Happy equinox everyone! Ok, the equinox was technically yesterday. However, it’s still a great segue into the ever-delicious topic of fall foods.
With temperatures dropping, may I suggest that you have oatmeal for breakfast? And not any of that pre-packaged crap loaded with sugar and fake flavors. I’m talking about hot, hearty — might we say manly? — oatmeal: Scottish oats.
The difference between rolled oats and Scottish oats comes down to consistency and cooking time. Rolled oats are thin and cook quickly. Very thinly rolled oats (“instant” oats) are so thin that you can cook them by soaking them in boiling water. Scottish oats are steel-cut into little bits rather than rolled flat. That’s usually called Irish oats — it become Scottish after it’s stone ground into a coarse meal. But, Irish or Scottish, the oats take a little bit longer to cook, and the consistency is chewier (and more delicious, if you ask me).
Now, if you had to slave over a hot stove to have delicious Scottish oats in the morning, I’m sure I would eaten it once or twice and then abandoned it for good.
This is where your rice cooker comes in. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need a $200 rice cooker with brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, porridge, steamed vegetable and pressure cooker settings. You can make perfectly delicious oatmeal (and white rice!) in a $16 rice cooker like this one:
For one person, simply spray the bowl with a little Pam, put in 1/4 a cup of Scottish oatmeal and 3/4 cup water, turn it on, and forget about it. Let it sit in the cooker for about 5 minutes after the light goes off to thicken up, then I like to mix in 1/4 cup soymilk, some honey and some craisins. Virtually no cleanup, and absolutely no fuss.
You could even plug your cheapo rice cooker into a wall timer (like the ones you plug your Christmas lights into) and load it the night before, leaving the oats to soak overnight and automatically start cooking in the morning. Voila! A stick-to-your-ribs breakfast chock full of whole grains that’s sure to get you through your morning without tummy grumblings.