Monday, February 24, 2014

The California Barley Bowl

The California Barley Bowl, originally uploaded by michele wynne.
And now a for brief interlude in my pursuit of macaroni and cheese nirvana, this California Barley Bowl came up on my radar last week via 101 Cookbooks. I was intrigued on a couple of levels. First and foremost: it looked absolutely gorgeous as Heidi's amazing photography always does. I was also amused at a little coincidence that Heidi's inspiration for this recipe came from a new cookbook called Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon. I had just been admiring the book at work a few weeks back when Megan Gordon, the author herself, came by the market to do a demo and book signing.

So when I opened up my email from 101 Cookbooks, I high-tailed it to the store for some arugula and yogurt, feeling pretty damned good about myself for the healthy 180 and the fact that I already had the majority of essential ingredients on hand, including some amazing Sir Prize avocados I managed to snag from the "Sad Produce" box at the market. The surprise about this type of avocado is that from the outside the Sir Prize when at it's optimal ripeness, is dark and super squishy, you'd think it was rotten, yet you cut it open and its the most amazingly vibrant green and yellow and buttery good perfection inside. It's perfect for smashing into guacamole or onto piece of grilled bread, or just spooning it directly into your mouth, not super great for cubing or slicing picture perfectly to fan out and gorgeously garnish your salad top. It's a good thing I'm not into perfection. Really, I'm not.
Anyhoo, this kind of grain bowl one could conjure up with stuff in the fridge and couldn't be easier once you've cooked up your grain of choice and even easier to plan to cook up big batches and freeze it up in 2 cup portions. The frozen package can be pulled out of the freezer, contents dumped into a big mesh strainer or colander, run cold water over it for a minute or so and break up the grains. Put the grain into a microwave safe dish and microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring until the grain is no longer cold. You don't want to get it hot or else it will wilt the greens. I like it when its just slightly warm.
I added some crumbled blue cheese to this and it was amazing and the poached egg? well this is just breakfast bowl nirvana.

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