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!