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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm All About Grains

All of a sudden, I'm intrigued by grains.  I've never been all that excited about them before, but suddenly grains seem, well, interesting.  Go figure.

Maybe it's that I've been cooking a lot from Melissa Clark's Cook This Now and she loves grains.  Or maybe it's because I'm on the hunt for new and different things to make.  Or maybe it's because all of a sudden I want to eat more healthfully.  Whatever the reason, I'll take it.

So, last night I made Melissa Clark's barley and carrots recipe.  I grew up believing that barley had one purpose, and one purpose only.  That purpose was to make an occasional appearance in mushroom barley soup.  Other than that, I have no recollection of ever eating barley simply for the sake of eating barley.

But times, they are a changing and I find myself actually being drawn to barley.  That is if a person can actually be drawn to barley.

This recipe originally calls for grated parmesan cheese.  I played around with this recipe because while the combination of barley, carrots, and scallions sounded really good, quite frankly the inclusion of parmesan just didn't seem right to me.  I also gave the whole thing a nice squirt of lemon juice before I served it just to brighten it up a bit.  I served it warm but I think it would also be delicious, maybe more so in fact, served at room temperature.  It might also be good with cold grilled chicken to create a chicken and barley salad.  In any case, this is quite tasty and so easy to make that there's really no excuse not to give it a whirl, even if you're not especially excited by barley.

I'm surprising myself these days.  Who knows.  Maybe millet will be next on the grain hit parade.

Stay tuned.

Recipe:  Barley with Carrots and Scallions
(Adapted from Melissa Clark, Cook This Now, 2011)


1 cup barley
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the barley, reduce the heat and simmer until almost tender, 50 to 60 minutes.  Stir in the carrots and cook until the carrots are tender and the grains are completely cooked, 5 to 10 minutes.

Drain well and transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Serve warm.

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