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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ultimate Steel-Cut Oatmeal


My sister and brother-in-law share my love for cooking and recipes. They have made several recipes from the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, and it's something I had been wanting for a while. My mom and dad got it for me for Christmas several years ago, so I was so excited to find new recipes inside.

First off, I LOVE that it's a metal-ring binder style cookbook. My Mom's 1970's Betty Crocker Cookbook is in this format, and I always wanted a cookbook like this. Browsing through this book makes me want to cook non-stop for a month - there are so many recipes I would like to try! One that caught my eye right away was this recipe for Steel-Cut Oats. I had a container of them in my pantry and had every other ingredient on hand, (which never happens!).

I am not a traditional oatmeal lover. In fact, I had a very bad experience with oatmeal as a child. I begged my mom to let me have an oatmeal with red gummy bears (gag) for dinner one night instead of tuna casserole (double gag). Why we even had this in the house I will never know. It turned into a slimy, soggy, pink slop and I did not want to eat it. I remember trying to bribe my dad to eat it (he quickly shot me down). This was the last time I ate oatmeal until college, when my roommate Kathleen showed me how to make it in a way that is not soggy or slimy - she uses about 1/4 the amount of water recommended. I continued to enjoy my oatmeal this way, and even made a similarly-textured baked oatmeal.

This dish takes some time to make, but the result is a creamy, but not soggy, oatmeal that can be tailored to your specific tastes. I decided to add in grated apple, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and some brown sugar, but ATK suggests a number of different variations, including maple syrup, honey, figs, walnuts, and/or bananas. The second time I made this, I doubled the recipe and we reheated the leftovers each morning. 

Ultimate Steel-Cut Oats

3 cups water
1 cup 1% lowfat milk*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional add-ins:
1/2 large, peeled and grated sweet apple (such as Fuji)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*ATK advises against using skim milk. I actually only had skim and whole milk, so I used whole. Not as healthy, but it was gooood!

1. Bring the water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the oats and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

3. Stir the oats into the simmering liquid, reduce the heat,to medium-low, and simmer gently until the mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes.

4. Stir in the salt and the optional add-ins and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy, about 10 minutes (if doubling the recipe, increase this to 15 minutes). Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Source: Adapted from the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

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