Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Float Your Boat Oats ... Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apricot Nut Streuselly Topping That Is!

Lean back in your chairs, folks, and get comfy. Let’s chat about ... oatmeal. WAIT! Don’t leave! Hear me out before your mouse whisks you away to another blog. I know, I know. How can I expect anyone to get excited about pasty porridge? I mean, come on, a post about oatmeal? Yawn! Well, give me two minutes and let's see if I can entice you just enough to hold out your bowl and utter those famous words from orphaned Oliver Twist, “Please sir, can I have some more?”

Do you eat breakfast? Does oatmeal ever make its lowly way into your cereal bowl? That chewy porridge makes an occasional appearance on my table during the winter months. As a kid, I inwardly groaned when oatmeal was on the menu. Now that I’ve solidly entered the land of grown ups, I ..., um, lean in closer please, I like it. There! I’m no longer a closet oatmeal eater! Oh, I still love eggs best for a hot breakfast, yet I like how oatmeal warms me up when it’s so blustery cold outside. Plus, a bowl of oatmeal and my trusty mug of tea really fuel me up and get me through until lunch.But I’m not talking regular plain old, plain old oatmeal here. Nooooo sireeee! I’m talking about something that will float your boat, baby!

Did you know there are many varieties of oatmeal? For starters, there is the flavored, instant packet variety that’s popular with younger kids. Then there is the quick cooking oats, which are rolled oats that have been broken into pieces enabling a faster cooking time. I wonder if those are just the wayward broken flakes they sweep up off the equipment and floor when they make rolled oats. Makes you want to go check the label on your oatmeal, huh? Anyway ... Next, there is what’s called old fashioned oats, which are your typical rolled oats. I like those puppies a lot, and they work great in cookies, cobbler topping, skirlie stuffing, or meatloaf, too. Today we’ll be makin’ steel cut oats, sometimes called Irish Oats, which are the grains that have been cut, but not steamed and rolled like Old Fashioned Oats.See the difference between the two types in my sun deprived pale hand? These little nuggets take a long time to cook, but provide great texture and a satisfying nutty flavor.

I read an Alton Brown recipe for steel cut oats, and it sounded great, but he served it plain. Blech. I decided to jazz mine up and concocted a topping that is sooo yummilicious, you’ll want to make oatmeal everyday just to get at the topping. This is good enough to serve to company! Okay, enough verbiage ... let’s make oatmeal.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups boiling water - have it ready
½ cup milk (I used 2%)
¼ cup buttermilk (I used low fat)

In a large non-stick saucepot, melt the butter.Stir in the oats and toast them until they start to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Carefully add the boiling water (it will bubble up vigorously) and give a quick stir. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and simmer without stirring for about 30 minutes. Add the milk and buttermilk, and stir. Cook for another 10 minutes or until it reaches the consistency that you like. I prefer it thicker, similar in consistency to grits.

While the oats are cooking, make the streuselly topping.I know it isn't truly a streusel topping, so we’re gonna call it streuselly. Ahem. Start with some dried apricots. Do you like dried apricots? I LOOOOVE them.So get about six of the little dried beauties and cut them into bite sized pieces, and set them in a bowl.
Go ahead and sneak one ... ya know, just to, uh, test them.Then add about a handful of lovely toasted nuts. I used walnuts and almonds that I pan toasted for about a minute.To that add the ingredient that makes my taste buds go pitter patter ... 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Ahhhh, I love you, brown sugar. Have you ever met anyone who didn't like brown sugar?Next, add a loving sprinkle of cinnamon. 'Cuz, you know, cooking with love and cinnamon makes everything taste better.Now give it a good stir and try not to spoon it into your mouth right then and there.

Okey, dokey. Spoon a serving of your oatmeal into a serving bowl. Top with a generous spoonful of the apricot streuselly topping.Good morning, beautiful. Take a bite. Make yummy noises. Eat until gone. Eye the rest of the oatmeal in the pan. Should you share it with the family or put the rest away to eat tomorrow because it reheats beautifully? Or should you listen to that little inner voice saying, “Please, sir, can I have some more?” The choice is yours!

29 comments:

Bellini Valli said...

I grew up with oatmeal every winter morning of my life. I recently tried a baked oatmeal too that I really enjoyed!!

Manggy said...

When I was a kid (... ok, till today), I always had my oatmeal with spoonfuls of condensed milk. Given how badly I've been eating lately, I should really have a bowl of that! You could also try brulee-ing the top for a nice dessert-y touch, hee hee :)

Cathy said...

I know I should eat a good breakfast but usually I don't. This looks so good and satisfying.
I may turn over a new leaf.

Thanks for the oatmeal info. Very interesting.

OhioMom said...

I also grew up with oatmeal for breakfast, have always loved it and have it every morning. Love your grown up version :)

Peter M said...

On those cold winter mornings, oatmeal always filled my belly and gave me the energy to take on the day.

I, for one read your oatmeal opus!

Marjie said...

The boys eat McCann's Irish Oatmeal every school morning for breakfast. Of course, it's the instant, apple & cinnamon flavored variety, but Ryan loves it (Mark doesn't love anything). I love dried apricots, too; I could wolf down a whole bag of them with my morning tea!

Pam said...

I've been hearing a lot about steel cut oatmeal but have never tried it before. I will be on the lookout for it now. This looks delicious.

Cheryl said...

You have been a cooking fool lately! Can you stop by and make this for me, I am starvin!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

we never grew up with oatmeal - i can't say i know it's flavour well, but this breakfast looks great. i love dried fruit in my breakfast, those apricots are a very tempting sight

ps it was raining today in kolimvari - there'll be finer days later for me to take those photos i promised...

Jeena said...

Oooh I love oats apricots and nuts! This looks so good to eat on a cold evening for super yum. :-)

Grace said...

sometimes when i get up, it feels like it's about 40 degrees in my apartment. having this for breakfast would really hit the spot. plus, come on--there's streusel! :)

Pam said...

I love oatmeal. In the winter, I make it overnight in my rice cooker. I love this apricot nut topping!

The Blonde Duck said...

I actually got excited when I read the title! I've been looking for some tasty oatmeal!

Aggie said...

I love steel cut oatmeal! But, I really don't make it enough...you are inspiring me Paula! What a wonderful breakfast to wake up to!

Bridgett said...

The streusel would do it for me! Actually I love oatmeal so this would definitely be a treat.

Kevin said...

Nice looking oatmeal. I like the streusel topping.

Paula said...

Hello Oatmeal Lovers!

I'm surprised that so many of you like oatmeal!

Bellini Valli: Baked oatmeal sounds good!

Manggy: Brulee-ing the top sounds AWESOME. Now, where'd I put my torch? hehe

Cathy: I try to eat something every morning, otherwise I'm famished by lunchtime!

OhioMom: My sister likes oatmeal for breakfast everyday along with some yogurt.

Peter M: Oatmeal is one of those comfort staples that has stood the test of time. Thanks for visiting my Ode to Oatmeal. :-)

Marjie: My kids will eat oatmeal, but they spoon brown sugar and whipped cream on it in eye popping quantities. I'm addicted to those dried apricots. I like the little Mediterranean style ones.

Pam: The steel cut are really good. Toasting the grains first provides a stronger nut flavor that I enjoy.

Cheryl: You bet ... especially if you have any leftovers of that pasta bake that I could pilfer!

Med Kiwi: What is a typical Greek breakfast? Are there certain dishes that are considered comfort food to start the day?

Jeena: I really enjoy this. As I've gotten older, I've enjoyed nuts more and more. When I was a kid, I liked them ... but in a separate bowl.

Grace: Oh my gosh, I hear you about waking up cold. My kitchen hardwood floors and it makes for some COLD feet. Shiver!

Pam: How super clever to use the rice cooker! I've read recipes for a crock pot, but haven't tried it. Do you like your rice cooker? I make rice often and I've wondered if I would like one.

Blonde Duck: I'll gladly make you some oatmeal if you'll PLEASE write about what was in the envelope!

Aggie: It was really good. I made enough to have some the next morning too, and it was even better!

Bridgett: This was really quite good. Not too sweet, just really flavorful. And pretty, too!

Kevin: The topping really sets the dish for me. I like oatmeal, but enjoy it all the more if there is a topping of some sort.

Lo said...

I absolutely LOVE oatmeal... but oatmeal with topping??! That's got to be heavenly. Good call!

noble pig said...

I am a total oatmeal crazy person so I get it! And steel cut is the only way to go! This version sounds awesome!

MaryBeth said...

Your oatmeal looks wonderful, very thick, stick to your ribs on a cold day kinda good.

Gloria said...

Look fantastic Paula I really love apricots (look my last post) and with oatmeal look so tasty and yummy! Gloria

Jan said...

Paula, your oatmeal makes me wish I ate breakfast. Great job!

dp said...

Steel cut oats are my favorite type. I prefer the texture to the others. I usually make a batch that lasts us about 3 days. I'll have to try it with the nuts. It sounds delicious!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I haven't heard of steel cut oatmeal before. I am an oatmeal lover and should eat it more. The apricot topping looks wonderful.

Dawn said...

you know I have become a recent fan of stell cut oats. I was also amazed at how much they keep me going well past noontime. I need to try mine with the apricots.

Paula said...

Hi Everyone!

Lo: I'm all for anything heavenly!

Noble Pig: I like all forms of oatmeal, but especially like these.

MaryBeth: I like my oatmeal on the thicker side, but these can me made thinner just like regular oatmeal.

Gloria: Happy New Year! I haven't had a fresh apricot in years. Ooooh, I'd love to pick one off your trees and devour it!

Jan: Thanks! It's a great way to start the day.

Dp: Aren't steel cut oats great! I really like toasting them prior to cooking, too.

Katherine: Sometimes they are called pin oats, too. They are worth finding and trying. The texture just can't be beat!

Dawn: Like your new photo! The steel cut oats really are a great morning fuel!

ChefBliss.com said...

We eat steel cut oatmeal at least 3 or 4 days a week. And each of us tops it our own way. I have perfected microwave oatmeal, we occasionally use the slow cooker (thanks to Alton Brown) and sometimes do the stove top too! I love mine topped with agave and either dried fruit & nuts or milk, my love swears by lots of cinnamon and agave, super simple. I do miss brown sugar (we can't/don't use it in our house) and yours looks super scrumptious!! Great post!

Lori said...

I love oatmeal too, and your skirlie recipe is now a favorite of mine. I haven't tried steel cut yet, but your recipe looks like a good place to start.

Deborah said...

I've never been an oatmeal fan for breakfast, but I've also never tried steel cut oats. I should give this a try!