Monday, November 24, 2008

Recipe: Cranberry Walnut Steel Cut Oats

I love starting my day with a nice bowl of steel cut oatmeal. Topped with dried cranberries, walnuts, and coconut this is a perfect start to the morning.

Growing up, I was never a big fan of oatmeal. My grandfather ate it and thought it was something for old people - a soggy kind of cereal, high in fiber, but lacking flavor.

It wasn't until I lived in San Francisco that I discovered Steel Cut oats. My friend Tam had these beautiful looking tins of McCann's Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal in her kitchen, which piqued my curiosity. Previously I had never seen anything other than the Quaker man on a package of oats.

I noticed them later at my local Trader Joes and decided to take some home to try. They required more time to cook (25 minutes as opposed to 5 minutes for rolled oats), but it wasn't like I was cooking rolled oats anyway. So I made them one day and I was sold. Steel cut oats are now a regular part of my breakfast ritual.

I think you'll find the extra twenty minutes well worth it. Unlike the other stuff that 'passes' for breakfast food (e.g. toast, cereal, coffee), steel cut oats will provide a steady, quality source of energy that will last throughout the morning. I mean isn't that the intention of breakfast anyway?

To make oatmeal more exciting, I recommend alternating your toppings. Personal favorites include dried cranberries, raisins, crystallized ginger, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and shredded coconut. I also add a bit of flax, walnut or coconut oil to give it a healthy bit of fat.

Also, who said you need to be in the kitchen while your breakfast is cooking? I often get ready while the oats are on the stove. Here is the recipe:

Serves 3

1 cup steel cut oatmeal
2 cups water
a pinch of salt
dried cranberries
shredded coconut
flax oil

Bring water to boil in a medium sized pot. Add oatmeal and return to boil. Then let simmer 20-25 minutes until fully cooked, mixing periodically. Serve in bowls with cranberries, walnuts, coconut, a teaspoon of flax oil, and a pinch of salt. Enjoy!

Another fun tip: Add a ginger tea bag to oatmeal while cooking. Will infuse a nice flavor to the oats.


vivek Jayadeva said...

Good idea with the ginger tea bag! Have you tried slow-cooked steel-cut oats? That's a breakfast staple for me. Before I go to bed, I put it in the slow cooker on low and wake up to a ready made breakfast. It really breaks down the toughness of the oats, creating a meal that's still chewy, but also creamy and easily digestible.

Trupti said...

Steel cut oats do taste better,and are totally worth the price....I like mine with stewed apples and cloves and of course- cinnamon. the ginger tea bag is a fab idea!


Michele said...

I picked up some organic steel cut oats after reading this post and have been enjoying them every morning since! I make them in my Zojurushi rice cooker using the "porridge" option. I cook them at night and keep them on warm through the night. In the morning, the oats are absolutely perfect. So much better than the rolled variety!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I just bought a Sanyo fuzzy logic-type rice cooker. I am curious about how long it takes to cook your steel cut oats? Thanks in advance...

Anonymous said...

When I use my rice cooker I put the oats and water in and turn it on the night before. It's usually perfect in the morning.. Just remember to use the 'porridge' setting.

Anonymous said...

Ameet, do you really use half of the amount of water called for on the oat container? Mine (also from Trader Joe's) calls for a 4 to 1 water to oat ratio. Thanks.

Ameet Maturu said...

Great question about the water. There is really no 'right' amount. When I posted this, I preferred a thicker oatmeal. These days I am cooking with a 4 to 1 ratio of water to oats. Either way, I am sure you will enjoy.

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