This is my 100th post! Ok, I didn't plan this, but it is quite appropriate that this momentous occasion will be commemorated with a post about oatmeal. After never liking oatmeal as a child, I have become obsessed with this stuff in the past few months. One key change was switching from rolled oats to steel-cut, and that makes a huge difference in the taste (although now I even like the rolled kind). And I figured that while I was going for the more whole version of the grain, I might as well go whole hog and cook up some oat groats (uncut and unrolled oats - the equivalent of a wheat berry in the oat world). The unfortunate thing about whole grains is that they take longer to cook, but that's where the crock pot comes in handy.
Crock pot oat groats (adapted from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kauffman)
1 1/2 cups whole oat groats, picked over
6 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt
Combine everything in a 3-5 qt. crock pot. Cook on low overnight (7-9 hours). If it's thinner than you like, remove lid and cook for a few more minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. Serves 5-6.
This was my first try at making oatmeal in the crock pot, and I will definitely be doing this again. It's incredibly easy and is ready the second you want it. I was worried about getting the consistency right, but this recipe worked out perfectly for my taste.
I was surprised how different this was compared to steel-cut oatmeal. It had a similar consistency (I love that you can distinguish the individual pieces of both types), but it wasn't as sweet or nutty as steel-cut. I ended up adding cinnamon and a bit of agave to my first bowl, and that worked great. But I started to think that this would be the perfect oatmeal for a savory twist.
Mark Bittman (of "How to Cook Everything" and "Food Matters" fame) made the news when he raved about eating oatmeal with soy sauce and scallions. I've been reluctant to try it, but these oat groats were crying out for something savory, so I gave it a shot (adding a couple of dashes of soy sauce and about 1/2 of a green onion, chopped). The conclusion: I'm addicted. This is fabulous! The only downside is that you're stuck with onion breath for the day (and even brushing my teeth doesn't seem to get rid of it). It's totally worth it, though.
You may have noticed that I've been trying to improve the blog over the past few days. This means that I've been digging through old posts, and it's amazing how much it has changed in just 100 posts. I'm still loving this (probably a bit too much), and I can't wait to hit 200!