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.