Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bookcases and breakfast foods

As September grew to a close, we (family and friends) played a game of musical chairs or rather musical furnature. (bookcases mostly)
Jen’s (my DD close friend) mother was moving, and her new place didn’t have room for the oversized golden oak bookcases the were first build for my X (who also didn’t have room for them when he married & moved)
So the bookcases went to live my DD, who now has her own apartment, and just barely enough room for them.(they are really big!)

This made the pecan wood bookcase she inherited from her grandparents superfluous.
So it moved in with me.
(Chairs, tables, miscellaneous kitchenware and other items also played this game of musical furniture.. Some items ended up losers. But all the player ended up happy!)
The first thing I did to the bookcase was add light (I am somewhat of a fanatic about lighting.) First some low voltage halogens on top-these add a nice white light in what was a previously a dark corner of my living room.
Then a set of hockey pucks lights behind the slightly arabesque front molding. These, too, are low voltage halogens.
On the lowest open shelf, some almost flat stick up LED’ biscuits lights.
These are less than ¼ inch thick!
The middle shelves are actually being used as book shelves, instead of display space, and don’t have any added lighting. There is enough generak light available from the low voltage up lights and hockey puck lights on the top shelf to make it easy to read the titles.
Right now, its holding an mélange, rather than a collection.. But I have at long last been able to unpack the last of my books!

Why didn’t any tell me this?
I love oatmeal for breakfast. But I am somewhat picky. I like my oatmeal chewy. I dislike the mushiness of rolled oats (and hate the especially soft mushiness Instant Rolled Oats-- which I think are an abomination!)
Eons ago, I discovered Elam’s Steel Cut Oatmeal. If this brand still exist, it no longer has a wide distribution in NYC. But there are other brands. At some point, I switched over to McCann’s Irish Oatmeal which comes in lovely tins. But you pay a premium for those tins and for imported oatmeal. Over the years, I have recycled the tins. But still, I want oatmeal, not tins.
Recently my local stores have provided me with Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats and Quaker steel cut oats (this is a new product for Quaker Oats) --while both are a finer cut than the McCann’s or the Elam’s, they are both quite tasty.
A disadvantage to steel cut oatmeal for breakfast is cooking time.
McCann’s suggests 30 minutes (with frequent stirring) or cooking longer (almost 1 hour!) over a double boiler (no stirring required). That’s a lot of time for a breakfast food.
Bob’s Red Mill and the Quaker oats (cut a bit finer,) cook a bit quicker-- and ONLY require 20 to 25 minutes. Again, 20 to 25 minutes of standing by and stirring.-allow extra time if you want to use a double boiler method and skip the stirring.
Then I learned you can cheat!
Measure out the oat and water into the pot the night before. Cover and let soak.
In the morning, you can cook the oats, with minimal stirring, over very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
It’s still a longer cooking time than rolled oat mush-but not much longer and there is very little effort involved.
If you haven’t ever tried steel cut (vs. rolled) oat, do. Think about trying any of these brands, (or what ever brands of steel cut oats you can find locally) and using the over night soak and quick cooking method.
Steel cut oatmeal also make a great bread (see Joy of Cooking) and can be ground into a coarse flour to make oatmeal cookies. (I use my food processor)
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