Nature’s Greatest Grain

I never liked the sloppy, bland look of oatmeal as a kid. Having adults hype it to me as a heart-healthy food “that’ll keep you regular” didn’t make me want to try it any more.  A few winters ago, while eating cold cereal my wife sat down next to me, warming her hands with a cinnamon besprinkled bowl of oats. With a covetous glance I asked, “So, is that stuff any good?”

I’d Found Ambrosia For Mere Mortals

Why the hell hadn’t I tried this stuff before? This was just the high octane, power-packed kickstart to the day I needed. I felt a tinge of regret at all of those cold, empty mornings spent with Mr. T cereal (all due respect to Mr. T). I liked the stuff so much I’ve been eating it every day since 2005 unless traveling prevents it. That’s over 1,800 bowls of oatmeal and I’m nowhere near close to tired of the stuff. What can I say, I’m making up for lost time.

Minute Oats are for Chumps

Now, to be clear, I’m talking about real oatmeal, not minute oats. I know everyone’s busy, but if you can spare a minute to microwave something you can spare four. It’s not like your standing at the stove stirring a pot or anything. Minute oats have the consistency of sawdust, no matter how much syrup you pour onto it. I’m no chef, but I believe I’ve perfected the basic day-to-day oatmeal fix up:

  1. Use Milk with fat in it. 2% at the lightest.  Never use water.
  2. Scoop oats into a bowl at least 2x larger than the food occupies.  This prevents overflow while microwaving.
  3. Pour a little less than the instructed amount of milk into bowl.
  4. Microwave it for 3:00 – 3:30
  5. Let it sit there for a few minutes.  It’ll steam up & get a little dry.
  6. Add the rest of the milk.  I usually use more than the directions call for.
  7. Microwave it again for 1:00 – 1:30
  8. Sprinkle or pour whatever you want on it.  I prefer a little brown sugar and a little more cinnamon.

The Fanciest Oats In All The Land

While on a trip to Chicago I ate at Orange Cafe & had their Pan-Seared Oatmeal.  It’s steel-cut oatmeal cooked with apple-cider, cream & spices, and baked.  Then it’s pan-seared and drizzled in an apple cider reduction. It’s easily one of the best oat-meals I’ve ever had. For dessert, try my wife’s apple/fruit crumble recipe:

  1. Peel, core and chop about 6 large granny smiths (apples, that is)
  2. Toss apple bits with 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 c. dark brown sugar; pour into 9 x 11 baking dish
  3. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 c. flour, 2 c. rolled oats, 1.5 c. dark brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. Stir in 1.5 to 2 sticks room-temperature unsalted butter to oat mixture until it starts to stick together like paste.
  5. Spread oat mixture evenly over apples
  6. Bake at 400* F for 30-40 mins or until crust just begins to brown.
Tag(s): FoodOpinion