. Porridge is not pretty food! Since I'm adding milk to mine, these are kind of 'dry'. If you aren't adding milk, you have more water in the pot and you'll see a strange 'gel' layer. It's okay. Give the pot a stir, and things even right out.
Since I am adding milk - here it is! One cup milk to add the rest of the cooking liquid and make the whole thing more 'normal'.
Stir, and bring it back to a boil. If you didn't use milk, your porridge will be a little less 'whitish'.
While the porridge is heating up, put some yummy stuff in the bowls. This morning I chose some frozen (sweetened) peaches. These are from our tree out back - yum!
I spooned steaming-hot porridge over the top and sprinkled a few pecans on top. The hot porridge thaws the peaches and that cools the oats - win-win! Breakfast is ready! Whole grain, a little milk, some fruit and nuts. YUMMY!
There are lots of tasty options when it comes to oatmeal, porridge, or any other hot cereal. Try things like fresh, frozen or dry fruits, nut butters, chopped nuts, syrups or jams - the sky's the limit! Some of our favorite combinations include oatmeal or porridge with:
peanut butter and agave nectar
peaches, pecans and cinnamon
brown sugar, walnuts and raisins
maple syrup, walnuts and dry cranberries
One more note, then I'll hush! I don't make this every morning. Instead, I make a pot, let the extra cool, and keep in in a covered bowl in the fridge. It re-heats in the microwave quite nicely. Simply spoon some into a bowl, nuke, add toppings and enjoy!
What do you like on YOUR hot cereal? What is your FAVORITE hot cereal. Leave a comment and share something yummy!