Saturday, March 15, 2014

Megan's oatmeal

Well it was a pretty ordinary Saturday in my household - ordinary and extraordinary because we've had a non-stop streak of saturday weddings and so we were hopelessly out of the most basic groceries, even my instant oatmeal (!) and muesli. 

Mr Grey promptly decided to eat last night's leftovers for breakfast, I poked around, considered my options and then decided that today would The Day. 

Let me explain. 

Somewhere up in my head there is a vague list of foods that I mean to one day get around to actually making From Scratch. The list changes pretty much all the time and unfortunately, it usually gets added to without my having the time to cross anything off it. Today however, was the Day I managed to finally FINALLY cross off one of the most basic items: real deal oatmeal From Scratch. 

There's nothing special about oatmeal in particular except that I learnt to eat it and like it in Australia.  Only I kept making the instant kind because - who makes oatmeal from scratch anymore? But then I kept reading and hearing that instant oatmeal is nothing like the real deal From Scratch kind. The kind you make with oats, water and milk on a stove instead of instant oats in the microwave. 

Anyway, I don't know if it's because I picked an especially good recipe - the review on Orangette was breathless with enthusiasm - or because oatmeal from scratch really tastes better but the result was incredible

People, anybody reading this, if you decide to make it, please please don't skip the step where you toast the oats. It is delicious and adds this faint butter-y fragrance to oatmeal and quite changes its character from the kind of healthy breakfast you try to endure to a luxurious one that you look forward to making (and eating) again and again. 

Megan's Oatmeal via Orangette

The recipe itself is pretty simple. What it takes unfortunately, is that precious resource I don't often have much of - time. Most days, my breakfast needs to get on the table in something like 5 minutes flat and oatmeal takes at least half an hour. 

But I discovered that it's an excellent way to spend your saturday morning because it doesn't actually take a whole lot of work. Only the first five minutes when you're toasting your oats requires your full attention. The rest of the time, you can leave it on the stove over medium low heat simmering and only give it a stir every couple of minutes. 

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (175 grams) steel-cut oats
3 ¼ cups (780 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (12 grams) natural cane sugar (I used muscovado)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey for serving

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oats, and cook, stirring occasionally, until quite fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a 2 ½- to 3-quart saucepan, bring the water, milk, sugar, and salt to a simmer. (Be careful: I find that this mixture goes quickly from zero to boiling and has a tendency to boil over.) Stir in the toasted oats. Adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer, and partially cover the saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping and scorching, until the mixture has thickened and the oats are soft, 25 to 30 minutes. The cereal will still be quite loose at this point, but don’t worry; it will continue to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat, allow it to rest for a few minutes (still partially covered), and then serve hot, with maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey
.(I had mine with maple syrup but will try it with honey next time)

Serving size note: It says on Orangette that the recipe serves four but um, I think I'm either an enormous eater or it serves four very tiny people. I halved the recipe for myself and expected leftovers but ... to my surprise, it cooked down to just about one serving of oatmeal. Which was fine (see above for Mr Grey's breakfast choices) but next time I'm making the full recipe just so I can have leftovers ... or you know, should Mr Grey decide to eat oatmeal with me.

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