Author Notes: This oatmeal is as much about the toppings as about what lies beneath. A comforter of warm and milky oatmeal provides a base for all kinds of yum. You should get a good bit of crunch, chew, and mouth-coating richness with each bite. Don't worry about the calories or cholesterol. Don't worry about a thing. The oats are heart-healthy and cancel out the butterfat. I think. Ess, ess kind.
For the Garnish:
- 1 drizzle heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1/2 handful Pecans or pistachios, coarsely chopped (pecans can be broken up by hand, pistachios once unshelled will break naturally into halves and don't need further chopping unless you really want to)
- 1/2 handful dried sour cherries
- 1/2 handful dried California apricots, coarsely chopped
- 1 drizzle pure maple syrup, grade "B" or worse, or Silan (date syrup) or a scant tablespoon brown sugar, crumbled if ever so slightly lumpy
- 1 nubbin of unsalted butter, optional
For the oatmeal
- 3/4 cups lowfat milk or, for Irish oatmeal, 1 cup water
- 1 pinch salt (for rolled oat version only)
- 1/3 heaping cup old-fashioned rolled oats or, for Irish oatmeal 1/4 cup Irish oats
- In a small heavy saucepan, bring milk and salt to a bare simmer, then pour in oats. For Irish version, bring water to boil, then pour in Irish oats.
- lower heat and cook, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon about 5 minutes or until thickened (about 20-30 minutes for Irish oatmeal--keep an eye on the pot so it doesn't boil dry)
- Remove from heat, scrape into a bowl, and top with garnishes, starting perhaps with the butter and cream (yum) ending with the syrup or brown sugar.
- Serve with a steaming mug of hearty Sumatra.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Cereal