Friday, June 5, 2009

Food: Steel Cut Oats Are My New BFF

Yesterday, we went to our favorite farmer's market, where a container of ripe, sweet strawberries cost me a whole dollar. I needed to use them as soon as possible, so this morning, I stirred them into my oatmeal, and it was a revelation! "This is what that sticky-sweet sugarfest of 'Strawberries and Cream' Quaker oatmeal wants to be when it grows up!" I told the baby, who answered with a 'mama' and an open mouth like a baby bird. Delicious.

Shown with a dollop of plain yogurt and a little brown sugar
I have been trying to eat only whole grains for the past several months (and achieved lower than my pre-baby weight only seven months after her birth! Yippee!), and, I'll admit, I was always smitten with the retro styling of the McCann's Irish Oatmeal tin, but was loath to spend six bucks for oatmeal, so I always held back before. One day, my man insisted that I should have that oatmeal, and my breakfast world changed forever.
Steel cut oats are basically whole oats that have been, yes, steel cut. They are not processed or rolled, and when one first sees them, one wonders if she is about to eat livestock feed. But after the cooking, these oats are creamy, toothy, chewy, and utterly delicious.
The basic directions are on the tin or box, but this morning, I substituted some skim milk for the water, and added a spoon of sugar (I was feeling saucy, and I was out of Splenda), and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
After letting the oatmeal cook for 25 minutes, I stirred in about half a cup of coarse chopped strawberries, and let the porridge cool for a little while.
There are several good brands of steel cut oats out there (most much less than six dollars, but having that gorgeous McCann's tin on top of my stove in my retro kitchen makes me happy every time I see it, and was totally worth the one-time splurge). Even our local grocery store has its own version under their store label organic brand, so look for it -- you will not be sorry.

I've heard a rumor that there is a 'quick' way to cook these, so I'm off to track that down, and I'll test it tomorrow.


  1. I also was "taken in" by the McCann's packaging, and bought some a while back.... but my problem is that I HATE cooking when I wake up, and hardly ever eat breakfast. If something takes longer than 5 minutes of my time, I usually never end up doing it in the mornings... But I DO love the steel cut oats. Conundrum.
    Please let me know if you find any faster methods for cooking these!

  2. It's good to hear that the McCann's packaging is so popular! I am with McCann's, and completely understand your desire for a quick breakfast. One popular short cut for cooking steel-cuts is the rice-cooker method.

    Add 1 cup dry steel cut oats to 2 cups + 3oz water (19 oz.) Set rice cooker to the oatmeal (porridge) setting, and also use the pre-washed rice setting. (Using the pre-washed rice setting along with the porridge setting, minimizes the tendency of the oats to boil over*.)

    Stir the oats halfway through the cooking cycle.

    Hopefully this helps! For more short cuts check this out:

    Hopefully these short cuts will allow you to enjoy steel cuts as often as you like!

  3. Thanks, Leah! I'm off to check out the website right now (don't know why I didn't do it sooner!)



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