Barley in a rice cooker


Right around the time the baby was born I upgraded my rice cooker. Before, I had a little red one (Oster, maybe?) that was okay for making a small amount of white rice in a pinch, as long as you didn’t mind a little burned to the bottom. But it wasn’t very good at making brown rice, which we prefer, and it wouldn’t keep the rice warm for any amount of time without scorching. I used the Cooks Illustrated method of making brown rice in my oven, and that never seemed like a big deal. But somehow the addition of an extra human to our family rendered the steps involved in making rice (boiling water, for example) too fussy, and I invested in a good rice cooker. It works great, and as of today I love it even more. A few weeks ago I tried making quinoa in it, according to a suggestion I read online. That worked so well that today I decided to branch out and try pearl barley. It worked! Hooray! I used the liquid-to-barley ratio suggested on the package (2.5 cups water to 1 cup rinsed barley). I rinsed my cooked barley to cool it down, then made it into a Greek-style grain salad similar to this recipe. It’s yummy, and I’m about to take it to my “baby” brother’s birthday party tonight in my fun new thifted bowl. (Is it possible he’s 30?? Holy cow!)

And oat raisin muffins! Rob and I have a little tradition of taking homemade muffins on road trips. We once made a little peace summit trip to Galena, Illinois (our agenda: to discuss the possibility of ending nearly a year of not speaking to each other by getting just getting married) during which we munched on my homemade pumpkin muffins the whole time, and since then it just feels like small road trips and muffins should go together. Today I experimented with a new recipe plus adjustments for what I had on hand, plus addition of fallish spices, and this is what I got. They are yummy! We’re going to take them on our camper-seeking expedition. I’ll share the recipe I ended up with:
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisin
Preheat oven to 400. Spray 12 muffin tins with cooking spray. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl by using a whisk or a fork. In another bowl or large measuring cup whisk together eggs and wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, blend. Stir in raisins. Divide evenly into muffin cups (each should be about 3/4 full). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the muffins from the cups. If you take them out too soon or wait too long they will stick.

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