My mother is a great cook even if her skills are far underutilized at this current phase in her life. Despite the fact that she has no one to cook for, my mom still loves to read cooking magazines, blogs, and articles to find the latest “best” recipes. Most of those come from Cook’s Illustrated, of course. Who else tries 50 batches of oatmeal to find the perfect recipe? Who in the world has time to do that kind of thing??? So when mom told me that her latest magazine had a recipe for “the perfect oatmeal” I was intrigued, but I’ll admit that I was not convinced. I mean, it’s oatmeal! For goodness’ sakes, how would one perfect oatmeal?
This recipe reads like something from a potions class at Hogwarts. Some everyday ingredients are all you’ll need to make this special concoction, but if you follow the recipe to a T, you’ll feel like Professor Snape is staring over your shoulder. Turn it clockwise two turns, wait a few minutes, then turn your handle upside down and stir it again the other way. Whether you choose to follow this recipe exactly as written or just stir like you’ve always stirred, I guarantee you’ll be amazed by the results. I refuse to make oatmeal any other way ever again.
adapted from www.cooksillustrated.com
3 cups of water
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup steel cut oats or Scottish oats (NOT regular old fashioned oatmeal)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
Bring water and milk to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat butter in medium skillet over medium heat until just beginning to foam. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Stir toasted oats into the simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer gently, until the mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes.
Add salt and vanilla and stir lightly with spoon handle. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon handle, until oats absorb almost all the liquid and the oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, about 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let oatmeal stand uncovered 5 minutes. Serve immediately butter and brown sugar.