We think it is fun to challenge ourselves to find new, and sometimes weird (Theresa prefers to call it unconventional), things and ways to cook. I call it the Cook of Anarchy school of cooking. If it saves us money, even better! (See our Buy Nothing Challenge pages.)
This cooking challenge is to choose one pantry item and make many different dishes from it until we are tired of using that item. Hopefully, each item will hold our interest for two or more weeks.
First Challenge... OATS
- Oat bran is the fine skin covering the oat groats. It is highly nutritious and helps reduce cholesterol.
- There are six types of oats, but each type has many names, so it can get confusing:
- Whole Groats: The least processed of all the oats. The indigestible outer hull has been taken off and that's it. Ready to go. Takes the longest to cook but has the most nutritional value.
- Steel Cut Oats (also known as Groats, Irish Oats, and Pinhead Oats): These are whole groats cut into three or four chunks to cook faster.
- Scottish Oatmeal (or just Oatmeal): Whole groats that have been ground to a medium oatmeal. Its largest grains are around 1-2 millimeters. It still has the bran in it. Fine oatmeal is much smaller. It is ground so fine it resembles oat flour but it still has the bran in it. Bran has been sifted out of oat flour.
- Old Fashioned Oats (in UK they are called Jumbo Oats): The whole groats are steamed and flattened into large flakes.
- Rolled Oats (known as Quick, Flaked, or Porridge Oats): Steel cut oats that are cut, steamed, and rolled flat. They are smaller than the Old Fashioned/Jumbo Oats and still have the bran.
- Instant Oats: (I know it's judgmental but I call them crap.) Highly processed oats that have the bran and most of the nutrition stripped out of them so they can cook faster.
Theresa is interested in making main dishes that will have leftovers for us to eat throughout the week. I'm looking to push boundaries and see what we find. In the Oats Bible there are breakfasts, snacks, dinners, desserts, and even drinks.
So far Theresa made the peanut butter oat bars she liked when she was at Girl Scout camp. (Only crumbs left, didn't think ya wanted to have a picture of that.) We tried, and liked, the savory oatmeal pictured below.
Here is how we made it:
Fry some bacon in a skillet. Use strong beef or chicken broth to cook the groats or oatmeal with 1/2 a chopped onion. The bacon will be done before the oatmeal, set it aside, then crumble it while waiting. When the oatmeal is done, add the bacon and as much chopped raw onion as you want. It's also good to grate some Parmesan cheese over it. We served it with a side of broiled (yes, I said broiled) cabbage (because Theresa insisted on adding a vegetable).
Type at ya later...