Thursday, May 21, 2009
vegetarians know how to make crap taste delicious
i've lately been reading this book to enhance my culinary knowledge. lettin' it slap me around a little for my ignorance, you know. like the other day, i was reading about grains. this book has chapters on grains i've never even heard of! frickin quinoa (pronounced keen-wah or something), rye-berries... oh man. it was like walking into Whole Foods for the first time.
So, obviously, i decided to break some of it out. i've been looking for some foods that i can make and freeze, and also eat cold - the kinds of foods i could theoretically take out of the freezer and put in my car and that would be delicious around lunch time. i spend a lot of my time at construction sites and such, and there's not really a whole lot of kitchen areas at places like that, and frankly i'm sick of all fast foods. even wawa (sacraligious, i know). So. Also, i found a large amount of barly in my cupboard! wooo barley! i love some beef and barley soup - so good. but i digress.
I decided to make a modified version of a summer salad i found in the Book. (yes, i'm capitalizing it - this Book is just THAT GOOD. A TOME OF KNOWLEDGE)
1 cup barley - cooked
1 cup peas - shocked (now, for those of you who are as un-savvy as i am and dont/didnt know what that means, it means dump those peas in some boiling water for like 30 seconds, and then strain em out and dump them in ice water! delicious! no over cooking! and they dont get mushy!)
some lemon juice
some olive oil
some herbs from the garden
now the recipe originally called for cucumbers instead of peas, and also threw some yogurt all over the everything once you were ready to serve. i'm not that kind of gal.
you take your barley and toss it with 2 tbsp of EVOO (just like rachel ray says it), some pepper. i used one of those garlic-pepper grinders and i dont regret it one bit. take the peas out of the ice water and shake some salt on em and let them sit for about 5. then throw them in the barley (taste first, if they're too salty, rinse them off prior to tossing). squeeze some lemons all over that mother, and then go out in the garden and get some mint or basil or lemon thyme or golden oregono, or all of the above and dice it all and throw it in the salad. (ed. note - the original recipe calls for basil only. i took some liberties)
take it all, toss it, and then fork it into your hungry, gaping mouth. mmmm. so good. so damned good.
oh, and just a quick post script: to get the most out of your lemons, some people will say to roll them on the counter. this is for suckers. take those little lemons (or limes, or any other citrus fruit that you might want to suck the juice from) and stick em in the microwave for about 15 seconds each. be careful, you want them warm to the touch but not hot - if they get hot, run them under cold water for a minute or so. then cut in half and shield your eyes! these guys will be the juciest fruits you've ever tried to squeeze! the theory is that the microwave makes the juice in each little juice sack boil just enough so that the sacks all burst. this bursting of sacks is essentially what you'd be doing if you rolled the fruit, but our good friend the microwave does a much more thorough and quicker job than my silly hands.