new food friday 09.24.10

by Stacy

We’re packing up to move to a new apartment in a few days, so we’re trying to minimize the amount of stuff (food included) that comes in. It’s not quite pantry-busting, but I’m really trying to use what we have. My husband is doing his part by only eating Cheerios.

new food friday

This is what brought me to today’s new food. It’s not a new food for me at all, but sometimes (often) I worry about my husband’s lack of dietary variation. I offer to make him breakfast fairly often, but he usually refuses and eats cold cereal. Today I bullied sweet-talked him into having oatmeal.

Not just any oatmeal, though.

rolled vs. steel cut oats

On the left? Rolled oats. I eat them for a quick hot breakfast sometimes and use them in granola and cookies.

On the right? Steel-cut oats, sometimes called Irish oatmeal. You can get McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal in a 4-pack of attractive tins. Alternatively, you can buy them in the bulk section of the grocery store for about a dollar per pound.

steel cut oats

Unlike mushy rolled oats, steel-cut oats become creamy and chewy when cooked. The downside is that they do take longer to prepare — about 30 minutes. Two easy ways to avoid this: make them overnight on the stove (bring water to a boil, stir in oats, cover, turn off heat and let stand overnight, reheat for breakfast), or in a crockpot (add water and oats, stir, leave on low overnight).

Use 3 parts water, 1 part oats. My normal breakfast serving is 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oats. For non-overnight cooking: bring water to a boil, stir in oats, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until water is absorbed. If you like your oats a bit softer and creamier, add another tablespoon or two of water or milk near the end of the cooking time.

steel cut oats

Texture-wise, they’re great. Flavor-wise, plain oats are still plain oats. I like to doctor mine up a bit. This morning’s toppings: a dash of cinnamon, golden and Thompson raisins, walnut pieces, maple syrup, chia seeds, and a spoonful of peanut butter.

steel cut oats all dressed up

If you’ve never tried stirring nut butters into your oatmeal, you’re missing out. The added flavor is fantastic and the fat and protein help keep you full even longer than the oats alone.

Have you had steel-cut oats? What’s your favorite topping?
Did you try a new food this week?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

tater1112 September 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I did try a new food this week – I thought of you as I put it in my shopping cart!

I tried the small hardy kiwis, or as Whole Foods calls them, “passion poppers”. Just tell me that doesn’t sound dirty. They were much as I’ve always read them described – smooth skin, the size of large grapes, but a flavor and texture just like a regular fuzzy kiwi. Reid was a little wierded out by them, so I had to eat the rest of the container myself. Oh, well.

I hope the move goes well. I have some boxes and packing paper if you want to come pick it up. 😉


Stacy September 25, 2010 at 11:15 am

That does sound dirty – I’ve never seen those, but I’ve never looked for them, either. Sometimes it’s a bonus when the hubby doesn’t want to eat some foods (arugula, I’m talking about you) because I get more. 😉

Thanks, me too! And ha. ;p


Bridget September 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Love love love steel cut oats! I toast them in a wee bit of butter before cooking them, which gives them such a great butterscotchy flavor.


Stacy September 25, 2010 at 11:15 am

Ooh, I have done this before but I always forget, mostly because I’m bleary-eyed and can’t think past boiling water before my coffee.


ronnie September 25, 2010 at 12:58 am

This week’s new foods are stinging nettles and tiny baby eels, both of which ended up in the same soup.


Stacy September 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

Somehow the mental image of this has turned into an epic cartoon in my head. We got nettles in our CSA a while back, but I didn’t manage to use them before they were past their prime.


Erika September 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

We tried kiwi berries! They were awesome…about the size of grapes, but when you cut them open, they look and taste like tiny little kiwis. Yummy.


Naomi October 3, 2010 at 5:48 am

Has anyone tried baked oatmeal? I saw it on a coffee shop menu. Recipes vary, including what kind of oats. Some call for steel cut oats and some call for rolled oats. Pretty much seems like cake to me, but sounds great. One discussion also referred to soaked oatmeal porridge. The soaking is supposed to make the oatmeal more digestible and the nutrients more available.

We use old fashioned rolled oats as they cook faster. We boil 1.5 cups of water (salted if you like), then add 1 cup rolled oats without stirring. Simmer on low, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed. If you like throw in some chopped walnuts. Take pot off heat and let sit, covered, until you eat. The oatmeal has texture with the flakes plump but intact. A great twist is to add raisins to the water at the beginning. The plump up and are a sweet surprise on the underside of the oatmeal when you scoop it up–kind of like an upside down cake. Serve with yogurt and cinnamon!


Naomi October 3, 2010 at 8:16 am

p.s. Note on my method for cooking old fashioned rolled oats: When you add the oats to the already boiling water, you can barely stir or just jiggle the pot just enough to get the oats wet. Turn heat to simmer right away. Sometimes I add cinnamon, ginger and/or blueberries with the oats–with barely a stir.

I have never tried adding nut butters to oatmeal–great tip!


Stacy October 3, 2010 at 9:39 am

I’ve heard of baked oatmeal, but have never tried it. You can also make it in the slow cooker, it looks like.

I have heard of soaking for many whole grains. They contain phytic acid which hinders digestion, so soaking them (often in a slightly acidic liquid) is supposed to help combat that. One of my most recent lectures for my health coaching program was by Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, who is a huge proponent of soaked grains. I didn’t get through the book, but I am interested in trying some of her recipes.


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