The True Mother of Invention

Laziness.  That's right.  Not necessity, laziness.  It's why we have so many time-saving appliances and convenience services than we can count, with more being developed every day.  No judgement.  I fall into this category wholeheartedly.  I arrange systems in my life to avoid extra work.  I economize on my time just so I can have more play time for me.  My brain has even developed a tier system for what I enjoy and what I don't based on the perceived return on investment.

For example, I hate cleaning.  Low perceived ROI with the additional disadvantage of only lasting only as long as living creatures stay out of the freshly cleaned area.  When I make a mess, I get stupidly angry about it because then I have to clean it up.  Cooking, however, is totally different for me.  I will spend inordinate amounts of time cooking one dish because, for me, eating a good meal has a massive ROI.  It's delicious, I get a feeling of accomplishment, I enjoy the process of eating very much, there's often wine involved...the list goes on.  Sometimes, though, I am a lazy, lazy cook.  There are some days where the best "cooking" I can muster is a PB&J sandwich prepared in front of the TV in the living room.  Well, dear readers, I have recently become familiar with a fantastic shortcut for lazy days: my rice cooker!

The hubs sometimes calls my rice cooker "his replacement" because for years he has been the one to cook rice for various dishes using this ancient, plastic, microwavable rice cooker he's had since college.  We make so much, though, I decided it was time to upgrade.  You know what you can make in an  electric rice cooker besides rice?  Loads of stuff!  Lentils, buckwheat, applesauce, most other small grains, oatmeal, and *cue Billy Mays' voice* so much more!  There is a dark side, though.  That is...*dramatic pause*...the overflow!

Tonight's case stars buckwheat, a mostly unknown and misunderstood grain.  Why do I even have this weird purple-brown stuff in my house?  Because it's high in protein and gluten free for the celiac-suffering hubs.  Let us begin...

Here we have an unassuming batch of buckwheat groats:

1/2 cup buckwheat groats
2/3 cups water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp maple syrup
A heavy sprinkle of dried cherries and pumpkin seeds

I plop everything in, flip the switch, and then leave to go take a shower.  Notice that brilliant economization of time?  One of the great advantages of the electric rice cooker.  What do I find when I get back?

A BLOWOUT OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!  Okay, so it might not actually be that bad, but remember the thing about how I hate to clean?  Yeah, the groans of misery were loud that night.  Those of you who are more rational about such things, ahem, I mean just have a different mindset about cleaning might not be as fussed by this sort of thing.  Nevertheless, a few paper towels underneath and we're back in business.  A little butter in there next time will help to keep those starch bubbles from holding their shape and building on top of one another.  The buckwheat was soft and perfectly done and made a great post-workout meal.

Just in case anyone thinks buckwheat will stand in for oatmeal, well, you're partially right.  It does the job and is really lovely, but the taste is a lot different.  In my mind, oatmeal is kind of a blank slate with a lovely background vocal kind of flavor.  Buckwheat's flavor takes center stage and reminds me of that warm, soft, brown bread you get in certain restaurants.  This is the beautiful end result:

SAFETY FIRST!  Be sure to have an oven mitt nearby when handling the hot electric rice cooker pot.  Having a fabulous Dalek/Doctor Who themed mitt is totally optional.  Pictured above: birthday gift from the bestie! :-D

Another great option I've recently done is lentils.  I really should have added more water than that, as the lentils came out a little toothsome, but I threw them together with some tasty sausage (another lazy cook cheat I like to employ) and voila!  Dinner a la minimal effort is served!

 That's just a tablespoon of butter in there with about a teaspoon of dried time and half a cup of green lentils.  If I had a do-over, I would have filled up the water to the "1" line.

That's just a tablespoon of butter in there with about a teaspoon of dried time and half a cup of green lentils.  If I had a do-over, I would have filled up the water to the "1" line.

Listen to me, people.  Embrace your laziness and you will be rewarded.  Note: I am not a good role model and I'm not sure anyone should listen to me.  Thanks for reading!