Sunday, January 17, 2010


Now is the time of year when we all look towards change. We take a look at ourselves - inside and out, for better or worse - and think about what we would like to make better, make smaller, make firmer, make happier.  And we resolve to achieve those things before this time next year.  My resolution for this year is to try to be tidier in our tiny apartment, and not leave my crap all over the place.  Derek was very excited to hear this, although he has yet to see any results.  But I'm working on it.  

I'm also working on making up for the gluttony of the holiday season by returning my focus to healthful eating.  The 3 cookie a day habit I developed around Christmas must be kicked.  And the intake of vegetables and whole grains must be dialed up!  I'm back on my Green Monster kick, using my brand new shower-gift blender to make almond milk and liquify kale.  Its so much easier to get your healthy greens in when you have them at breakfast. It also helps when you can make delicious, healthy meals that don't taste like health food. That just taste delicious. That is this recipe, for a warm, comforting risotto made with hearty, heart-healthy barely and delicious roasted vegetables.

I used brussel sprouts and some beautiful orange, purple and white carrots because they were local, in season, and I can't get enough brussel sprouts.

You can easily use this base risotto recipe to create lots of different combinations, adding different vegetables and crumbling in cheeses to boost the flavor. Root vegetables and hearty greens are perfect for the winter and young asparagus and peas would really shine in the spring. Nuts and dried fruit would make this a creative side dish. I made this dish once with beets and marscapone cheese to amp up the creaminess, and it was a pink beauty.

You could also experiment with different grains here. The whole grains in one's diet should go way beyond whole wheat pasta and bread. There are so many out there to explore with a variety of flavors and textures. I love the chewy, nuttiness of barely, but you could also try this with farro, wheatberries, or more adventurous grains like amaranth.

Barley Risotto with Brussel Sprouts and Carrots
serves 4
4 Tbls olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 pound carrots, chopped into 1" pieces
1/4 freshly grated parmesan cheese (omit for vegan recipe)
salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400ยบ.
  • Pour vegetable broth into a medium saucepan, and heat until warm but not boiling. Reduce heat to low.
  • Toss vegetables with 2 Tbls of olive oil in large roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned and tender, about 20 - 25 minutes, while barely cooks. Set aside when roasted.
  • Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 more minutes. Add pearl and saute until fragrant and slightly toasted, about 3 more minutes. Add white wine and cook until wine is absorbed. Add 1 - 2 ladles of broth, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until broth is mostly absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding broth by the ladle-full until barley is tender but still slightly chewy.
  • Toss cooked barley with parmesan cheese, than stir in brussel sprouts and carrots. Pass additional parmesan on the side.
We ate this dinner on our brand new plates, also a shower gift. We got his and her's plates - mine have subtle white flowers and Derek's have bicycles. Very fitting...

1 comment:

  1. look whose back!!! With beautiful new plates!!! Look forward to seeing more delicious recipes and being inspired by you!