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January is National Oatmeal Month. This week’s cook column is dedicated to oats and oatmeal; the history and recipes.
Oats have been around for centuries having been first cultivated about 1000 BC in central Europe. Oats were only fed to their animals by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, but when the Western Roman Empire fell to Germanic Tribes who ate oats, oats were introduced to their diet. Oats were a staple in Scotland where the short, wet growing season suited them more than wheat. Students that attended ancient universities in Scotland had a holiday called “Meal Monday” that permitted them to return to their farms to collect more oats for food.
European explorers brought oats to America in the early 1600s and planted them off the coast of Massachusetts. The oats were used by the Scottish and Dutch immigrants in traditional porridges, puddings and baked goods. As the settlers moved north and west, so did the oat crop. The upper Midwest has the best climate for the cultivation of the crops and so by 2000, the states that were top in oat production were Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Iowa. Vermont, however, has the highest oatmeal consumption in the United States consumed with maple syrup, another local favorite. (agron.iastate.edu, wikipedia.org)

Glorified Oatmeal Cookies
Bentley Farm Cookbook by Virginia Williams Bentley, grouprecipes.com
3/4 cup corn oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup raisins
16 ounce box or jar of mixed
candied fruit that comes
already chopped
Butter (grease cookie sheets)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together corn oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, water and vanilla. Mix together in a separate bowl, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add gradually to above mixture. Mix well.
Stir in by hand, the oatmeal, pecans, almonds, raisins, and candied fruit. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto buttered cookie sheets. firming and shaping with buttered fingers. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes 10 dozen small cookies.

Bacon and Egg Oatmeal
mrbreakfast.com, englishp
3 slices bacon - cooked and
3 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (not
1 cup water
Dash salt (optional)
Salt and pepper - to taste
3 tablespoons salsa
Place oatmeal and water and optional dash of salt into a pan. Heat to boiling and stir until cooked; follow the directions on the box for cooking time. Once the oatmeal is cooked, keep warm over low heat. Break the eggs and egg whites into a bowl and beat with a fork or whisk.
Spray a non-stick frying pan with non-stick spray. Heat over medium heat until medium-hot. Add eggs and stir regularly until scrambled.
Once eggs are cooked, add crumbled bacon and oatmeal to pan with eggs. Stir until combined; do not over-stir - oatmeal should be in small lumps. Salt and pepper the egg/oatmeal to taste. Place onto 3 plates, top each one with salsa to taste.

Cherry Cocoa Oatmeal
mrbreakfast.com, gwebb
9 cherries - pitted with stems
removed then sliced in half
1/2 cup oats (I use old fashioned
rolled oats)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
Heat water to a boil on medium high heat. When water reaches a boil, turn down to medium low and gently stir in the oats and cocoa. Stir, and add the cherries. Cover but continue to stir every now and again so oats do not stick to the bottom. Let oats cook for about five minutes- I usually allow the oats to soak up most of the water. When most of the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and keep covered for five minutes. After five minutes or so, stir in yogurt and almond extract and serve in a bowl.
Other options with this recipe include: use 1 cup milk instead of water and yogurt. Add the almond extract earlier (I seem to add it at a different time each time I make this recipe). Use mace or nutmeg in place of almond extract but definitely add it with the oats. The opportunities of tastes are endless with a good repertoire of spices and a tasteful imagination. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cake with Caramel Icing
1-1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oats; let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the oats. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
For icing, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Return to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Immediately spread icing over cake. Let stand until set.

Honey Oatmeal Bread II
2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
.25 ounce package active dry
1/2 cup warm water (110
degrees F/45 degrees C)
4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons honey, warmed
2 tablespoons rolled oats
In a large mixing bowl, combine boiling water, oats, 1/2 cup honey, butter and salt. Let stand for 1 hour. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Pour the yeast mixture into the oat mixture. Add 2 cups of flour; mix well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 20 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from pans, brush tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons honey and sprinkle with oats.

Butterscotch Oatmeal
allrecipes.com, KIANA5
1 egg, beaten
1-3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons butter
In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the egg, milk and brown sugar. Mix in the oats. When the oatmeal begins to boil, cook and stir until thick. Remove from the heat, and stir in butter until melted. Serve immediately.

Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Oatmeal
sparkpeople.com, chef meg
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled
and diced
1/2 cup evaporated 2 percent
Coat the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, and then pour in 6 cups of water. Cover and set on low heat for 8-9 hours.

Oatmeal Custard
food.com, Houston Chronicle, Brennan’s Restaurant, Houston
5 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-1/2 cups cooked oatmeal,
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
Whipped cream, and
extra berries, for garnish
Beat the eggs well. Mix beaten eggs, milk and cream well, fully incorporating eggs into the mixture. Combine the egg mixture with the brown sugar, cinnamon, oatmeal, vanilla, and berries. Stir until lightly mixed.
Spray (8) 1-cup ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each to within 1/4 inch of the top. Set ramekins in a baking pan and fill with water to 3/4 inch of the top of the ramekins.
Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 1 hour. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream and berries.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.