Not all oatmeal is created equal. The rule of thumb is that the longer it takes to cook, the better the oatmeal.
For me, the best (and longest cooking) oatmeal is steel-cut oats. You can see in the picture here that it's more like little nuggets than the rolled out and flattened flakes you're most used to seeing.
Cook it through and it creams up like any other oatmeal, but with a better flavor and more interesting texture. Unfortunately, steel cut oats generally take about 30 minutes in a pot on a stove to get it to the soft consistency you want in oatmeal.
My favorite way to make the cooking easier is to put it in a slow cooker or a rice cooker with a porridge or slow cook cycle.
"Creamy Breakfast Oatmeal" from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Book is my favorite recipe for steel-cut oats.
There's not much simpler than loading a cooker with ingredients and pressing a button, but that's about it for this one. Here's what I put in:
2/3 c steel-cut oats
1 3/4 c vanilla soymilk (or regular soymilk plus 1 t vanilla extract)
1 1/4 t cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
2 T maple syrup
1/4 c golden raisins
And here's what it produces...
The consistency is still creamy, but the little nuggets of oats remain somewhat chewy. It's absolutely a fun and delicious way to eat hot cereal.
Upon refrigeration, the oats harden up a bit so re-heating with a little added liquid is necessary.
Another way to speed up the cooking of steel-cut oats is to soak the oats overnight. Abbie from Foods That Fit very cleverly adds an herbal tea bag or two to soak with the oats for added infused flavor.
Following the overnight soak, normal pot cooking drops to seven or eight minutes. For this soymilk based recipe, just soak it in the refrigerator.
CREAMY BREAKFAST OATMEAL RATING - 9
Abbie also has a new blog post about another breakfast item she came across on the web - granola custom made to your specifications. Check it out here.
1 hour ago