Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Barley, take one

I mentioned in this month's goals that I got a fantastic deal on barley, but now have no idea what to do with it. Indeed, I brought it home and then became incredibly intimidated by the innocent-looking grains, so it just sat there, uneaten by me. I did make a soup with barley in it, which was good, but I had a hunch that it could serve as much more than just soup add in. Plus, since I have so much, if I just added it to soup, it would go bad before I could possibly use it all. Does barley go bad? Probably. I'm not going to bother to research that, instead I will just force myself to adapt.

Experiment 1: Barley stir fry
We had a work party a while ago, and like I always do after work parties, I scavenged tons of leftovers. Most of those leftovers were cookies, but we also had a veggie tray that was barely touched. I came away with two handfuls of cherry tomatoes and some broccoli. I ate the broccoli right away because I love broccoli, but I'm not a huge tomato fan. Don't get me wrong, I like them, just not without something else. So I decided to make lemonade, and by make lemonade, I mean barley.

First I soaked the barley for four hours. 1 cup pearl barley and six cups water
Then, brought that to a boil and simmered for an hour.
By this point, the barley looked...weird. It was very gloopy, kind of like oatmeal. It tasted fine, but was a grayish color that freaked me out quite a bit. I put it in a tupperware and put it in the fridge overnight while I decided how to proceed.

The following day, I decided to try rinsing it to get the gloopiness off and make it look more like the barley I'm familiar with. I left it in the tupperware and rinsed it three times in hot water straining it with the lid (ingenuity!). It worked perfectly, and I was left with delightful grains of tender barley that was not at all scary looking.

Handful cherry tomatoes
2 cups cooked barley
2 cloves garlic
two handfuls fresh spinach
crumbled feta (as much as you like).
Olive Oil
Preferred spices (I used a little basil) plus salt and pepper
  • Dice garlic and throw in a skillet with a couple glugs of olive oil. Sautee until garlic is golden brown
  • While garlic is browning, dice tomatoes
  • Add barley to skillet and cook five minutes
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted
  • Add tomatoes and cook until warm
  • Add any spices
  • Serve from pan and sprinkle feta over the top
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note: I had five black olives, which I added and highly recommend.  This was totally delicious, and I will be making it again--soon.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, I am experimenting with barley myself, may well try this. I think the gloop may be soluble fibre.. I kept the gloop this time and mixed my barley with some white rice to "dilute it".