Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Green Goddess Oatmeal Experiment

My mother gave me a slow cooker last summer and just recently in this cold month of January have I started using it. I'm not a big fan of chunks of meat in stews and such so I have been searching for recipes that take little prep work. This past week, I checked out from the library the cookbook, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker, Recipes for Two and fell in love with the overnight oatmeal recipes. The author convinced me that once I had made the magical oatmeal, I would never want to go back to instant.

Green Goddess, the natural food store in Lake Placid was first on my list to start gathering the ingredients for the Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal I wanted to make.

The recipe called for steel-cut oats and dried apple rings. This is the perfect place to get those items because they have a great selection of bulk foods and I find it to be way cheaper than getting them pre-packaged from any other grocery store.

After purchasing the oatmeal ingredients along with my beloved Tamari Almonds (not needed for the recipe), I was good to go.

That night, I turned the slow cooker on low and combined the oats, apple pie spice, salt, water and dried apples and went to bed. I was so excited about eating the delicious oatmeal, I could barely sleep. For real. I was like a kid on Christmas eve, tossing and turning all night long. I convinced myself that the house smelled like apple pie and that I was in for a big treat. I mean, can you imagine waking up and having a fabulous bowl of oatmeal waiting for you on a cold morning?

Finally the sun came up and I raced down the stairs, lifted the lid and saw a perfectly cooked, creamy porridge. I spooned it into my bowl, took one taste and BLECH! No taste. None what so ever. It was just a bland tasting rib-sticking bowl of oatmeal. The apple pie spices didn't come through at all and the apple rings lost all their flavor.

I don't think the oatmeal was overcooked, the consistency was fine, just no taste. I added way more brown sugar than the recipe called for at the end and it still didn't help it. Being disappointed is an understatement, not with Green Goddess, but with the morning glop.

Everyone keeps praising their slow cookers, but I have yet to be convinced of their powers. So, if anyone out there knows about any good recipes cooking on low for 8-9 hours for dinner or breakfast, please fill me in on your slow cooker successes.


Ann said...

Maybe you should add the spices and apples in the morning. The night before you could put the spices and apples in your bowl. And brown sugar. In the morning simply spoon the hot yummy oatmeal over the spices, etc.

I put walnuts and chopped dried cherries in my steel cut oats. And sometimes cocoa powder and a little sugar. Hey I'm just doing what Dr. Oz says! He said cocoa powder in your oatmeal was a good way to get antioxidants. Or a good way to get something. I kinda stopped listening cuz my brain was so excited that Dr. Oz said I could have chocolate for breakfast!

michelle said...

wow, who'd have thought all those awesome ingredients could lead to such disappointment??
I've made good turkey chili with mine and once a good beef stew. I have a book from the 70's with a ton of recipes I haven't tried yet but there's a whole dessert section. I'll let you know when I try some of those.

Ellen said...

I think it's also the book itself. I have the book, and tried the Black Bean Soup with Sausage and Greens and the Turkey chili and they were both blech. My mom and I have had slow cooker success with spareribs and pulled pork, but those are both meaty and labor intensive.

Ellen (Ann's niece)

Anonymous said...

Ann has the right idea. Just make the oatmeal the night before and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and craisins in the morning.

L said...

This is the most delicious thing I have made in my slow cooker

Seriously. Even if you are against "lumps" of meat,if you like meat at all, this one will be glorious. For proof, see:

Also, pulled pork rocks the slow cooker, as does apple butter or sauce. Best of luck, don't give up yet.

Meghan said...

I usually make my dad's secret recipe chili in our slow cooker, but I've also done a bbq pulled pork shoulder before and it was heavenly.

Just rub the pork shoulder with a combination of brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic salt, and garlic powder. Place it in the slow cooker and smother it in bbq sauce and your favorite 12oz of beer. Cook it for 5 to 6 hours or until the meat literally falls off the bone. It's amazing on rolls with homemade coleslaw. :)

athomeintheadirondacks said...

Pulled pork rocks the slow cooker

Woodswalker said...

I wonder if you neglected to add salt. Oatmeal without salt is certainly blech.

Ann said...

Last week I picked up a free magazine at Green Goddess. In it is an article about slow cookers. I may have found the explanation for your blech oatmeal. The article said "Newer slow cookers manufactured in the past five or six years cook at temperatures significantly higher than in the past. So, if you have a slow cooker that is less than five or six years old, you'll need to reduce the cooking time called for in most slow cooker recipes to avoid food burning or overcooking."

So, if the slow cooker your mom gave you is new and if the cookbook you got the oatmeal recipe from is old you may need to adjust the time and temperature to get better-than-blech oatmeal.

Good luck!