Steel Cut Oats

November 2, 2010

The morning has its own hallelujah.

The alarm sounds and my body tightens. Stretch. Move. Roll over. The logic of my mind works against me, convincing me that nothing could be better than the warmth of my blankets. There is no possibility of rejection there, no failure, no expectation. It is safe, and warm. I have never understood what gets morning people out of bed. But the truth of matter is, there are many great things to get up for the morning. Namely, breakfast and coffee.

I am not ashamed to say it is the hope a french press of good coffee, and something simple and tasty for my morning meal that initially gets me out of bed. Easily my favorite meal of the day (and the most important, as my father always reminded me), it sets the tone for the hours ahead. It is in the quiet of the day that everything seems possible. The sound of the coffee grinder breaks the silence, the aromas of an Ethiopian coffee transport me, and this morning, it was the heartiness and warmth of steel cut oats that stuck to my bones. This is a cold weather favorite for me – something a bit more substantial to get me through the darker months. Though steel cut oats take longer to make than normal oatmeal, the wait is worth it. The chewy texture and nutty flavor is a nice way to start the day. And why not take an extra 30 minutes in the morning to enjoy breakfast? Take the time to read, sit, drink coffee, stare out the window, pray. Your body and soul will be glad that you did.

Aside from all this, steel cut oats are oats in their purest form, rendering them more healthy and nutrient filled. They are high in fiber, B-vitamins, and protein, as well as an excellent source of whole grain. Steel cut oats (also called Irish Oats) don’t look like regular oats. Regular oats, like Quaker, have been rolled, while steel cut oats are just cut right off the stalk. All this processing takes away their natural texture, their flavor, and quite a bit of their nutritional value.

I like to toast nuts, slice up a piece of fruit, and sweeten mine with a bit of maple syrup. Also, for some added protein, dollop a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top.

Steel Cut Oats

(makes 4 servings)

1 cup steel cut oats
3 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and oatmeal. When oatmeral is smooth and beginning to thicken, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sweeten with agave nectar, brown sugar, maple syryp, or honey.

Add toasted nuts, and seasonal fruit of your choice.




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