Monday, March 31, 2014

Mastering Steel Cut Oats

My office is very nice. They use one of those fancy rice cookers to cook up a giant pot of steel cut oats for us every morning for breakfast and every morning I stare at the gluey chewy mass and shudder. I know its good for me and I should try to eat it but the few times I have requires me to stir in a giant spoonful of peanut butter and top it with lots of cinnamon sugar. I still give up after a few bites. It's gooey, tasteless, overy chewy, and generally unappealing. It cools in the manner of quick drying cement, fast and hard. So, generally I skip breakfast or have a piece of cheese or a 1/2 cup of nuts instead. Then I read about crock potting steel cut oats. That seemed simple enough so I began to experiment at home with my own supply of organic steel cut oats. It wasn't much better. I gave it up again for another year or so. Recently I've been searching again for a quick filling breakfast. I came across the crock pot oats again but with a twist. It's basically a double boiler method. You fill a mason jar or large bowl with the mixture, stick it in your crock pot, fill the crock up with water about half way up the side of the jar and wake up in the AM to perfect oat meal. If you're lucky (or over prepared) like me, you have one of the 3-in-1 crocks. It basically has 3 sizes, a 4, 6, and 8 quart crock that all fit into the same base. I used the 4 inside the 8. It made a luscious creamy mass of oats with just a little bite but I felt like I was wasting heat with all that extra water in the 8 that was under the 4 and just heating up the oats. Also, while the oats were wonderful texturally I never liked how much sweetner it took for me to cozy up to them but at the supermarket I realized the solution. I bought a bunch of tiny sweet potatoes and cooked them in the water underneath the oats then mashed them into the oats when done. It was sweet and delicious. It stores well in the fridge but does tighten up when cold. I mix in a little almond milk in the AM to loosen it back up to a desireable texture and eat it just like that. Cold and still delicious with no addition sugars!

Sweet Potato Steel Cut Oats

1 cup organic steel cut oats
1 cup almond milk (real milk or just water also works here but water will be less creamy)
4 cups water

1 lb sweet potatoes (try to find dinky ones about 3 inches long and as skinny as possible so they will fit into your crock better)

1 cup dried fruit (optional but I used unsweetened unsulfured apricots roughly chopped)

Find a 4 quart mason jar or large bowl that will fit in your crock pot. I'm using the 4 quart crock that comes with my 3-in-1 pot. Add oats, almond milk, water, and dried fruit to container. Add container to the crock pot. Fit the sweet potates cleaned but unpeeled around the container. Fill crock with enough water to come about 3/4 of the way up the crock and ensure all potatoes are submerged (its ok if they float but if you press down on them, they should come under the top of the water. Set it on low. I cook mine over night about 8 hours and its fine but I think its probably done in 6. Fish out the potatoes. Slip the skins off and mash into the oatneal. Enjoy!

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