in five: slow cooker irish oatmeal


I love everything about McCann’s Irish Oatmeal. The tin, the history, the nuttier taste. The only downside is I don’t always have time to stir the pot for half an hour while the steel cut oats cook. Thankfully, this recipe provides the perfect solution. Simply throw everything in your slow cooker the night before and nine hours later, you’ll wake up to a hot and healthy breakfast. I modified it slightly, skipping the half-and-half, figs and cranberries, and adding 1% milk and cinnamon and it still tasted great. — Sarah L.

Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal
1 cup McCann’s steel cut oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried figs
4 cups water
1/2 cup half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours. Stir and serve.

From our partners

help! what should i do with this frame?

1st dibs a

I bought this frame years ago at a flea market, intending to remove “Fred” and have a mirror cut for it. At 25” high and 18” wide, it’s the perfect size for our small half bath. Back then, I liked that the frame wasn’t in great shape. Now I’m not so sure. While “Fred” has been quietly hanging around in the laundry room, I stumbled across Mrs. Blandings and her post on Irish Georgian Mirrors. A real antique mirror will have to go on my lottery list, but I’m wondering if I could makeover my frame to get a similar effect. Black paint, silver leaf and facets dulled a little by glue might do the trick. Suggestions? I’m open to any ideas that don’t involve making “Fred” a permanent part of the family or ditching the whole project altogether.

Instant ancestor: If you think “Fred” is the real treasure and would not get the willies just from having him in the basement, leave me a comment and he’s yours. I’ll find a tube and mail him for free. — Sarah L.

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is your sushi sustainable?


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of enjoying Omakase at one of the West Coast’s premiere sushi spots. At his tiny West Seattle sushi bar, Mashiko, Chef Hajime Sato is innovating cuisine and helping to preserve our endangered oceans simultaneously. Chef Sato explained to me why he decided to switch over to a fully sustainable seafood menu: his favorite food in the world is unagi, a fresh water eel that is highly endangered, yet is a ubiquitous menu item at sushi restaurants. When he discovered the dire fate of this eel, he decided to give up eating AND serving the fish, declaring, “I don’t want to eat the last one”. He has, however, found phenomenally inventive ways of recreating his favorite flavors sustainably. For “dessert”, Sato-san served us what I dubbed “faux-nagi”, using a sustainably farmed catfish seasoned meticulously to recreate the signature flavor of the eel. It was the best unagi — real or faux — I’d ever had. The menu ranges from the more traditional unagi and california rolls to a unique version of ankimo, substituting black cod liver for over-fished monkfish. If you can’t make the trip to Seattle, there is sustainable sushi available in Portland and San Francisco, or better yet, belly up to your favorite local sushi bar, befriend your Itamae, and start asking them to change their menu! –Megan B.

For more info on sustainable sushi, got to, and for sustainable seafood in general, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch.

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eliminate odors (and mice?) with peppermint oil

peppermint oil

Not to boast, but when it comes to dealing with odors, you won’t find a sharper shooter with a bottle of Febreze. I’ve got fabrics covered, but hadn’t found a suitable solution to dealing with atmospheric odors until my mom shared this all natural trick. Simply add three or four drops of peppermint oil to a few cotton balls, place them in a small bowl and leave the dish to sit in a problem area. Not only does the oil replace the smell with an energizing peppermint aroma, it also eliminates it, absorbing odor as it dissipates over time. As the proud sibling of a college-aged brother, I’m thrilled to report that we use this often to fumigate his car (a tall order, what with all the punky ultimate frisbee clothing and half-eaten hamburgers), with awe-inspiring results.

I like Aura Cacia’s certified-organic options but any 100% essential peppermint oil will do. I’ve even heard that a similar strategy helps get rid of mice. Anyone care to weigh in? – Sarah C.

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real life test kitchen: greek yogurt ice cream


I highly recommend that you make this ice cream soon. If you don’t have the equipment, buy an ice cream maker now. After an entire year of experimenting with different ice cream recipes and techniques (thanks, guys), I think I’ve finally found my favorite recipe: a Greek yogurt ice cream from the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. What sets this stuff apart from the rest? First, it’s only got four ingredients: equal parts Greek yogurt and heavy cream with powdered sugar and lemon juice. That’s it. No stirring custards, tempering eggs, and straining; no cooling overnight. A batch will be ready from start to finish in about 20 minutes (though the recipe recommends an hour in the freezer to “cure”). The result is a smooth, silky, and delightfully tart ice cream that seems to scream out for tiny ripe strawberries. I have a sneaking suspicion that a hearty dollop melting on a grilled peach or a warm mound of blackberry cobbler might be pretty amazing, too. I’d have to say this might just be official ice cream for summer! — Megan B. Click for Greek yogurt ice cream! (more…)

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