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Burnt My Fingers on Oatmeal

May 15, 2019

Yes, I owe you a story about New York’s Best Burger. It’s coming. But things have been a little crazy lately. In part, because of my recent doctor’s visit that resulted in me finally succumbing to medication in order to control my high blood pressure. Mostly, I didn’t want to die at the judges table earlier this week. That would have been embarrassing.

I’m pleased to report that I’m still alive and kicking, even after having sampled eight burgers, most topped with ingredients that are a cardiologist nightmare.

However, I have also made some major changes in my diet, at least for the short term. Coffee is out. I’ve put a hard stop on that and replace my daily habit with a vastly lower quantity of green tea. Surprisingly that wasn’t as hard as I feared. Booze is out, and I’m limiting beer and wine to an occasional glass.

Walking is in. Yesterday, I took a lovely one in the rain for about an hour. But oatmeal is also in. I put a reminder on the refrigerator to eat more oats. The thing is the steel cut oats I love either take a long time on the stovetop, or advanced planning by setting up the slow cooker overnight.

Fortunately, my friend Otis over at Burnt My Fingers had a third way involving the Instant Pot.

He has actually given me a hard time about buying the smaller Instant Pot for a long time, but I think his very own technique for making steel cut oatmeal is actually an endorsement for my smaller machine. After all, it only calls for one cup of oats, and 2.5 cups of liquid. I can’t even imagine what this must look like in the larger appliance.

You can see his original post here. Like most recipes found online, I made some adjustments.

I swapped out the 3T of butter for a more well rounded fat profile. That would be 1T of butter, 1T of extra virgin olive oil, and 1T of expeller pressed safflower oil. I also removed everything sweet, opting to add just a little touch of sweetness in my bowl. I just find that things like brown sugar go harder when they are sprinkled on at the end instead of mixed fully into a dish. Which, incidentally, can be the opposite of salt. But that’s another post.

The good news is that this technique is a winner. The bad news is that the Instant Pot is really lacking as a tool in one meaningful way. It’s sauté feature is painfully weak.

Part of me loves the idea of being able to make this in one pot, sautéing the oats in fat, pouring in the liquid, and letting the machine do its thing. But the other part questions if the convenience of one pot cooking is worth the time investment. Because wiping out a cast iron skillet that has toasted oats has got to be far quicker, and less frustrating, than sitting over than infernal “Instant Pot” waiting for the grains to become a deeper shade of golden brown.

That said, I have one more experiment to run. If I can start these at night, and the Instant Pot can hold them until morning without the oats degrading in quality, this machine may have redeemed itself. Not only that, if this gambit works, the Instant Pot could soon become one of the most valuable appliances in the Fussy household.

Especially now that I’m off of coffee. Because up until now, it has been the Filtron bucket which I use to make cold brew. And while I thought that cold brew was the magic elixir which kept this entire enterprise running, I guess I was wrong.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 15, 2019 4:20 pm

    Thanks for trying my recipe and tweaking it! I have to say, though, the sauté problem is likely due to the lilliputian dimensions of your Instant Pot. My regular size IP sautés up just fine.

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