Monday, September 04, 2006

Updates on the house....

Before we get started with tonight's dinner, we have a couple updates to share. Before we moved to Phoenix, and while living there, everyone told us to be wary of the rattlesnakes, scorpions and other scary things (wild piggys!) In the time we lived there (just over 2 years) we never saw one of the things people warned us about. So, since moving out here we've seen a snake and today we found a tiny little devil hiding in the garage... Scroll down if you can't stand to see bugs!

Ugh, what next? We looked on-line and some places told us to look around for any egg sacks, but we didn't see anything. Jeff has never seen a Black Widow before, so it freaked him out a little - does this mean there are lots more hiding away (exterminator time?) or maybe just one decided to live with us.

After that fiasco, we went and signed the contract for the kitchen renovation. This means we ordered the cabinets, picked out the counters and finalized what demo work will be done - woo! The cabinets will take about 5 weeks, so we have some time left before we will be without the major appliances. I'm anxious to get things going, but I don't think it will hit me until we actually start having things torn out. I'm not sure how much we will be able to update the blog when this starts, but we'll see how creative we can get with cooking dinner and snacks! I may do a bunch of stuff ahead of time to freeze and reheat in the toaster oven.

Now, for tonight's dinner, we added another new grain to our diet - Pearl Barley! I've been wanting to try this for awhile and finally came across this recipe that jumped out at me - Edamame and Barley Salad. After doing some looking around, I did a few things different that I will definitely try with other grains.

After rinsing, I toasted the grains in a dry skillet until they were lightly golden - they released a very nutty aroma while doing this. Here is the difference between the pale grains versus the ones we toasted until golden.

In the recipe, it says to cook the barley according to package directions - which means 1 cup barley to 3 cups water. Boil, reduce, cover and simmer till done (45 minutes). After doing some looking on-line, I decided to use another method - Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil, add barley (do not cover) and simmer for 45 minutes. Drain, let sit 10 minutes and fluff with a fork. This worked wonders! The grains were separate, fluffy and not sticky at all. I found the flavor to be much more upfront and enhanced from the earlier toasting. I can't wait to try these methods with Quinoa and Bulgar.

Once cooked, the barley is mixed with roasted red bell peppers, onions, cilantro, fresh mint and edamame. This combination is then tossed in a light and tangy dressing simply made from olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon and chunky cracked black pepper. Colorful, fresh tasting and pretty filling - this would be a great make-ahead dish to enjoy later in the day.


  1. Oh man...that would scare the hell outta me..where's the broom?

  2. Yumm, this looks and sound delicious! I love edamame and enjoy barley a lot, in salads and soups. Another recipe I may try soon! somehow I missed it when I read the magazine... thanks for sharing your reviews!!

  3. ew! did you call the exterminator yet???

  4. Looks wonderful - what a great, healthy and tasty lunch this would be! Good luck with the new kitchen, hope it all goes off smoothly and without a hitch :)

  5. That looks great and so refreshing! I have never tried pearl barley either.

    I have never seen a black widow. I am with wheresmymind, it would scare the hell outta me as well.

  6. Since you're gutting the kitchen anyway, this would be a good time to get a bug guy out even if you hadn't seen the spiders. There are treatments they can apply behind appliances and furniture to minimize the appearance of all bugs. Something with Borax, I think? Does that sound familiar?

    Good luck with the creepies *and* the construction!


  7. I totally skipped the first picture, the next ones make me feel better, hehe! :P

    I added your blog to my "faken food" website's links, I hope you don't mind! :)

  8. That little creature looks like a redback spider which is common here in Australia.

  9. That's a scary spider. Shortly after my ex and I broke up, she had a black widow tattooed on her upper thigh. Totally turned me off. She said " bw's eat their pray, they have power" Ummm, I think the breakup affected her more than I though.

  10. Wheresmymind - We read to not smoosh them as they may carry the eggs on their backs... so we disposed of it using other methods!

    Ana - I had some for lunch today, the flavors marry so well over time.

    Sara - I'm getting closer to calling them!

    Ellie - Thanks!

    Patti - The barley was pretty easy to work with... now to find other uses!

    CK1 - Good call!

    Yum-O - Yeah, it is not too fun to look at!

    Anon - Really? Neat!

    Randi - Wow!

  11. Too scary. Ack!

    I just saw my first scorpion, Joe. I had Steve kill it. Eek!

  12. I love barley and this salad sounds great. I'll definitely be giving it a try in the next few days.