Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vegetable Barley Soup

I believe there is a soup season, a time when the weather is just right for a bowl of nice warm soup. Over this winter I know my mom and I have been having a lot soup.  I like soup a lot, especially after a soccer practice that ended up being in the snow.  So, when we got barley in our winter CSA, we were excited to make this delicious barley soup. Barley has a ton of fiber, as you might have guessed, which is great for your body. This soup is flavored with garam masala, which is a blend of ground spices common in North India and other South Asian cuisines.  This mixture of spices adds just the right amount of flavor and kick to the barley. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did and are getting ready for the farmers market!


1 tbl. olive oil
2-3 onions, chopped
3 big carrots, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, split, germ removed and chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3/4 tsp. garam masala or curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
6 cups homemade chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley

1.  Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven.  Add the next 5 ingredients and stir them in the pot until they glisten with oil. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Stir in the spices,  then cover and cook additional 15 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
2. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the barley. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is tender and puffed, about 20-40 minutes so you need to check it often. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Recipe for homemade garam masala:

4 tbls. coriander seeds
1 tbl. cumin seeds
1 tbl. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 & 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3-4 pods cardamon
3/4 tsp. whole cloves
2- 1" pieces of cinnamon
3/4 tsp. crushed bay leaves

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and gently roast all ingredients, except for the ground ginger, until they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally and be patient. Do not turn heat to high or you can easily burn the spices and ruin the overall taste.
2. Once roasted, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
3. Once cool, remove the cardammon seeds from their pods and mix them back in with the other spices. Add the ground ginger and nutmeg.
4. Grind them all together either in a mortar and pestle or clean, dry coffee grinder to a fine powder.
5. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

Meyer Lemon and Pepper Barley Risotto

My mom has always made risotto and I have always loved it.  Risotto is usually a dish of arborio rice slow-cooked in broth to a creamy consistency and mostly combined with parmesan, butter, and onions. You have to be willing to stand by the stovetop and slowly stir in the broth in small additions to make sure you have a nice and creamy risotto. If fact, if you order it in a restaurant in Italy, they will warn you how long it will take since the chef makes each dish individually.  This recipe uses barley instead of rice, which is not something I knew you could do.  Even so, this barley risotto is just as delicious as any rice risotto. I like this recipe without the mushrooms, since I am not a big fan of fungi, but I would assume that even with mushrooms this recipe would be delicious! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!! 


2 tbl. butter (Winder Farms)
1 cup diced onion (Utah Farms CSA)
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped (Utah Farms CSA)
2 red or yellow peppers, seeded and diced (Utah Farms CSA)
1 & 1/2 cups pearl barley (West Mountain Wheat)
1 cup white wine
4-6 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth (homemade)
Grated zest of 4 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup grated parmesan or swiss cheese (Beehive Cheese)
2 tbl. sour cream (Meadow Gold)
sunflower sprouts (Sunbridge Growers)

1. Melt butter in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook over medium, stirring constantly for approximately 5 minutes. Add diced peppers and cook for additional 5 minutes.
2. Add barley to the pan and stir until pearls are covered well with butter and are shiny. Add the wine and simmer until all the wine is absorbed. Stir often.
3. Add one cup of broth to pan. Simmer and stir mixture until most of the broth is absorbed. Add additional broth one cup at a time, allowing each addition to be fully absorbed before adding the next cup of broth. Continue this step when the barley has reached the degree of tenderness or chewiness desired.
4. Remove pan from heat and add in the lemon zest and cheese. After addition of cheese, season with additional salt if desired and ground pepper to taste.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens over Pasta

Hi, this is Bianca's mom again. My girlfriends and I got together this past week for one of our monthly birthday parties. I usually make the dessert but was assigned a vegetable dish this go round. As Bianca has stated previously in her blog, I usually don't like to go out to the store to buy ingredients but try to find  recipes that match the ingredients that I already have on hand. This saves me a lot of running around, gives me some fun time to research recipes, and usually leads to some interesting meals. I had just gotten Lynne Rossetta Kasper's cookbook The Splendid Tables How to Eat Supper from the library thinking it would be my turn to pick our next cookbook for our cooking club but looks like my turn won't come until June for that club so I started combing through the book to see what I could make for the birthday dinner. This recipe looked interesting since it called for roasting spring greens along with the onions, garlic and butternut squash. I was a little skeptical since I have never roasted salad greens before but the worse that could happen would be that I wouldn't like it and then have to come up with a different recipe for the birthday bash. Utah Farms CSA has delivered fresh spring greens from Julie Clifford for the past 2 weeks so I had some on-hand along with a butternut squash, onions and garlic that I had in storage. For the pasta, I had some bow-tie pasta that I received as a gift (imported from Italy) but you can get local pasta from either Chidester Farms (at Dan's supermarkets) or Nu Nooz pasta at Harman's. We always have cheese on-hand from the multitude of our local providers so that wasn't a problem.

It is amazing how easy this dish is to prepare. I usually hate peeling, seeding and dicing a butternut squash but his cookbook gave a great tip on an easier way to do it. First, half the squash lengthwise and then place it cut side down on your cutting board. Cut it crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. This makes it easier to trim away the peel and seeds from each slice. Wish I had known about this years ago.

All together, this dish took about 35-40 minutes to prepare with only about 5-10 minutes of prep time. Easy enough to handle for a quick, weekday meal.


3 to 3 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium to large onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 big handfuls of spring greens (Utah Farms CSA)
1/3 cup basil, torn (www.farmersdaughterherbs.com)
16 large, fresh sage leaves (fresh from my garden)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbl. tightly packed brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 pound bow-tie pasta or wide noodles
1/c cup half-and-half (Winder Farms)
1 to 1-1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place one large shallow sheet pan in the oven to heat it up.
2. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
3. In a big bowl, toss together the first 8 ingredients and generously season with salt and pepper. Being careful not to burn yourself, pull out the oven rack containing the cookie sheet and spread the vegetables evenly on the cookie sheet. Return rack to oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Turn the vegetables one to two times during roasting.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in the salted, boiling water until al dente, which is tender but still firm. Drain.
5. When the squash is tender, turn the oven to broil to help roast and caramelize the vegetables. Watch the oven closely to prevent burning and turn often to roast all vegetables evenly. The greens will almost become crispy and the squash should brown a bit around the edges, about 5 minutes total broiling time. Remove for the oven.
6. Place all the vegetables in a large serving bowl. Add the hot pasta, half-and-half and one cup of the cheese. Toss well. Add more cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
adapted from The Splendid Tables How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift