Thursday, June 07, 2007

Skip the 12 hour soak!

I have a bunch of grains in the pantry as we have access to a well-stocked bulk ingredient department at a local natural co-op. My problem is that I tend to over-buy what I actually need at the time and then they tend to sit around until I remember or come across a recipe that uses them. I found a recipe in my never ending to-try piles that used just what I already had on hand with a couple other pantry staples. In fact, the only thing I needed to buy fresh was some grape tomatoes - the green onions and goat cheese called for were already in the fridge since I needed a little of each for another recipe.

The original recipe, Wheat Berry Barley and Tomato Salad, called for soaking the wheat berries for at least 12 hours before cooking. However, this is not needed - the berries will soften in about 60 minutes, which only adds about 10 minutes to the total time. Halfway through cooking the berries, pearl barley is added and the two continue to cook together until they have softened. While you wait for the grains to finish, a healthy dose of olive oil is heated up to fry halved grape tomatoes along with balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic and dried thyme leaves - while this softens the tomatoes, this also creates the sharp dressing for the salad. Once you combine the grains and tomato mixture, crumbled goat cheese and a couple thinly sliced green onions are tossed into the mix to round out the dish. Since the chewy wheat berries and barley are somewhat bland on their own, the balsamic dressing livened the salad up with a complex and tangy flavor. With creamy pockets of goat cheese strewn throughout, we quickly made short work of our plates and are eagerly awaiting the rest for lunch tomorrow!


  1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with piles of grains from bulk bins lying around. Some of mine are from over-buying, some from buying and never using. I have some wheat berries in my pantry and some quinoa in the fridge that's been there in a mason jar for who knows how long!

  2. Jen - break out that Quinoa and give it a try... it is tasty stuff!