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steel cut oats

Steel Cut Oats

September 9, 2009

This post, due to a crazy schedule, will be a bit shorter than most, but I wanted to take time to pay tribute to my mom’s favorite breakfast food. While not a blogger herself, she did seem to think she should have input into the editorial content of THIS blog. Photo credits on this post even go to her, because in her enthusiasm for me to post about her beloved steel cut oatmeal, she took photos of her own breakfast.

Now, as a disclaimer on my end, I am not a huge consumer of steel cut oatmeal. Not because I have any complaints about flavor or texture, in fact I enjoy both quite a bit, but because of the time it takes to make them properly. When I reach for a bowl of oatmeal, it’s usually the regular rolled oats, made in the microwave. But when I am home, my mom always seems to have a pot of steel cut oatmeal on the stove, usually enough for leftovers as well. In my opinion, that’s they only way to make them because they take about 30 minutes of stovetop cooking before they are ready, and leftovers save time on busy days.

What makes this particular version different than other types of oats, like quick cooking or rolled oats, is the taste and texture. In my estimation, it’s a texture much closer to cooked barley than traditional oatmeal. Hearty and with a bit of a crunch, it makes a small amount of oatmeal somehow feel like more. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the taste. When you cook steel cut oats, it’s often recommended that a bit of salt is added. This gives them an undeniably delicious nutty flavor.

My favorite traditional way to eat oatmeal of any time is to cook up a serving, about 1/2 cup dry, and once cooked, add in a teaspoon of brown sugar, a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, a splash of milk, and a tablespoon of peanut butter (preferably the natural kind). The peanut butter is your secret weapon to creamy and delicious oatmeal every time.

While traditionalists may argue that sweet is the only way to go, I would contend that steel cut oats make a perfect platform for a savory breakfast as well. Add in a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese, some chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or basil, a dash of salt, and a touch of butter and you have the perfect dish to serve with bacon, sausage, or eggs. I wouldn’t recommend this version for regular oats. Something about the texture would just seem wrong, but that’s the beauty of nutty steel cut oats.

Here’s to breakfast any time of the day!


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