Steel-Cut Oatmeal

I’m a breakfast person. Having some food in the morning makes me think better and generally feel better the rest of the day. Have a few things I rotate through for breakfast depending on my mood. One thing I’ve been into this past winter is steel cut oatmeal. It’s

Uncooked Steel-Cut Oats

different than the rolled oats you get in the store. It is the whole grain groat (inner portion of kernel) that has been cut into 2-3 pieces with steel rather than rolled. It looks a bit like rice, except a golden brown.

There are a lot of minor variations on how to cook steel-cut oats. Here’s what I currently use.

Steel-Cut Oats (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups 1% milk (I generally use organic milk)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Honey & cinnamon to taste

Directions

  1. Combine water, milk, & salt in small cooking pot
  2. Heat until just boiling on medium heat. (NOTE: Watch carefully!! With milk, it will come to a boil quickly).
  3. Add oats and vanilla. Cook on medium-low, until done. Stir frequently (like every minute or two – you don’t want this sticking to the bottom of the pot!)
  4. It takes 20-25 minutes to cook. It has a pearly texture when finished cooking.
  5. Pour into 4 cereal bowls. Top with honey and cinnamon.
  6. You may wish to serve with fruit and/or maple syrup. My husband puts chocolate syrup on his and thinks it tastes like chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Thin with additional milk or water if needed.

You can make this with only water, but the milk gives it a nice creamy flavor. You can find steel-cut oats in most grocery stores. It’s a bit spendy, but my son has found it for a fraction of the price at a local food coop.

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Amaranth – Grain of the Gods

I like to explore the use of some of the more unfamiliar grains in cooking — so this weekend decided it would be amaranth since I’ve had some in my cupboard for a couple weeks. Amaranth is a small, nutty type of grain and is considered a complete protein source. It was a staple in Aztec and Inca cultures and was even used in religious ceremonies.

I will occasionally make a pilaf with the grain for something different. Last weekend, I made the pilaf below which I found in my “Clean Eating” magazine, made a few changes and this is the result. This pilaf has a bit of a kick to it and thought it went well with the roast chicken and roasted asparagus.

Amaranth Pilaf

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. each chili powder and paprika
2 cups chicken broth, preferably low sodium
2 plum tomatoes, finely diced
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. saffron threads (original recipe says this is optional – I like the yellow hue and subtle flavor)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper
1 cup amaranth

Instructions:
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes
2. Add chili power and paprika. Stir to coat onion/garlic
3. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, thyme, saffron, salt and peppers. Bring to boil. Stir in amaranth, bringing back to a boil. Reduce head and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
4. Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes before serving.

Will post some recipes for quinoa, bulgur, and barley in the future as time and ambition permits.