“And in that moment…I swear we were oatmeal.”
Steel-cut oatmeal, that is.
And you are what you eat.
(Also: this is my first official blog post. Perhaps I should celebrate with confetti. Or more oatmeal.)
Before you run away screaming because the sight of the word “oatmeal” conjures up memories of your mother forcing some goop down your throat during the winter months, just let me tell you with confidence that this is no ordinary oatmeal.
Here’s the backstory on how this blessed miracle came to be: my friend Kathryn took her mother’s advice and decided to order steel-cut oatmeal from Amazon. What she didn’t realize, however, was that she received not one, not two, not three, but four boxes (17 servings apiece) of steel-cut oatmeal. The following conversation then occurred:
“Hey, Caty, I have a ton of steel-cut oatmeal. Wanna make some?”
After all, who am I to refuse a temptation of real breakfast food, especially at 7 in the evening when my brain is already completely fried from classes and midterms?
Unfortunately, from the photo, you can’t truly appreciate the general uncleanliness and incredibly close quarters of our dorm kitchen. To all those with sanitized, spacious, well-equipped kitchens…count your blessings. Your blessings are probably more commonly known as spoons, hot pads, whisks, baking sheets, strainers, and spatulas.
There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.
And it tastes like the breakfast of the angels.
(Or nighttime snack.)
(Do angels even eat?)
Let’s talk about this for a moment. What makes steel-cut oats different from regular ol’ rolled oats (say that three times fast!)? Steel-cut oats are, according to Wikipedia (yes, I still look up stuff on Wikipedia), the inner portion of the oat kernel. Ooh, fancy. This means they’re less processed and take longer to cook than traditional oatmeal. The extra twenty-odd minutes are absolutely worth it. There’s nothing mushy or runny or – dare I say it – slimy about it.
They’re chewy, satisfying, substantive, definitely “oat-y”, even a little nutty…the way oatmeal should be. Don’t be off-set by the “health food!!” implication. If seasoned correctly, it’s a little like eating an enormous, soft oatmeal cookie with a spoon.
See? One enormous cookie made on the stove.
Yes, we had to stir with a knife. There was a distinct lack of spoons in any of the drawers. Sigh.
Honestly, though, you don’t even need to pretend you’re eating something sinful. It’s okay to embrace food that just happens to be delicious and healthy at the same time. Who says it needs to be boring? Go bonkers. Spice it up. Sprinkle nutmeg, shower blueberries, smash up bananas, stir in yogurt or granola or nut butter, whatever floats your root beer. Life is too short to eat food that isn’t delicious.
It only took one taste to convert me from traditional oats to the goodness that is steel-cut oats. Thank God Kathryn has over three and a half boxes left.
Just don’t add any honey. Please, I implore you. Trust me. (or prove me wrong)
Do, however, feel free to add fruit and milk and maple syrup and sugar. And cinnamon. Lots and lots of cinnamon.
Steel-Cut Oats, adapted from the Arrowhead Mills box
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 3 cups water
- dash of salt – optional, but recommended
- 1/2-3/4 tsp vanilla extract (or another extract of your choosing, such as almond or hazelnut) – optional
- Add the oats and salt to water. Add extract and stir briefly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- After the water boils, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the oats, stirring occasionally, for about 17-25 minutes. The amount of time will depend on how much liquid you like in your oats and whether you prefer them to be chewier (less time) or softer (more time).
- Douse with cinnamon, sweetener, fruit, yogurt, or whatever else you desire. Bid “audieu” to all other kinds of oatmeal mush and devour.
(The two middle photos were taken by Kathryn. I bake and then blog about it; she’s the one behind the scenes with an eye for photography, generally artsy ideas, and a fancy iPhone. We make a good team.)