Reading through the Detox Diet Cookbook which my friend Corilee recently published on the internet, I looked longingly at her Hot Cereal recipe, which she suggests cooking with nuts, fruit (both fresh or dried), cinnamon, nutmeg…
Even though porridge is one of my favorite comfort foods, it’s not often cooked in our home, simply because we don’t have the energy, patience or time in the mornings to stand at the stove and stir steel-cut oats for the required 30-40 minutes. Although the quick one-minute variety, or that micro-waveable goo may *look* like the real stuff, they are not what I call “porridge”, and do not have a place in my pantry.
“The best part of our holiday in the Anza Borrego Desert last month was the bowl of hot oats I ate for breakfast,” I told my Meestah after I read Corilee’s Hot Cereal recipe out loud to him.
“Why don’t we try the rice cooker?” he suggested.
We ended up doing a science experiment in our kitchen. Our “Zojirushi Rice Cooker” is supposedly the “Rolls Royce” of rice cookers, with about ten different settings for *rice*, but just one for *porridge*, and the instruction booklet doesn’t explain whether it’s for the quick cooking, or the old-fashioned slow variety. Firstly, we had to work out how to set the timer on the rice cooker (we were such beginners we didn’t know whether the time we’d set was “start” or “end”); second, how much water does one add to steel-cut oats? We decided to cook it like rice – one rice cup measure of oats, to the one cup line of water in the cooker – and we also added a handful of dried cranberries. [Note: One to one was too watery. We cut down the water to under the 3/4 cup line in the rice cooker. You’ll have to play around with it.] When we got up the next morning we found delicious hot cereal waiting for us. It was so tasty we had it the next morning too (with raisins – also good). But forgot the third morning, and we missed it. We now make it several times a week. On a cold, dark winter’s morning to get up and find the porridge hot and ready for my spoon, is like a gift from my fairy godmother.