The original version of this recipe includes vanilla extract and raisins, but I’m a plain-oatmeal person, so what follows is the basic portion of the recipe. I hope Megan will forgive me for being boring.
I should note that both Megan and I use Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt, which tastes less salty than Morton brand. And as far as natural cane sugar goes, I use unbleached and unrefined cane sugar – bought in bulk at my local supermarket – but you could also use demerara, turbinado, or muscovado.
In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oats, and cook, stirring occasionally, until quite fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a 2 ½- to 3-quart saucepan, bring the water, milk, sugar, and salt to a simmer. (Be careful: I find that this mixture goes quickly from zero to boiling and has a tendency to boil over.) Stir in the toasted oats. Adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer, and partially cover the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping and scorching, until the mixture has thickened and the oats are soft, 25 to 30 minutes. The cereal will still be quite loose at this point, but don’t worry; it will continue to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat, allow it to rest for a few minutes (still partially covered), and then serve hot, with maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey.
Yield: 4 servings