Whew! Friends, things have been super hectic lately! I know my social media presence has been pretty lax. Sadly, blogging has taken a back seat to a crazy work schedule, training runs, my new obsession with spinning and dodging the Republican party.
Another thing that has somewhat curtailed my blogging is my current diet. My meal plan is pretty mundane at the moment. In terms of training, I’m at a point where I need food for fuel exclusively; if it doesn’t involve a grain and lean protein, I’m not really interested. Plus an abundance of Sport Jelly Beans and GU energy gels have left my stomach in a state of disarray, so I’m drawn to really basic foods. This morning I confessed to Michael that I don’t really ‘trust butter’ right now. In general, though, things are good. The marathon is 42 days away and I feel very healthy and extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to run this race for the second time.
I know this sounds super-nerdy, but recently I’ve been pretty into exploring different grains. (You can roll your eyes, it’s okay.) I stumbled upon this article and I think I may try to tackle all nine ingredients. We’ve already addressed my affinity for quinoa and farro. I’ve also been eating a lot of barley lately. I make a big batch on the weekend and eat it throughout the week with eggs or a salad. It’s got a really nice texture – kind of reminds me of brown rice – nice and nutty.
I’ve used barley here as a centerpiece for this everything-goes salad with smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, haricot verts, cornichon, salmon roe and sunflower seeds.
Barley with Scallion and Parsley
1 cup pearl or hulled barley
3 cups chicken stock
2 – 3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
Combine the barley and stock in a 2-quart sauce pan.
Bring the stock and barley to a boil over high heat. Keep an eye on the pot as barley will give off a noticeable amount of foam initially and can cause the pot to boil over. The barley will also easily stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir frequently.
Once the barley has reached a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and continue to cook until the barley is done. For pearl barley, start checking at 15 minutes. For hulled barley, start checking at 30 minutes. The barley is done when it has tripled in volume and is soft yet chewy. Add more liquid if the pan becomes dry before the barley has finished cooking; check every 5 minutes until desired chewiness is reached.
When the barley is done, it will have absorbed almost all of the liquid. If there is a little stock left in the pot, allow the barley to sit for 10 minutes, covered, until it has all been absorbed. If there is still a lot of stock remaining, drain the barley in a strainer over the sink.
Add parsley and scallions, fluff the barley with a fork to separate the grains. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.