Thursday, February 23, 2012

Barely Any Work Barley Lunches

What I'm learning about cooking with whole grains, like this lovely purple hulled barley from our Lonesome Whistle Farm CSA, is that you should cook up a pot before you have a plan for them. Set them simmering over dinner, or cook them in a slow cooker while you run errands on the weekend. Then, because you have some ready cooked grains in the refrigerator, inspiration will strike. 

The same principle applies to winter vegetables, of which we have plenty from our Open Oak Farm CSA: roast them, braise them, saute them, and they are sure to come in handy. It's a way of turning slow cooking into easy, fast food. 

With these ingredients on hand, you can whip together a satisfying lunch at the office of a barley and root vegetable salad topped with cubed cheddar cheese,

or a scrumptious quick weekend lunch of purple barley and leftover braised red cabbage, topped with a fried egg and a dollop of harissa.  The possibilities are infinite, and all infinitely better than most quick meals you would purchase on the go.

Hulled Barley
1 cup hulled barley, picked over
2 1/2 cups water
generous pinch of salt

In a dry skillet, toast the barley until fragrant. Then combine with the water and salt and simmer on low, covered, for about 1.5 hours until tender.

Barley and Root Vegetable Salad
One container with a couple handfuls of greens
One container with about 1/2 cup cooked barley and 1/2 cup roasted root vegetables
a chunk of cheddar cheese
a small container of olive oil and vinegar

Pour the olive oil and vinegar over the greens, reseal the container and shake to dress. Top with the barley and root vegetables and crumble on the cheddar cheese. Enjoy.

Barley and Braised Cabbage with a Fried Egg

Microwave about 1/2 cup cooked barley topped with about 1/2 cup braised cabbage. 
Fry an egg and place on top of the warm cabbage and barley. 
Top with a dollop of harissa. Enjoy.

Other recipes for locally grown grains

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