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.
Edamame and Barley Salad