Welcome to the first of the Foundations in Cooking posts! I’ve realized that there are a lot of us that don’t have much knowledege in basic cooking techniques or recipes. I grew up surrounded by women who knew how to cook, so I never gave it much thought. But lately there have been so many women, even older, seasoned women, who admit they don’t even know the basics. And more than that, many are intimidated and don’t know how to begin or are afraid to try. So this series is intended to be helpful and friendly, and very non-intimidating. If it isn’t clear, or you still have questions, please comment and I will get back to you as quick as I can!
Stovetop oatmeal is not anything like microwave oatmeal. It takes a bit longer, and it tastes many times better. And it is hard to make it inedible, so long as you know the basic science of cooking oats.
It’s all about ratios.
Do you remember ratios from math class? Cooking oatmeal is all about the correct ratio of oats to liquid (we recommend mostly water, and a little milk.)
- Steel cut oats: use 1 cup liquid for every 1/4 cup of oats
- Rolled oats: use 1 cup of liquid for every 1/2 cup of oats
- Quick oats: use 1 cup of liquid for every 1/2 cup of oats
Two tips for making better, healthier oatmeal:
- If you add a fat, it will help you body fully absorb the vitamins in the oatmeal, since they are fat-soluble. You can do this by adding the fat during cooking, or afterwards. Milk is considered a source of fat, so long as it is not skim milk.
- Salt will make the flavors pop! Add anywhere from a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon (tsp.). I recommend saving the 1/4 tsp. for larger quantities, like 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal, but don’t be afraid to experiment! Try it once and see if you like the saltiness.
The actual cooking method:
- Measure your liquids into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. (If you want your oatmeal a little creamier, add the oats and liquid to the pot at the same time, and then bring it to a boil.)
- Lower the heat to medium or medium-low, add the oats, and let simmer for the appropriate length of time.
- A note on the temp: use whatever setting on your stove that will keep the mixture at a simmer. On our stove, it is medium-low, but it will vary. Here is what a simmer looks like.
- Steel cut oats = 20-30 minutes, depending on how chewy you like them. Try a small taste after 20 minutes and see if you like it.
- Rolled oats = 10 – 20 minutes, depending on how thick you like it.
- Quick oats = 1 -3 minutes on the stove. Let sit for another 2-3 minutes before eating.
- Choose your add-ins, and stir in. The amounts and types and combinations are entirely up to you! Experiment until you find a few flavor combos you like. Start with a small amount, taste it, and a little more until you are satisfied. And yes, eggs and miso make oatmeal amazing.
- maple syrup
- brown sugar
- fruits (whole berries or diced larger fruits)
- coco powder
- chocolate chips
Want to get a little deeper? Here are some great articles and blog posts – but don’t read so much you get overwhelmed! Everyone has an opinion, and there is no one “right-way” to make oatmeal.