Monday, June 14, 2010

another lunch idea

As soon as I saw those cute little Gladware containers, I just knew they'd be perfect for Idle Husband's lunch. They fit the perfect snack sized amount of, well, anything you can possibly think of!

Last week, I made layered jello and it was the best idea I'd had, because it takes absolutely no time to make and pour jello into these little cups, and with them premade, I just have to grab one out and stuff it in his bag. It looks like I fussed, but I didn't!
Quite a while ago, I purchased some pearl barley. I don't know why. I had no recipes bookmarked for it. I just kinda thought about it and bought it. And it's sat in my pantry ever since. On a whim, I added it half with rice in my rice cooker for supper last week (I can't cook rice on the stove. Don't ask me why), and it was the most delicious rice I'd ever had. I wanted to eat the entire bowl. In hindsight, I should have just had that alone with a little butter, salt, and pepper. That would have been the best supper ever.

So that got me thinking about my rice pudding and I decided to try making barley pudding instead. I figured the little pearls of chewy barley would almost be like tapioca -- which is right up there with rice pudding as my favourite pudding flavour ever.

I used my regular rice pudding recipe which I haven't made in a long time, but as I recalled, doing it in the rice cooker was not an event where you could set it and forget it. It bubbles over like crazy, so if you do use a rice cooker to make this, do not walk away!

Pearl Barley Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk (or the 2 cup line on your rice cooker bowl)
1/3 cup uncooked pearl barley (or 1 rice cooker measure)
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch (or more) nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins (if you like them stirred in)

Cook the barley and the milk as you would rice (or as the directions say on the barley package) or start up your rice cooker and stay close by!
Mix together the brown sugar and egg and temper the egg with the hot liquid from the cooked barley by slowly adding a little at a time to the egg while mixing.
Add the egg mixture back into the barley and stir until it becomes thick and creamy.
Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and remove from heat. Add in the raisins if you're using them.

For the lunch option, I portioned this into 6 Gladware containers, sprinkled on sliced almonds, some raisins, and drizzled on a bit of honey. I allowed them to cool in the fridge uncovered, then covered them, returned them to the fridge, and now they're ready to be enjoyed the next lunch time!

This isn't a very creamy pudding. It stiffened up a lot after it cooled. But I've never been that fond of the heavy on pudding, light on rice/tapioca puddings anyway (it feels like they're cheaping out). So this is perfect for me. I really love the chewy, pearl texture and cinnamon flavour. Too bad they're all for Idle Husband's lunch!


Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

I have the same containers! Aren't they awesome? I use them for almost every lunch I make. :)

Deborah said...

I am cooking this as we speak. Or as I write. I saw this and went straight to the grocery store! But it is taking the barley a long long time to cook. And I don't think it's ever going to look as pretty as yours does in the photos. But yum! it's bound to taste good. Thanks!

GALaxy said...

TCFO: I know! This took ages to cook even in the rice cooker! I hope it works out for you!

Deborah said...

You know what's weird is that I'm pretty sure I put in a cup of barley to the 2 1/2 cups milk but it still turned out. So delicious! It will really be nice in the wintertime but I was in need of comfort food and it was just the thing.

GALaxy said...

I think those little barleys can absorb a lot of liquid. And their consistency would change depending on how much they take in. I'm starting to think they're the no-fail food! I'm so happy to hear it worked out for you!