22 October 2010

What's Cookin? ... Oatmeal

I'm reviving my occasional series of recipes for my old friend JCL from another blog. So they are all here (all the ones worth eating, anyway) I'll occasionally cheat and import an old one... like my oatmeal recipe.

It's confession time. I hated all cooked cereals right up until I lived in Scotland. Even in summer, Scotland is cold and a bowl of hot, creamy oatmeal in the morning does more to keep a body warm than any volume of hot tea. Unfortunately, Americans can't buy truly fresh porridge oats. Our choices, even the imported varieties, need an extra whollop of help.

When buying oats for porridge, buy the brand that most looks like a 'meal.' It should look like coarsely ground grain, not flakes or hard little chunklets. (Those have other uses.) Our favorite variety is Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal which is the real deal; stone ground in a real water mill. I'm still trying to find out whose. (I have my suspicions!)

The following recipe is as good for dinner on a lazy evening as it is for breakfast on a cold morning. You will not feel snackey after even a small bowl!

1 cup oatmeal
3 cups water
pinch salt
flax seeds
dried cherries

Into a 1 1/2 quart sized pot, place your carefully measured oats and a three-fingered pinch of salt. Now take a big handful of walnuts and break them up a bit. Toss into the pot. Throw in the same volume of raisins but be sure they aren't just a big lump. Measure your flax by thinly covering the surface of the oats. Finally, add cold water. Turn the heat on under your ugly gruel. Medium-low is best. Never stop stirring... slowly... until your oatmeal is thickened. Oats are done when the bubbles are thick and leave a hole when they pop.

Do not believe the package when it says to add oats to boiling water. You will spend all your time breaking up lumps and think making good porridge is difficult. Good porridge is brain-dead work.

Now pour into bowls... this makes two large servings or three regular ones... and add sweetener to taste. I like brown sugar or mesquite honey while Mr. Fuzzy likes sorghum molasses. Next, add milk to bring the consistency back to smooth and a bit runny. Finally, top with a handful of dried cherries.

Eat and have a happy tummy!

Variations: Substitute pecans for the walnuts or dried cranberries for the cherries. Or go overboard and use all of the above. If you're able to plan ahead make the Rolls Royce of porridge and soak the oats overnight in 1 1/2 cups milk.

Final tip:
if you've added too much water don't worry. Porridge is one of those foods that was traditionally "kept on the fire." Just keep cooking, gently, until the correct consistency is reached. You almost can't add too much water at the start! If you make too much put it in the fridge, add more water, and cook slowly until it's porridge again.


Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free said...

Yum! This looks great! Can't wait to try it :)

Anonymous said...

How much oats per 1 1/2 cups milk?