Monday, March 29, 2010

Rosemary Mushroom Barley

Happy Passover! Unfortunately, first born sons won't be slaughtered in my house this week, meaning my brother will live to see another year. Maybe next Passover things will work out in my favor...

The brother in question will eat anything you put in front of him. He also has a tendency to mix and match food items in disgusting combinations. He's been doing this since we were children, when he would dip things like cantaloupe in mustard just to see my reaction. These days, I think it's more about his laziness and desire to avoid washing more than one dish. Either way, the amount of things he dumps into one dish is gross (he recently poured leftover spicy thai fried rice on top of refried beans and then added cheese). So, when his main food complaint was that my dad's rotation of side dishes was getting boring, I decided to focus some of my new cooking efforts on creating easy and delicious side dishes. I couldn't very well let him come up with something, could I?

Whole grain pilafs and salads make great versatile side dishes (and boast tons of fiber, protein and amino acids). I recently added quinoa to our pantry, as detailed here. I've decided to add a second whole grain, preferably with a different taste and texture to quinoa. After some research, I decided that I liked the health and cooking aspects of both barley and bulgur. Why not put both into rotation? Honestly, I hate having too many different things to choose from that can do almost the same thing. I don't need rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley, couscous, cracked wheat and millet in addition to oats and pasta. As long as I vary the way I prepare the grain, my needs will be satisfied. Plus, who has space for all of these things?

The barley was good, hearty and really filling. You could taste the fiber. It received good marks all around the table.

So what else was served in lieu of a dreadful Seder (I hate sitting through those things)? My dad made lamb with rosemary and garlic, and we had a bowl of matzo ball soup. Our stock was made from a turkey carcass and some veggies, which we usually have stored in the freezer. I'd like to say that someone went all out and made matzo balls from scratch, but we have been a Matzo Ball Mix family for some time. At least we don't use the soup mix.

Ingredients (4-6 people as a side)
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup barley
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
3 cups water or vegetable or chicken stock
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
olive oil

1. In the pot you're going to cook your barley in, heat some olive oil. Cook your mushrooms, onion and garlic until fragrant and soft.

2. Add in your barley, rosemary and water/stock. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn down heat, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. Watch and stir, especially near the end, so it doesn't burn the pot.

3. Salt & pepper to taste.

This is what it will look like while cooking. Things will be floating.


Christian said...

Bon Appetit had a great article on wonderful dishes for Passover. I'm going to hold onto that mag for next year so that I can help cook for the Seder. I'm not Jewish, but I want to have a good meal nonetheless when I join my wife's family.

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