Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Crock Pot Oatmeal

 4 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup half-and-half

I have a cute $15 3-quart crock pot from Target. I bought it because I also have a $175 6.5-quart All-Clad Slow Cooker. While I love the All-Clad, it's just very large for small meal preparation. Since having the new gadget I've been keeping my ear out for things I can cook in it. In the past few days, both my mother and my sister mentioned crock pot oatmeal. I was intrigued. I bought the ingredients, found a recipe online and started the crock pot on "Low" as the recipe called for just before I went to bed. 

I woke up at around 1:30 am and found that I could smell the oatmeal cooking. There was a strong smell of warm half-and-half pervading the bedroom. I knew this wasn't a good sign, but made the choice not to get up and stir, turn it down or otherwise tend to the oatmeal. After all, this is why I was making it overnight instead of in the morning. That decision was a mistake. When I got up in the morning, I checked the oatmeal and found that the middle was runny and raw and the outside was browned in a solid ring and stuck to the walls of the crock pot. Blech. Robert was game to try it anyway so he doctored it up with raisins and brown sugar and took a taste. He declared it to taste something like wallpaper paste and so we chunked it. I ended up making soft-boiled eggs.

So I tried again. I knew the recipe was right; I felt that the fault lied with the temperature of the crock pot. So yesterday I tried again. This time during the day so I could be awake to watch it. I prepared another recipe's worth and this time set the crock pot on "warm". I wasn't sure it would get hot enough to cook but it did. It was great; we re-heated it this morning in the microwave.

So my advice is use the "warm" setting and not the "low" setting to make crock pot oatmeal.

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