Thursday, August 21, 2008

For the <3 of Oats

Fairly recently I was informed of a delightful addition to the list of delicious gluten free foods. McCann’s Steel Cut Oats. Oh happy day, as if I needed another excuse to eat more oatmeal for breakfast! Apparently they have been gluten free for sometime, but this was new news to me. I checked the McCann’s website to verify that the rumor was true and found in the faq section that they cannot completely guarantee that the oats are gluten free due to an 0.05% chance of cross contamination but they are pretty darn sure that the oats will be okay for most people. Oats are one of those things that are fine and dandy for some celiacs to digest and an impossible pain for others. My personal experience has been that once I had allowed my tummy adequate time to recover after my initial celiac diagnosis as long as the oats are processed in a (relatively) gluten free facility I am okay. So what did I do to celebrate this joyous oaty news, I made oatmeal of course!

Steel cut oats are much thicker than rolled oats, they look more like a rice grain than the flaky oats most of us are accustomed to cooking with. This gives them a different taste and texture and also means that they take a bit longer to cook. Trust me though the nutty flavor and chewy texture makes the extra cooking time more than worthwhile. For cook time shortcuts check out the McCann’s webby page where they have some great time saving tips.

Sweet and Nutty Steel Cut Oats
Serves 4


1 teaspoon earth balance or butter
1 cup steel cut oats
5 pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups water, boiling
1 cup milk (soy, hemp, rice or moo cow)
1 teaspoon vanilla
a handful of pecans, toasted
brown sugar for sprinkling (or agave)

In a large pot melt the butter. Add the oats and stir for a couple minutes or until toasted. To the butter oat mix first add the cinnamon stick and chopped dates, give a good stir and then add the 3 cups boiling water, reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

After the majority of the water has absorbed add the milk and vanilla to the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the oats reach the consistency you prefer.

Portion into bowls and top with a splash of milk, toasted pecans, and a generous sprinkling of brown sugar (or agave nectar if you prefer).

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