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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Banana Walnut Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steel Cut Oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces. They are golden in color and resemble rice pieces.

Steel-cut oats are also known as coarse-cut oats, pinhead oats, Scotch oats, or Irish oats.

In comparison, the other main variety, rolled oats, are flake oats that have been steamed, rolled, re-steamed and toasted.

Because the steel-cut oats have less processing, they may be more nutritious than the more popular rolled oats.Steel-cut oats are also nuttier and retain a chewier texture than rolled oats.Like most whole grains, steel-cut oats take much longer to cook than pre-processed oats. You can use rolled oats to make this recipe, just adjust the cooking time and the amount of water. Cook rolled oats according to the package directions, then put the mashed banana, walnuts, vanilla, and salt in at the end. I prefer the steel cut oats, liking the nuttier taste and texture, but it's a matter of opinion, of course. I also like to use Caramelized Walnuts (Nueces Acarameladas)
in this recipe, because they are crisp, honey-sweet, and very flavorful, but you can use the regular ones if you prefer.

This doesn't take as long as it seems; you don't have to stand over the oats for the first 30 minutes. Put it on, drink your coffee; really, the only cooking time is the last 5 minutes. It's rich and nutritious and one of my favorite breakfasts.

Banana Walnut Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
4 ¼ cups water
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of walnuts
1/2 cup mashed overripe bananas
Butter and brown sugar, for serving

Combine oats and water in medium saucepan and bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 30 minutes. Add the salt, vanilla, walnuts, and mashed banana, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat when the oatmeal has reached the consistency that you like (thinner or thicker); 5 minutes should yield an oatmeal of medium thickness. If you like yours very thick, continue cooking for an extra five minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Top with butter and brown sugar. Enjoy. Serves 4.


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