Saturday, October 19, 2013

Irish Steel-Cut Oatmeal

During the week, busy mornings mean that I usually make myself a smoothie and coffee for breakfast. But when the weekend rolls around and things are much more relaxed, my favorite breakfast is......oatmeal. Not the stuff most of us were force-fed as kids, but steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut oats are unrefined whole grain groats that have been dried and cut into two or three pieces with steel rather than being rolled like the oats most of us are used to. They are chock full of calcium, fiber, B-vitamins and protein. You can find them in most grocery stores, but I get mine in the bulk-foods section of a local health food store.
Steel cut oats have a nutty flavor and are a little chewier than regular oatmeal. It takes about 35 minutes to cook a pot, but they are worth the wait. Sometimes I make a big batch and then put portions into containers. Add a little milk and reheat and they taste just as good the second time around!
You will need:
1 cup steel cut oats
1 Tbs butter
3 1/2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk (depending on consistency you like). Any milk you like will work.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Here's what you do: Melt the butter in a skillet and add the oats. Toast for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't burn. Toasting the oats really brings out the nutty flavor. (See first picture). Place the toasted oats into a pot of the boiling water and add the salt. (See second picture). Stir well to mix. Reduce the heat to somewhere between low and medium and cover. Let them cook for 25 minutes. Don't open and stir them while they are simmering. After the 25 minutes, remove the lid and stir in the milk and vanilla extract. Stir well and let cook for about 8-10 more minutes. This last step is what gives the oatmeal a creamy texture. (See third picture).
Once it's ready, add whatever toppings you like. Some suggestions are cinnamon, brown sugar, bananas, syrup, raisins...pretty much anything you want. On mine, I love to add some blueberries that I grew and managed to get picked before the birds beat me to them. Every time I pull some of them out of the freezer, it's like a little reminder of summer! I like to add chopped walnuts, too. To sweeten my oatmeal, I like to drizzle a little honey on it. (Since I'm a beekeeper, I'm a little partial to honey!)
Hope you enjoy this recipe.

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