Originally published March 17, 2014.
The single most important decision in making porridge is the style of oats you choose to cook. For my breakfast, the only acceptable style is steel-cut, sometimes called Scottish or Irish oats.
Why Quick Oats and Minutes Oats are The Worst. Quick oats and minute oats produce porridge with a nauseating texture. The grains are rolled and cut fine so that they cook quickly, but the oatmeal has a gluey mouthfeel. My theory is that the extensive processing produces a very fine oat-dust, and as soon as this oat-dust is hydrated, it becomes a thick paste. Whatever the cause, porridge made from quick oats subtly sticks to the back of the mouth, triggering a … Continue reading.
This is one of my favourite ways to showcase my maple syrup. A simple oat cake is baked, then cut into squares and cooled. The baking dish is then filled with hot maple syrup, which the cake soaks up like a sponge. Essentially a lazy man’s pouding chômeur (a lazy man’s poor man’s pudding?)
Oat Cake in Maple Syrup
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
For the soaking syrup:
- 2 cups maple syrup
- 2 cups
… Continue reading.
When I was little, to me there were two essential facts about my grandparents: they lived on a farm, and they fought in “the war,” that is, WWII. Even though they never spoke to me about the war, it was central to my understanding of who they were. Possibly it was more important to my understanding of them then it was to their own. I’m sure that Grandpa thought of himself as a husband, father, grandfather, deacon, and train-enthusiast before a soldier. Yet, there was a collection of old service photographs on top of the piano, unmoved, for decades. The shrine-like placement of the pictures told me that those years affected my grandparents profoundly, and that there was some sadness … Continue reading.
In the last few days I have learned a lot about oats. For example: whole oats are called groats. Not impressed? Fine. Here are the main “styles” of processed oats:
- Rolled oats: steam-rolled flat. I think the most popular style.
- Steel-cut oats: each groat is cut (by steel, I guess) into a few pieces. Sometimes called Irish oats.
- Quick Oats: the oats are steel cut and then steam-rolled, even flatter than rolled oats, reducing cooking time (hence the name).
Why have I become a scholar of oats? This week Judy brought us a 20 kg bag of rolled oats and a 20 kg bag of quick oats, both from the Can-Oat mill in Manola, and each costing about $25. While … Continue reading.