Sunday, February 13, 2011

Barley Risotto - after a long Hiatus!

Alright, its not like skinny bitches are on a diet and not cooking. In fact, we've been cooking up a storm since the holiday, but boy oh boy, where does one find time to work / school / cook and blog at the same time?! I'm looking at my food picture collage and i don't even know where and how to start adding the recipes that are so freaking backlog! i'll leave it to the Rochester bitch to figure it out.

So ignoring my backlog, i figure i'd jump the line and add today's creation as the first 2011 entry.  This recipe is a courtesy of my colleague MS who made it last week, and i got to taste it and be inspired to create in my own ghetto kitchen.  Using barley for a risotto recipe is simpler than arborio rice because it requires less stiring than then traditional recipe, or at least, i got away with it! Please enjoy - ideal for tomorrow's valentine dinner!

Barley Risotto with Mushroom and Cabbage
1 C barley
6 C fluids (i used 3 C chix stock+3 cups cabbage stock since i boiled cabbage in it, and some white wine, optional)
Mixture of bella, shitake and or your favourite mushrooms
1 Onion
5 cloves (or more) Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan (i used superfine quality Parmesan, totally made the difference!)
And for obvious reasons, olive oil for cooking.

In a dutch oven, add olive oil (2-3 tbsp) and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.  Add mushrooms and continue the sauté action until softened. Add barley and 3 cups of fluids and stir occasionally.  Simmer on medium heat and add some kosher or sea salt (~2tsp).  Check occasionally and continue adding liquid as the barley absorbs.  Taste the barley to see if it is tender to your liking, if not, continue adding a little stock and keep simmering with cover on.  The process took me ~45 minutes.  I had boiled some cabbage on the side, and added the boiled cabbage at the last 10 minutes of the cooking action to incorporate some vegetable into the dish.  You can always add asparagus instead.  Shave as little or as much parmesan cheese into the risotto and stir to melt the cheese, and, Voila! I roasted some korean potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as carrots/brocoli/cauliflower as a side.  Do serve it with your favourite meat such as roasted chicken or flank steak. Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!!