Friday, April 23, 2010

Risotto-Style Barley with Citrus and Arugula

This is a delicious and creamy risotto. A first for me making a risotto from anything but Arborio rice but the barley is really nice. I love barley so I figured I would not be disappointed. I unfortunately did not have any arugula so I substituted with baby spinach. I'm sure the bitterness of the arugula would have been a great contrast to the citrus so I will make sure I have some arugula next time.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 cups lightly pearled barley
  • 1 cup good—quality dry white wine
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 big handfuls arugula, coarsely chopped
  • Handful of chopped toasted walnuts, for garnish

  1. Heat the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion, shallots, garlic, and salt and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
  2. Add the barley to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.
  3. In increments, add about 6 cups of water, i cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes altogether. Stir regularly, because you don’t want the grains on the bottom of the pan to scorch. You will know when the barley is cooked because it won’t offer up much resistance when chewing (it will, however, be chewier than Arborio rice). I think this risotto is better on the brothy side, so don’t worry if there is a bit of unabsorbed liquid in the pot.
  4. Meanwhile, grate the zest of the orange, then peel and segment the orange. Cut the segments in half, reserving any juices that leak out. When the barley is tender, stir in the orange zest, segments and juice, lemon zest, Parmesan, and crème fraiche. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be, then stir in the arugula. Garnish with the toasted walnuts before serving.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crunchy Slaw Salad

I had about three-quarters of a head of green cabbage left over from a stir fry that I needed to use up. I decided that this Crunchy Slaw Salad would be a perfect way to use it up because it is a beautiful day so we will barbeque some chicken to go with it. I have only made slaw salads like this with mayonnaise so this is a really nice change. The dressing is awesome. It is just like that creamy vinaigrette you get with teriyaki take-out. I wish I had some fish because this slaw would be amazing on fish tacos.


Creamy Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Splash of heavy cream


  • 1 extra-crisp apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 big squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 small Savoy cabbage ( I just had regular green cabbage but Savoy would be even better)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts


To make the dressing, whisk the apple cider and lemon juice together in a small bowl, season with a few pinches of salt and a couple grinds of pepper, then gradually whisk in the olive oil followed by the cream. Set aside.

Shred the apple on the large holes of a box greater, then put the shreds in a bowl of cold water with the squeeze of lemon; this will keep the apple from browning. Cut the cabbage into quarters and core each section, then cut them into a very fine chiffonade. Just before serving, drain the apples and toss with the cabbage, walnuts, and dressing in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Recipe from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pineapple Glazed Ham

This is a great ham recipe. I found the recipe on Epicurious and it has a rating of 4 out of 4 'forks' and I have to agree. I have made it a few time now and just made it for Easter again this year. I love the pineapple on it. I could do without the cherries but they do make the pineapple rings stay on easier. This one is a must try.


  • 1 smoked bone-in Virginia ham (14 to 16 pounds)
  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 12 to 16 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • About 10 pineapple rings
  • About 10 maraschino cherries

  • Directions

    1. Combine the pineapple juice, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes, reducing the liquid by half (to 2 cups). Strain and reserve.

    2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    3. Carefully trim the thick rind and all but 1/4 inch of fat from the surface of the ham. With a sharp knife, score a diamond pattern and insert the cloves at the crossed points of the diamonds.

    4. Set the ham in a shallow baking pan. Brush the mustard all over the top. Pat the sugar atop the mustard.

    5. Starting at the butt end, decoratively arrange the pineapple rings, securing with cherries and toothpicks in the centers, working toward the bone. Pour the reserved pineapple juice into the bottom of the pan and place in the oven.

    6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 15 minutes.

    7. When the ham is done, place it on a serving platter and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve into thin slices, beginning at the butt end. Serve warm with pan sauce alongside. Remove the pineapple slices and cherries as you carve and serve them with the ham.

    Recipe from Epicurious.

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