Friday, March 4, 2011

Roots and Barley, Corn Puree, Roasted Garlic Sauce

Barley is a great change of pace to substitute for any whole grain you might normally eat. It is soft but toothsome and loaded with protein, so really fills you up without much effort or cost. Barley contains gluten so it is not suitable for those trying to avoid it. If you are gluten-free, try using millet!
Remember, before cooking any grain, toast the seeds up in a dry saute pan. This small step really pumps up the flavor and aroma.

Nutty toasted barley tossed with sauteed carrots, onions, squash and herbs, served with roasted acorn squash, garlic-parsley sauce and chunky corn puree.

Roots and Barley
4 tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 acorn squash, halved
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp agave
1/2 spanish onion, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 celery stalk, small dice
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup barley
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 dried bay leaf

Preheat the oven to 425.
Cut thin slices of acorn squash out of one half. Toss with 2 tbl olive oil, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp dried thyme and agave. Line in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, flipping over once half way through.
Peel the skin off the other squash half and dice into small pieces.
Heat the remaining 2 tbl of oil in a large saute pan. Sweat the onion over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the carrot, celery, squash, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and 1 tsp dried thyme. Saute over medium high heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables soften and brown on the edges. Add the vegetable broth and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated and the squash is tender. Season to taste.
Heat a dry pot and add the barley. Cook until toasted and fragrant, 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of water, 1 tsp salt, thyme sprigs and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Boil for 35-40 minutes until tender but still toothsome. Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaf and toss with the sauteed vegetables. Serve with roasted acorn slices.

Corn Puree
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and white pepper
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbl coconut milk

In a small stock pot, heat the oil and saute the shallot for 3-4 minutes until it starts to soften. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste and corn. Toss and saute 5 minutes more. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend to desired consistency.
*At this point you can strain the puree if you'd like through a fine-mesh strainer or keep it sort of chunky. I liked the chunkier consistency so I kept it the way it was.
Bring back to the heat, add the coconut milk and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Roasted Garlic Sauce
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil,divided
1 head garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp organic cane sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
2 tbl water

Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the end off the garlic head and drizzle with 1 tbl olive oil and a pinch of salt. Wrap the garlic in some foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until the cloves are golden and tender. Pop the cloves out of the skin and add to a blender.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

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