Tag Archives: Alton Brown

Overnight Oatmeal

Overnight oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate chips

I never, ever miss a meal.  I must eat at least three squares a day, and sometimes even four or five if I’ve had a long sit at a bar.  Breakfast — the most important meal of the day — is usually something quick because I have vampire sleeping habits and I leave exactly 6 minutes and 14 seconds to prepare and eat something before I have to get ready for work.

Since I do try to eat healthy during the week, I shy away from Egg McMuffins and force-feeding myself donuts.  I usually stick to fruit, low-fat frozen waffles with honey, smoothies, bagels and lox, or my new favorite thing — Overnight Oatmeal.

This is a recipe I bastardized from Alton Brown, the lovely geeky kitchen god himself.  He uses cool stuff like half and half and dried fruits, but I changed it because: 1. Milk and cream-type products in my house are nothing more than something to put in coffee and/or to make cereal wet (I might go through a quart of skim in a week if I’m really ambitious); and 2. Since it takes me a week to eat it all, I want to change it up every day so I don’t get bored with it, therefore I make it plain and customize it each morning depending on my mood.

This recipe calls for steel-cut oats, which are less-processed and better for you than regular oatmeal.  They take a long time to cook, which is why this recipe is so great: you get the nutrition and taste of the better oatmeal without waiting because you’re doing everything in the crock pot.  Put it all together before bed and — voila — breakfast is waiting for you when you wipe the drool off your pillow in the morning.  McCann’s is the most popular, but it’s pricey — anywhere from $7 – $9 per can.  Schnucks carries an organic brand that tops out around $3 a package and it’s pretty darn good.  (Note — it’s usually near the organic breakfast foods, not next to McCann’s.)

Steel Cut Oats. (They're organic!)

After I make a batch, I eat about a quarter of the recipe a day, storing what’s left in the fridge.  It tends to get a little gloppy, but add water or milk to it before you nuke the leftovers in the microwave, stir it well and you’re good to go.  Here are some topping suggestions: a tablespoon of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips; dried cranberries with honey drizzled on top; brown sugar,  a bit of maple syrup and sliced almonds; fresh sliced bananas, strawberries or whatever fruit you have on-hand; a spoonful of your favorite jam/jelly/marmalade.

On another note, if you’re a runner, this is an excellent breakfast to prepare you for a morning run.  Depending on what you top it with, it’s fairly light in calories but it gives you the fuel your body needs to mercilessly pound the hell out of some pavement.  It hasn’t done me wrong yet.  As a wise man once said, “You know I got these burning heels to use/Sometimes there’s no way to lose/I was born to run/And built to last/You’ll never see my feet ’cause they move so fast.”*  Indeed.  This oatmeal will make it so.

Overnight Oatmeal
Bastardized from the lovely, lovely Alton Brown

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

In a slow cooker, combine both ingredients and set to low heat.  Cover and let cook for 7-8 hours.  Stir and serve.

(Tough, huh?)

* Canned Heat by Jamiroquai.  Good for running on pavement and running around the house in your underwear.

Donut Deathmatch

donutAfter a week on a Roto-Rooter-cleanse-o-matic diet, I think I’m about due to lay waste to my freshly flushed digestive system, liver, and heart by channeling my inner Homer Simpson and conducting a pseudo-scientific test to see just who has the best donuts in St. Louis. This Saturday I’m going to trade in my packets of pro-biotic horse pills for a jaunt around our fair city to hunt for the best deep-fried rounds of frosted goodness.

I am a child of Florissant, and I grew up within walking distance of the local donut institution, Old Town Donut Shop. I ate there for many years until my father discovered the Doughnut Cupboard, which then became the donut shop de rigeur. I am almost ashamed to admit that these are the only donuts I have ever eaten (save the occasional Krispy Kreme), but my ignorance has been bliss because I’ve been spoiled by the first-class eats at both places.

The scientific method would not be duly honored unless I venture away from Florissant, so I have consulted somebody who, in terms of style and palate, is a kindred spirit: Alton Brown. In his book, Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run, Mr. Brown drove his motorcycle through St. Louis and ate his way through town. On this trip, he pegged three exceptional examples of local donutry: World’s Fair Doughnuts, Donut Drive-In, and St. Louis Hills Donut Shop. Because I shamelessly believe everything Mr. Brown says, I’ll save any additional research and use the three contenders he selected for me.

More method. In the spirit of science, we will be testing similar donuts at each place, i.e. I’ll be eating angel-cream filled chocolate Long Johns at each destination, and my guests will do the same with their favorites, because it is impossible to compare the dense, sweet crumbs of a cake donut to the light and crisp texture of a donut of the yeast variety.  I’m trying to keep apple-to-apple comparisons for the sake of consistency. Special attention will be paid to the quality of icing (or glaze), too. In addition, we will sample the coffee to see if there is anything noteworthy on that front as well.

Saturday will have a full agenda indeed. On the path to consuming obnoxious loads of sugar and caffeine, we will hit five different donut shops: One Florissant donut shop (which one is still up in the air), Alton Brown’s three picks, and one more. The last one I’m putting to the readers: Who do you think has the best donuts in the whole wide world? What little local place do you stop by once a week to get your deep-fried sugar fix? Keep it local (no Krispy Kremes or Dunkin’ Donuts), and post your pick here or send me an email at stlfoodexaminer@gmail.com. I’ll see you at the gym on Sunday.