Monday, January 24, 2011
For Monday...or any other day
I can totally embrace meatless Monday as well as vegan Thursday for I am an omnivore who derives pleasure from a smoky slab of baby back ribs to finding excitement in a block of tofu.
Flavor is the key to any dish from steak to casserole to grilled vegetables and we need to always remember to embrace herbs, spices, garlic, onions to make Monday or any day tasty. So, as you forage to help shape the beginning of the workweeks spend some time on Sunday finding a new item to introduce into your repertoire. With that in mind, I also believe that any new find should be given a minimum of three ideas to go along with it. Nothing is really that precious that I must hang on to it for in reality that means it will most likely go-off before I get to it again. I came to this conclusion after returning home from a fantastic trip to Sicily that left my taste buds raising hallelujahs. One of the farms I visited had just harvested their tomatoes, and they were making tomato paste – by hand, al fresco during their arid, searing summer. It was the most intense tomato I have ever tasted. I used it so sparingly not wanting to let it go – the mold that established in the jar so did not care.
I truly think the best thing we can do for your bodies, the environment and an over-grown food system is learn to say yes to a greater variety of foods.
Vegetable and Barely Stew – yields 6 servings
1/2-cup un-hulled barley
2 medium onions – chopped
15 button mushrooms
1-1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1 medium carrot – peeled and chopped
approx.1/2 pound celery root – peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves – chopped
2 (13.5 ounces) canned tomatoes
1/2-cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the barley in 3-cups of water for 7 to 8 hours.
In a 4-1/2 quart saucepan add the oil and onion and over a medium heat cook the onions until they start to brown. Then stir in the button mushrooms and a 1/2-teaspoon of salt. Cook the mixture until the mushrooms start to wilt, and release some of it’s liquid.
Drain the barley and mix it in the saucepan along with the dried porcini mushrooms, carrot, celery root and garlic. Pour in the canned tomatoes and 1-cup of water. Season the mixture with pepper. Bring the barley mixture to a boil, and reduce the flame to low.
Cook the pot, and cook for an hour. Stir in the parsley and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot.