Sunday, October 10, 2010

Barley Pilaf

A serving of barley is a quarter cup of dry barley. I'll give this recipe in serving size additions, use as much as you need for the correct number of servings you need.

To cook barley, rinse it first under cold running water.

Two or so tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the bottom of a heavy sauce pan on medium high, add a chopped onion, a quarter medium for each serving (1/4 c barley) and about a tablespoon of chopped celery for each serving. Saute onion, celery and rinsed barley in the hot olive oil 'til translucent.

Add the correct amount of water: use three cups water for every one cup of barley. Crank a grinder of mixed seasonings into the pan - I like Trader Joes' Everyday Seasoning . A bit of salt. I watch the salt 'Cuz it freaks Dirt out and you can get by with just a bit per serving and top it off with fresh squeezed lemon. If you use broth or stock, which is nice, you can use even less salt.


Cook for about forty-five minutes.

Barley is certainly different and not that much like rice, So don't fuool yourself into thinking your going to have rice pilaf with your dinner and cook up barley. But when you figure that with each meal, a person normally either eats wheat, rice or potato for their starch and potato doesn't count as a grain, then it is time to broaden our horizons.

Barley is more famous for being in stews and soups, mostly lamb, as in Scotch Broth, than used as an accompaniment on the plate. But a side dish of barley can bring round a whole new world.

Sunshine from the Oven

Totally simple.

Wash and cut up a lovely Kabocha type or Buttercup squash into approximately 2 inch squares, save the seeds for later.

Toss with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. That is all!

Put in the oven anywhere from thirty minutes to about fifty depending on size of chunks and oven temp.

I put this in when I am roasting a meat so the temperature depends on the meat recipe, the squash is flexible.

If you use the right type of squash, you do not need sugar, honey or maple syrup. These babies are the best in the squash world.

What the Heck is On My Lamb Shoulder Steaks?

Made these Friday night for gathering. "Yum" was heard by all, expressed by all.

At the start of your day, marinate Lamb shoulder steaks in a one to one mix of soy sauce and lime juice, enough to cover the steaks. I did a nine by thirteen glass pan full (very full, some steaks were folded I had ten steaks in the pan) so I used a cup of lime and a cup of soy, with 1/3rd cup sugar and at least four cloves of garlic pressed.

If your feeling adventurous or want a even more Eastern flavor I wouldn't hesitate to press in a little fresh ginger and maybe some other of your favorite spices.

If you don't mind having a lot of sauce for your dinner you can keep the amounts I used even if you are cooking fewer steaks.

When the coals are ready for a bit of slow cooking. (a chimney full of coals, fired up to half-way red, divided in two piles one at each end of the 55gal. drum cooker, with Alder wood chunks in on top of the coals) Dirt cooked them for about an hour and a half. Started them off on aluminum foil with a foil cover. Half way through the cooking process he removed the covering.

While the steaks were slow cooking take the marinade from the pan you soaked the steaks in and pour it into a nice sauce pan, add about a cup of honey, bring it to a boil, after it has boiled a bit, give it a taste and adjust the honey accordingly, I like to add some red wine while cooking the sauce, I used about a cup. Also butter is a very nice addition, about a half cup or more to these portions.

I cook this at just below the boil-over point (okay, in all honesty it boiled over several times, but that isn't the goal. The goal is to keep it going at a lovely rolling boil but not rolling all over your stove top.) You can test what the consitency will be when it is served if you keep a small plate next to the stove to spoon a little sauce on to to check on it through out the cooking.

If it is garlic spathe season, I would definitely add a few to the sauce just toward the end, or a few green onions, stem and all split length wise.

Those ten lamb steaks fed seven adults and three kids with a few leftovers, but there was a lot of food that night.