Food, Nutrition and Cooking

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A barley by any other name

Purple Barley Risotto

Risotto is traditionally made with arborio rice. In this version purple barley is substituted. This barley takes longer to cook than the rice. If you don’t want to spend the time over the stove, you can parboil the barley for 30 minutes in plain water before adding it to the recipe. Drain excess water and add barley at the same point as indicated in the recipe. If you do parboil, you will be able to reduce the time you have to “fuss” over the risotto by ~ the the same 30 minutes spent parboiling. Either way the barley will have more of an “al dente” texture than arborio and the overall texture of the dish will not be quite as creamy as arborio rice.

2 T unsalted butter, divided

4 oz mushrooms, sliced (I like baby bellas)

1 small onion, minced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup purple or black barley

32 ounces broth (vegetable or chicken), very hot

1 cup water (omit if barley has been parboiled), very hot

~10-15 aspargus, trimmed and cut into small pieces

Melt 1/2 the butter in a heavy skillet over medium/high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove mushrooms from pan.

Lower temperature to low. Melt remaining butter and cook onion and garlic about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium/high. Add the wine and let it boil up and deglaze the pan. Cook liquid from wine down until the consistency is a bit syrupy.

Reduce heat again to medium/low. Return the mushrooms and add the barley to the pan and coat both with the onion/garlic “syrup.” Add 1 cup of the hot broth. Cook, stirring frequently until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. It’s important to let the liquid absorb slowly; reduce the heat if the liquid absorbs too quickly.

Add another cup of broth and again cook about 15 minutes, until it has been absorbed.

Continue until all the broth and cup of water is absorbed. At the last addition of liquid, also add the asparagus and continue to cook until almost all the liquid has absorbed. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serves 2-4

All content of this posting and is the intellectual property of Sari Schlussel-Leeds, MS, RD, CDN

unless otherwise noted.

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Don’t “Pass-Over” this dish

Sephardic Carrot and Asparagus Salad

2 lbs carrots, peeled

1 1/2 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2″ lengths

4 T olive oil (lemon flavored if you have it)

2 onions, cut in half and then sliced into thin 1/2 moons

1/2 tsp each hot red pepper flakes, paprika, ground cumin

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

Cayenne pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and the zest from the lemon

Cut the carrots into 2″ lengths and then quarter each length (or use peeled baby carrots cut in 1/2 lengthwise). In a large skillet with high sides combine the carrots, a pinch of salt and enough cold water to cover. Heat until water boils, then lower heat and simmer the carrots for about 7 minutes. Reserve the liquid. Remove the carrots to a large bowl. 

Add the asparagus to the same liquid in which the carrots cooked, boil for 3 minutes, reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid to a measuring cup and remove the asparagus to a colander. Immediately refresh the asparagus with cold water and drain. 

In the same skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat till hot (but NOT smoking). Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the reserved liquid and the spices (except the cayenne), bring to a boil. Add the carrots and simmer uncovered for ~ 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, the cayenne and salt to taste.

Add lemon juice and zest just before serving. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature and leftovers are great cold on a green salad. Serves 8 or more.