granola mix would make a terrific gift, packaged in a
that Thanksgiving is out of the way, maybe we can talk about
something that is really important: oatmeal.
be specific. What most Americans think of as
"oatmeal" is really rolled oats. You know, the
stuff that comes in the big cardboard tube with the smiling
Quaker on the front. These are oat groats (the grain with
the husk removed) that have been steamed to soften them and
then rolled flat. This process lets you cook them more
quickly at home. The difference between rolled oats that are
labeled "old-fashioned" and
"quick-cooking" is how thickly theyíre rolled.
oatmeal is made from raw oat groats that are chopped to a
fairly uniform size. It takes longer to cook and has a
firmer texture than rolled oats.
rolled oats for making cookies and things like that, but you
canít match the real stuff for cereal. And because there
is no kitchen project too minor for a kitchen geek to
overthink, I have made something of a small science out of
cooking my morning oatmeal. Itís not hard, but Iím
convinced that it makes a difference in flavor.
the McCannís Irish Oatmeal that comes in those cool tins.
Use a dry saucepan, 1 quart is fine for two or three people.
Cook the oatmeal over medium heat until it smells nice and
toasty. Thatíll take about 3 or 4 minutes, depending on
the heat. Youíll hear it start to pop when itís ready.
your cereal begins to sing, add four times the volume of
oats in water (1/3 cup of oats, enough for two people, will
take 11/3 cups water). Increase the heat to high until the
water starts to boil, give the pot a good stir, then turn
the flame to low to maintain a decent simmer.
cover the pan with a lid, but be sure to prop it askew with
a wooden spoon or a whisk. This is important: If the lid is
on too tight, the oatmeal will boil over, and there is no
cleanup project worse than scraping baked-on oatmeal off of
the oatmeal simmer for a good 20 minutes or so. You donít
need to pay much attention, but if youíre going to walk
the dog, put a flame-tamer underneath the pan to keep it
from scorching. When the oatmeal is done, there will
probably be some liquid on top, and there may be a thin
layer of dried flour-skin. This will disappear when you stir
it. The oatmeal itself will be tender but still have a bit
in butter according to your conscience, toss in a small
handful of dried fruit (I use a mix of raisins, sour
cherries and cranberries), cover tightly and let stand off
heat for five minutes for the fruit to soften.
can doctor this base however you want. I like a mix of brown
and white sugar (brown for molasses, white for sweetness) or
maybe some maple syrup. Then some chopped toasted nuts ó
almonds or walnuts. Finally, I add just enough milk to make
the mixture creamy. If I have leftover steamed milk from the
morning coffee, I might use that. And if Iím feeling
splurge-y, nothing but half-and-half; thatís just how I
quicker-cooking rolled oats are great for granola. And when
Iím not eating real oatmeal (foolish consistency, etc.),
my breakfast is usually fruit, yogurt and granola from
Christine Mooreís excellent recipe in her new "Little
Flower" cookbook. I say "based on" because,
after following Mooreís script exactly the first time, Iíve
thrown in a few little changes, honoring the recipe in
structure if not in detail.
last month Iíve made this recipe at least once a week
(depending on how quickly we go through it). And I donít
think Iíve ever made it exactly the same way twice. I
change the mix of the nuts and dried fruit depending on what
appeals to me at the moment (and depending on what I have
left from other cooking ó this is a great way to clean out
all those odds and ends of nuts you probably have in your
with a bunch of fruit (lately Iíve been using persimmons
from our tree, spiked with a bit of lime juice), then add a
handful of granola and top with a good dollop of yogurt
sweetened with honey.
granola mix would make a terrific gift too, packaged in Ikea
storage jars. Be sure to include the recipe, because folks
will definitely want to fix it again.
after all, there are more holidays just around the corner.
time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time
Makes 16 cups
Adapted from Christine Mooreís "Little Flower:
Recipes From the Cafe."
light brown sugar
tablespoon vanilla extract
old-fashioned rolled oats
mixed chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios,
hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds)
mixed chopped dried fruit (sour cherries, cranberries,
apples, pears, apricots, raisins, dates)
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two jellyroll pans with
silicone mats or parchment.
a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil, sugar, syrup
and salt until clear, stirring occasionally. Remove from the
heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Place the rolled oats and the mixed nuts in a large mixing
bowl and pour the sugar mixture over. Stir with a spatula to
coat the oats and nuts evenly. Divide the mixture between
the lined jellyroll pans, patting with the back of a spatula
to make thin, even layers.
Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating the
sheets and stirring halfway through.
Cool slightly before stirring in the dried fruit and
storing. The mixture will keep in a tightly covered
container at room temperature for at least a week.
Ĺ cup serving: 238 calories; 4 grams protein; 31 grams
carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 2 grams
saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 18 grams sugar; 67 mg sodium.