Sunday, August 5, 2012

Barley with a side of green

A hammock. That’s what I would like. A shaded place to pass Sunday afternoons, remembering college and breathlessly turning page after page of a John Banville novel. Wouldn’t that be spectacular? A few days ago people at work were going bananas over this geek test online, a mile-long list of questions that no doubt had been put together by somebody in some inspiration-spurring place, such as the john. If you read Russian novels for pleasure, you got extra points as a geek. Lucky me, I suppose.

Whatever happened to simple things? Everywhere I look there's a plethora of something. A plethora of cars - just the other day an asshole decided to cut me off and turn left right in my face, and as I squeezed both brakes to avoid slamming my poor mountainbike into his overwaxed truck, I waved the middle finger at the driver without any compunction. A plethora of choices - how many brands of nut butters can there be, really? I know we're trying to be healthy, but come on. A plethora of recipes, too. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed between the things I want to try to make and the perpetually receding time, that I feel like just giving up. The hell with the blog! But it can't just be that easy, can it?

A few years ago I discovered what is now my favorite quick recipe: couscous with peas and mint. I love everything about it: the simplicity, the taste (buttery couscous with crunchy sweet peas go so. well. together.), the color. It's a sexy meal, really. So this time I didn't have couscous at the residence but I had barley, so I gave it a shot for a nice little adaptation. Not as good as the original, but a nice simple meal, in the good ole' Beauty Detox tradition.

Barley with peas and green beans
~ serves 4

1 cup pearl barley (quick cooking)
8 oz frozen peas (half a package)
8 oz frozen green beans (half a package)
4-5 mint leaves, minced
a sliver of butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the barley, 2 cups of water and salt in a pot . Boil for 20 minutes or until softened.
In the meantime, set the peas and green beans to boil and if using frozen vegetables boil them for about 8 minutes (you want them to be al dente, not soft). 
Serve the barley with a sliver of butter on top and a side of peas and green beans. Sprinkle mint on the side.

Good luck!

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