Thursday, July 27, 2017

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats

The grocery store keeps posting coupons for English muffins, so I've been having them for breakfast and cracking open jars of homemade jam.  It's great, but I'm ready for a change.

On the cruise this spring, Holland America had cups of cold oatmeal out every morning.  I tried one by mistake, thinking it was rice pudding.  It was too sweet, but not bad.

Instead of rolled oats, I decided to do this experiment with steel-cut.  Logically, it would simply take longer to soak in the milk than with rolled oats, but if you're doing it overnight, that's eight to ten hours. More than enough time to soften the grains.

You could also do this as a shortcut to hot steel-cut oats by soaking overnight and bringing the whole thing to a simmer with a bit of water in the morning.  That cuts 45 minutes down to no more than 10, with the same result.  What I liked about the concept was making a single serving at once.  Since steel-cut oats take so long to make, you usually make several days' worth at a time.  I just put everything for one breakfast in a one-cup ramekin and stashed it in the fridge overnight.

I went a little crazy with the toppings, but it was a nice way to break up the monotony of the oats.  Two chopped dried figs made the whole thing sweet enough that I didn't have to add sugar.  Then I sprinkled in a pinch of coconut flakes, a tiny bit of chopped crystallized ginger, and about a tablespoon of chopped walnuts.  All of it was in there while it soaked, which softened up everything into a kind of thick oatmeal soup, but not soggy.  I liked it.

1/4 C dry steel-cut oats
1/4 C milk
2 Tb water (or to taste)
*up to 1/4 C (4 Tb) mix-ins such as dried fruit, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, sweetener, spices, or fresh fruit

1.  Into a bowl or 1-cup jar, place oats.  Pour in milk.  If serving cold, put in the water now.  If planning to serve warm, you'll boil the water in the morning and stir it in.

2.  Add mix-ins, but you don't need to stir them in now.  There's enough liquid that they can float on top and still soften.  For fresh fruit, you can add it to the oatmeal at serving time.
3.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and up to 12.  At serving time, either have it cold or boil water and add about 2 Tb to warm it.  Alternately, you can microwave the oatmeal, adding more water if it's too thick.

Serves 1

Difficulty rating  π

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