Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scarlet Barley with Mushroom + Cannellini Bean Paprikas

I've been a terrible little blogger lately. My apologies! Life has fallen into extremely busy territory as of late. The realtor husband recently started at a new brokerage, bringing some exciting changes. All the while I managed to get myself into a dental emergency while eating a samosa (of all things) that has now evolved into even bigger dental drama involving a root canal, which has sent my anxiety-prone mind into overdrive, leaving me sleepless with a stomach full of knots. I've also decided that certain home renovations projects that I've put off for seven years not only need to be done, but they need to be done immediately. Like, as quickly as they enter my mind. Which actually compounded the husband's stress way more than it did my own, so I'm not really sure what I'm complaining about, getting at, or what my lack-of-blogging excuse actually is, but the bottom line is I haven't been doing it and I'm sorry.

Blogging has taken such a backseat that Paul and I held a dinner party for ten two weekends ago and I made this really cool potato garlic pizza bread for the very first time and I completely forgot to take a picture. That never happens! Dinners routinely go cold in our house while I try to arrange them and the lights and my poor excuse for a camera in a blog appropriate way.

I didn't forget to take a picture of my table and centerpiece, though! Anyone else as addicted to Pinterest as I am?!

Now, that concludes the "Dwelling on What I Haven't Been Doing" portion of this post. Onto what I have been doing.

The meal you see pictured at the top of this entry is probably my favourite thing to come out of my kitchen this month, and the recipes come from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

I love barley a lot, and I'm resolving here and now to cook more meals with it. As much as I love brown rice and quiona, barley is a deliciously earthy alternative every now and again.

There is something new I learned about barley recently that I thought I'd share for those similarly in the dark about this grain - it contains gluten! I'm not quite sure why I automatically assumed that it doesn't. I think it's because I associate it with rice, which is completely gluten-free, more than I associate it with wheat, which is the archetypal glutenous food. It seems I'm not the only one to make this mistake. I can't tell you how many times I've seen something labeled as gluten free, read the ingredients, and spotted barley somewhere on there.

I'm sure this is old news to celiacs and other gluten-free folks, but as someone new to the gluten awareness scene I found it pretty interesting and thought I'd pass it along to other newbies interested in limiting their gluten. Since I'm doing just that - limiting, not elminating - I'm excited to give barley more of its fair share on my dinner plate.

This particular barley gets its beautiful, rich colour from a shredded beet:

I'd never worked with beets before. I wish someone would have told me to wear gloves during shredding portion of this recipe. I felt a bit like Lady Macbeth, "Out Damned Spot!"-ing for an hour afterward. Going out into the world with red-stained hands sure raises some interesting questions.

At Isa's suggestion, I topped the scarlet barley with a batch of mushroom and cannellini paprikas, also found in Appetite for Reduction. Am I the only person that didn't know that cannellini beans and white kidney beans are the same thing?! I've been searching for cannellini beans in specialty stores for months. Thankfully a kind soul on Twitter pointed out that I'm able to find them, under a different name, in the a plain old neighbourhood supermarket. That I actually keep a stock of them in my own kitchen cupboard at all times. Durr!

Here's to hoping you don't come to this blog looking for an experienced chef. Or for someone who can follow a simple recipe. If it's not evident by now, I don't know what the hell I'm doing in the kitchen. I likely have no business even having a blog, but I'm vegan and I love vegan food. Hopefully that's enough because if it's not, we're both in trouble here.

If you haven't already picked up a copy of Appetite for Reduction, I highly recommend it. So many healthy yet filling low calorie vegan meals up for grabs! The recipes for the scarlet barley and the paprikas are also available on Google Books, with author's permission, found here and here.


Sarah said...

I wasn't sure if you'd had the root canal yet, but I recently had one and I was incredibly suprised how pleastant it was. It was less unpleasant than getting a cavity drilled! I listened to Star Trek episodes to pass the time, and at the end I wondered what about it people found bad usually? I didn't have any pain or discomfort, so I hope yours goes (or went) so smoothly and we can dispel the big bad root canal myth so people won't need to be afraid :)

Emma said...

I made these recipes just this weekend! Really enjoyed them, especially together. Your centre-piece is great, I should entertain more, it's always fun even if a little stress-inducing...

Bliss Doubt said...

Mary, I hope you can take it easy. To me, the worst thing about those dental issues is paying the dentist. After the first time, from then on, every time you have a little toothache, it's "gawd how much is this going to cost".

Home improvements: I sit around saying "I've got to paint this place or I'll have to move", but I've been saying that for years.

The scarlet barley looks delicious. You're such an adventurous cook.

Sarah B @ Bake + Bike said...

Intriguing recipe - I love beets but the red stained-hands do pose some problems, don't they? Barley and mushroom is such a good combination.

Oh the bean naming conundrum! I only recently learned that navy beans are not navy blue, but white (Wiki tells me that the name comes from their use to feed the US Navy).

Kim said...

Ok... sadly I have signed up for Pinterest but have not yet really taken a look at it yet. And am *super* annoyed at myself every time I get a notification saying someone is following me and wondering what the heck they are following as I have done nothing yet ;p But I love how it's inspiring you to do such really cool things - I love the centre pieces, they totally rock!
I will get my butt in gear on this Pinterest business!
Now, on to food.
Isn't it a bummer when you find out something like barley isn't gluten free? We're struggling a bit with my decision to go gluten free because of this. It's just in so many things.
The scarlet barley is just so pretty! And I'm on a huge cannellini kick right now. Looks so good.

Mary said...

Sarah - I haven't had it done yet. I have to go to a specialist, since it's a complicated root canal involving one of my front teeth. But thank you SO much for your comment. Since I got the news I had to have the procedure done I've been positively FREAKING and more often than not people who have had it done tell me it's nothing to fear. Especially since I have no feeling in the tooth at all. I wonder where it got the bad rap from?!

Emma - It is definitely stress inducing, but so fun to put something together. It's rare that I get to use my table expander and full flatware set!

Bliss - I am very fortunate in that my brother is a dentist and has been great regarding the cost of the work he himself can do, since I don't have any kind of extended health insurance at all. Although for this particular issue I have to see a specialist, so I have to dip into my 2012 Vacation Fund. Boo!

Sarah - Arg, makes me crazy when people don't name things with simplicity. Or when things have more than one name! Way too confusing for a novice cook like myself.

Kim - I have a gluten free but not vegan friend and I remember her saying being vegan must be so difficult. Truth is I think the gluten conundrum is so much more complicated! True, there are a lot of hidden animal ingredients floating around foodstuffs but it is NOTHING compared to the hidden glutens of the world! Bummer!

Amy said...

I just made the mushroom paprikas from AFR this week and loved it! Haven't tried the barely yet, but I am slowly working my way through all the recipes, they are awesome!

Deodorant Crystal said...

I have read your post and i make this recipe for m,y self and really very enjoying, and i was really good experience for me.
Thanks for sharing

Related Posts with Thumbnails