Got off the phone at 5pm today with not a clue what to make for dinner. After three days away – what kind of mum am I? However. I was on the phone for 45 minutes, about as much time as it takes to cook brown rice. Or barley. Or steel cut oats. Or a combination of the three – which I put on as the phone was ringing. (W scooped them into the pot – quantities of each matter not at all, but he did get overexcited about the act of scooping/dumping, so I ended up with quite a large batch.) I had just begun to panic upon realizing that I have stuff booked every single day between now and Christmas, including taking over traffic reports on the Homestretch on December 22, 23 and 24th. That’s right, I have to work on Christmas eve! Until 6! Unheard of! (When they called and asked me to my instict was to say no, but I decided to get over myself and not be such a baby about it, particularly if it means the regular traffic reporter can go home for Christmas. I think I’ll survive.)
Any of you who have been hanging around this place for awhile knows that my blanket solution to any problem is to cook. If I can’t get a handle on my life, at least I’ll feed my family one good meal dammit. Having eaten some form of pastry for the past three mornings (this morning was the last of the bag of French pastries I brought home for Mike, which I then forced him to share. Again, what kind of wife am I?) I decided to make a big batch of something grainy and warm to carry us through breakfasts and snacks for awhile. W will always eat oatmeal, which is a Very Good Thing, but I decided to up the ante a little and cook up a blend of the aforementioned grains, boiled in lots of water then drained, into which I grated a pear and stirred some ground flax and handful of raisins. We drizzled a bit of golden syrup overtop, since it was already out on the counter for my little caramel making spree this afternoon.
Although you could cook the grains in a pot on the stovetop, apparently it’s doable in the slow cooker as well, making this a great make-ahead breakfast. (I would think if you could cook it on high for 2 1/2 hours, it should work on low for about 6 hours.) Most slow cookers will keep food on warm setting once it has finished cooking; otherwise it’s not going to turn funny if it’s finished before you’re finished sleeping. Just turn the slow cooker on again if you need to warm it up; or reheat in the microwave.
Festive Slow Cooker Rice Muesli
A perfect breakfast for entertaining large groups over the holidays, simply assemble all of the ingredients in the slow cooker before going to bed and forget about it until you’re ready for breakfast in the morning. From www.riceinfo.com.
3/4 cup uncooked US long grain brown rice
1 cup finely chopped dried apples (or 1 chopped regular apple)
1/3 cup each wheat berries, steel cut oats and barley
6 cups water
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
Vanilla yogurt, to serve with
Spray the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Combine the rice, dried apples, wheat berries, oats and barley in the crock. Stir in the water, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Cover. (If making ahead, reserve in the crock overnight).
Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 2-1/2 hours until grains are tender but not mushy. Add the butter; stirring the muesli and adjust the texture by adding extra water to taste. Serve with yogurt and additional honey or maple syrup.
Makes 8 servings.
Tip: Create a self-serve muesli topping bar where your family and guests can customize their portion. Set out dishes of chopped fresh and dried fruit, crunchy granola, chopped toasted nuts, pure fruit jams and maple syrup.
December 08 2008 11:50 pm | grains