Fear of the Unknown

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It always takes an extra effort to breakaway from routine things to go and try something new.  It makes sense because what we know is what is comfortable and easy.  The fear of the unknown often deters people from engaging in new experiences.  Sometimes being brave can prove disastrous results, but it can also bring about amazing discoveries such as the barley lentil soup I came across. 

  I’ve never cooked barley before so I really didn’t know what to expect.  I’ve been wanting to incorporate more whole grains into my diet so I gave it a try and I’m sooo glad I did.  Its a soup that has a chewy bite to it, great flavors, and takes very little effort putting it together.  I hope you like it as much as I do. 

Red Lentil & Barley Soup (adapted from here)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 scallions, diced, whites and greens divided (optional)
1 clove garlic, whole and peeled + 1 clove minced
1 teaspoon chili oil
3-3.5 cups water
1 cube vegetable bullion (I’ve used chicken or beef cubes)
2/3 cup red lentils
1/2 cup pearl barley (or just plain barley)
salt and pepper

few pieces of raw chicken (optional)

In a pot, heat up some olive oil and sautee the onions and whole garlic clove for a few min.  Add in the minced garlic once the onions are about to brown.  Meanwhile, rinse & drain  the barley and red lentils with water, making sure to remove any dirt or rocks. 

Once the onions have browned, add in the 3 cups of water carefully (if you’re using regular barley, use 4 cups+).  Add in the boullion cube (you can use fresh stock if you wish instead) and chili oil.  Stir in the barley and lentils and cook for 40-60 min, depending upon which barley you’re using.  Add more water if the soup gets too thick. 

At this point you can add in the chicken pieces if you wish.  Once the barley is tender, remove chicken pieces and shred into the soup.  Adjust salt and pepper & serve immediately. 

The difference between barley and pearl barley, is that the pearls have the polished to remove the outer husk so it can cook quicker but doesnt have as many nutrients as plain barley.  The original recipe called for pearl barley which I didn’t have and so it took me an hour to properly cook the barley. 

I wanted to give the chocolate-cherry cookie mixture another try so I tried a different recipe which I liked so much better.  The oatmeal did wonders for it and gave a kick of nutrients. 

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries (from Bon Appetit Sept 2009)

1/2 cup (1 stick1) unsalted butter, room temperature  + 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries (6 ounces)

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I did half semi and half bittersweet)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  In a large bowl, whip together the butter, apple sauce, sugars, and vanilla extract.  Blend in the eggs.  Fold in the oats, flour, salt and baking soda until properly mixed.  Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon batter with rounded tablespoon 2 inches apart.  Bake for 7 min, rotate pan and bake for 7 more min, 14 min total.  Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining batter.

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3 thoughts on “Fear of the Unknown

    Aisha said:
    May 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Hmm, soup in Houston summer? I dunno, but I guess I’m not a big fan of soups…..pot pie on the other hand, I can do at 2 a.m. any night 😉

    stacy said:
    May 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the soup! I like that it’s filling but still feels light.

    arshia said:
    May 21, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    sounds like a keeper! cant wait to try it yayyy soup!

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