Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Barley Risotto with Edamame and Artichokes

I’m not sure after this one I’ll ever use rice again for my risotto, I liked the consistency and mouth feel of the barley so much better.  I made it just as I would a rice risotto.  I started by sautéing a chopped shallot in a large pan with some extra virgin olive oil and, or, a quarter stick of butter.  Then after a few minutes, two chopped garlic cloves.  If you have an open bottle of white wine add a half a cup and cook until it is nearly absorbed, if not, use the juice from half a lemon.  Pour in some more oil and, or, another quarter stick of butter, melt, and pour in a cup of uncooked barley and stir around to coat.     

Time to add the liquid.  Along with the two and a half cups of water I like to add some vegetable or mushroom stock for flavor but it isn't critical.  Better Than Bullion is a great choice.  Turn up the heat, stir, and lower to a simmer once it reaches a boil.  It is best to stir occasionally for the thirty to forty five minutes it takes for the barley to reach the desired consistency.  This time around I added some edamame out of the pods from the frozen food section that I defrosted, a can of artichoke hearts I rinsed and chopped, some fresh chopped chives, lots of grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.  However the combinations are endless, peas, scallions, sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, cooked bacon, and spinach to name a few.  I often browse for ideas, just search on risotto. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Greek Wheatberry Salad

It was about two years ago I stumbled onto wheatberries and have been a fan ever since.  They’re as simple to make as pasta, incredibly versatile hot or cold, and really good for you.  For this Greek interpretation I boiled a cup of wheatberries for forty five minutes, drained, let cool, then combined with extra virgin olive oil, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives along with some crumbled feta and salt and pepper to taste.  Try them hot with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and garlic, or as a main course with diced chicken, capers and lemon.  Did I mention the chew…love it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak

A tasty way to prepare a piece of meat or fish is to use a spice rub, and it couldn’t be any easier.  No matter what spices I use I always start with about a one to five mixture of salt to sugar depending on how much rub I need.  As I was only grilling a steak flank last night it worked out to about a half teaspoon of salt to one and a half tablespoons of sugar.  I was thinking Mexican so in addition I mixed in a tablespoon of chili powder and a few pinches of cayenne pepper.  I dusted both sides of the flank steak then rubbed it in with my hands making sure that the surface of the meat was completely covered with the spice mix.  That’s it, not even any need to prepare in advance.  I served the sliced steak with my favorite salsa verde and roasted cauliflower that I rubbed with some cumin powder, celery seed, and salt after tossing with a little bit of olive oil.  No need for the sugar on the veggies.  Happy Grillin’!