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Try a few new ingredients tonight…

June 7, 2009

I used to be afraid of Barley and Leeks. As exotic ingredients, I was convinced I would never know the mystery behind how to cook them. Instead of using a new recipe in one of my cookbooks, I altered a fairly familiar fail safe recipe I use with pasta. And, I found, I actually love Barley. Cooked in enough liquid, it can be creamy like risotto, but it is also a very filling grain. Leeks can be intimidating because you need to soak them. However, this only takes one extra step, and such a payoff to eat an interesting alternative to the onion. When we vary our ingredients, home cooked food does not bore us.

Veggies and Barley

  • 2 Cups of Pearled Barley
  • 3 Cups of Water
  • 3 Cups of Veggie Broth
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 cup of chopped Carrots
  • 4 cups of Baby Spinach
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 2 Yellow Squash
  • 1/2 Purple Cabbage
  • 1 package of Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 cups of Fresh Basil
  • 1 -2 tb of Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1-2 tb of Olive Oil
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  1. Preheat oven at 375.
  2. In a large pot, boil water, veggie broth, and barley. Once water boils, turn it down to low, place to lid on top of the pot, and let the barley cook. If it is stiff, feel free to add more water to make the barley moist.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the leeks. Place them in a bowl of water to soak out the sand. Continue chopping the zucchini, squash, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, and basil. With a slotted spoon remove leeks from the water.
  4. Lay veggies and basil on a large sheet of aluminum foil, which sits on a baking sheet. Mix in Salt, Olive Oil, and Pepper. Cover the foil, and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender, but still a little crunchy.
  5. Once everything is cooked, ladle barley into a bowl, add the mix of veggies on top, then the Pepper and Romano cheese.

This recipe serves 6, but freezes really well.

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