Or....don't go shopping when you're hungry.
Or...read the ENTIRE label before you commit something to your shopping trolley...or better yet, before you take it home.
And no, I'm not intentionally jumping onto the pinhead/steelcut/Irish/Scottish oats bandwagon. I accidentally fell into it.
A few weeks ago I was in a crunchy mood and wanted to make some granola. Unfortunately, I was weak with hunger when I went shopping and and didn't read the cannister label carefuly enough: I saw "oats" on the label and simply found a home for the can in my shopping cart. It was only when I got home when I saw the error of my ways.
It wasn't a lovely container of rolled oats (quick cook or regular). It was a can of pinhead oats.
I suppose another sort of person would simply get back into her car and sheepishly exchange it for what she really wanted.
It would have been, in some weirdly inexplicable way, admitting defeat. I mean pinhead oats are a perfectly wonderful foodstuff so why should I return them?
Yeah, I'm stubborn.
And my crunchy mood was pushed aside to figure out what to do with something I think of as...mushy.
I was also a pinhead virgin. Before now, I've only eaten oatmeal made with rolled oats--and usually the instant kind (peaches and cream, if you're interested). My dad, who eats a tureen of soupy oatmeal every morning, also limits himself to rolled oats, so he wouldn't have been of much use.
Did I mention that these things have a nine-year shelf life? I was bound and determined to put them to use before 2017.
Thank goodness for the Web. After paging through what seemed like an unending list of porridgy variants, I found various other uses for these pelletty pieces, including
- rice substitutes,
- baked goods
- burgers and stirfries
But with all these choices, what did I do?
I made porridge--not just "any" porridge, but Duncan Hilditch's porridge. If I'm going to learn how to make a good porridge, it might as well be using the directives of a porridge making champion.
I'd like to say that I wanted to try it in the way it was supposed to be eaten, but in fact I read somewhere that I could make a pot of it, stick it in the fridge and then microwave servings in the morning. In other words, an instant, homemade, hot and healthy breakfast. I was also weary of muffins, scones and other bready baked goods and needed a bit of a break.
Each morning that week, I spooned a serving into a bowl, microwaved it and poured buttermilk on it and stirred in a spoon of marmelade.
Maybe it was the vague similarities to the cream of wheat my mum made when I was little(r), but I think I actually prefer pinhead oats over rolled oats: it was nutty tasting, with a tapioca pudding-like texture (and I really, really like tapioca pudding).
Needless to say, you may notice steel cut oats showing up in recipes over the next little while.
Which only means...I'm a pinhead.