Like the alligators, oats were here first. Well, not exactly “here” as in the Lowcountry, but they were found in China and Greece as early as 7,000 B.C. This simple understated yet powerful grain is one of the top “go-to” recommended foods for heart health and other benefits. Among oatmeal aficionados, steel-cut oats and whole oat groats are the true status oats, and those who eat them with a cult-like following will look down on your bowl of microwaved quick-cooking, pre-flavored oatmeal.
Did you know?
The beta-glucan in oatmeal is famous for stabilizing blood sugar. And because it helps you avoid those blood sugar highs and lows, having a bowl first thing in the morning can keep cravings at bay.
When it comes to making oatmeal, focusing on what not to do is the best course of action. The quickest way to turn somebody off to cooked oatmeal, especially the captive audience known as children, is to serve undercooked “quick” oatmeal, which has a texture of paint chips, along the lines of what Dicken’s Oliver Twist was served in the orphanage. But remind them that Harry Potter and his posse ate oatmeal “porridge” and they’ll be asking for it every morning. My mother cooked raisins with the oatmeal so they were plump and soft, then she added a touch of butter, brown sugar and cream. Today, I have replaced those childhood toppings with blueberries, walnuts and agave, but admit I revert to the old ones once in a while. Horses, sheep and rabbits love oats too — have you ever made note of their shiny coats? Straight from the horse’s mouth, January is National Oatmeal Month. What better time for a New Year’s resolution to eat more oats?
Oatmeal & Flax Seed Cookies
RECIPE BY CARRIE HIRSCH
(Makes 48 cookies)
Funny how people who won’t eat cooked oatmeal will never pass up an oatmeal cookie.
3 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup demerara sugar (natural cane sugar)
½ cup flax seeds, whole or ground
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl using a stand or hand mixer. Add wet ingredients and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Place cookie dough in the freezer for 10 minutes. Roll into balls the size of walnuts and bake in batches on ungreased cookie sheets for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Leslie Stewart, Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café
Irish oatmeal is made from steel-cut oats, which take a little longer to cook to create a nice thicker consistency. We typically serve it plain; however, customers can have tasty sides of brown sugar, cinnamon, fruit, nuts or berries. Most enjoy the dish with a side of cream or milk. January and February are the months when we serve the most oatmeal at Sunrise Café, since it's colder outside and it sticks with you for a large part of the day. I find myself eating oatmeal to make myself feel good, especially during around New Year’s Eve, when TV stations inundate us with ads for exercise equipment.