Apr 042017
 

snowmanformushbarley

Snow Day and Mushroom Barley soup go together well

I strategically made my way to the last car of the subway so that when I would emerge from being underground I’d be only a few yards from the entrance to the Whole Foods on Bowery & Houston.  Gathering the ingredients for my first ever, mushroom barley soup was all that was on my mind the entire subway ride but for some reason it was the carrots that were the standout ingredient for me.  I picked a perfect carrot for my soup from a heap of fantastic organic carrots & a handful each of: shiitake, cremini & button mushrooms. Then I was on to the bulk grain area to procure the barley. Being that this was the first time I was making mushroom barley soup, I was thrilled to find organic barley among the plethora of plastic silos filled with various rices, grains, beans, granola, etc.  that I did not know to look for pearl barley vs the barley that I happily watched fill the bag in the palm of my hand. At the cash register I declare the contents of the bag as hulled barley since I’d forgotten to weigh & price it at the bulk grains area.

The hulled barley took much longer to cook than pearl barley would which was a bit disappointing and reminded me of wild rice , which has never been a favorite of mine. One of my friends really liked the soup and liked the ‘snap’ of the very whole barley. Talk about a whole meal in a bowl. I toasted a thick slice of a good sour dough bread and rubbed that with a fresh garlic clove. I had this with pineapple juice & a splash of ginger beer  Very nutritional and comforting.

Here’s what I did to make the soup:

Ingredients:

1 – 2 Cs – mushroom stock/broth

1/2 # sliced mushrooms

1/2 a lg onion

2 Ts flour

1 C barley

4 – 6 Cs – veg broth

Baguette slices toasted & rubbed w/a garlic clove

What I did to make this: 

I brought at least about 6 cups of water to a boil in my kettle

I pencil cut the carrot. Very organic shape, quick & easy.

Sliced the stems of the shiitake and a fewmushrmstockpot of the button mushrooms and brought that to a simmer in about 2 cups of water and let that reduce over a medium to high flame or heat.

Then I methodically sliced the mushrooms.

Diced the medium sized onion.

Added the boiling water to a bowl with one all vegetarian bullion cube in it. Stir that around to make the broth.

Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot. Add the carrots & onions and stir well and cook for about 5 mins to soften these ingredients. I find this is best done with a top on between the ‘stirs’. Then add about a cup of dried barley and the 2 Ts of flour. Mix well to coat all ingredients in the pot. Lower the heat. Top on.

Strain the mushroom broth over a bowl and add this to the pot of veg, barley & flour mixture. msuhrmbarleypot

Then add another 2 or 3 cups of the broth. Stir well, lower the heat, Salt of D.Earth to taste, top on. Simmer. Stir occasionally. This soup took over an hour to cook before the barley was soft enough to serve & eat.

Most likely I’ll try this ‘recipe’ with pearl barley to see if it may cook in less time and to see how it tastes but I’m happy with another happy accident because I think working with the ‘hulled barley’ which has not been polished added a very earthy, hearty element to the dish. Pretty nice for a dish many expect to find & relish having short-ribs, flanken or brisket in.

Try it, you’ll like it!

 

 

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Nov 272016
 

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Imagine, if you wish, how many food -blogs, chef & restaurant newsletters, foodie magazines and the sorts that I get on any given day – suffice to say,  “A LOT” and I peruse pretty much all of them, but then when something catches my eye, say in the subject line or when I scroll down through the pictures, then I zero in and clap on. Such was the case when I read the Lucky Peach subject line: What You Need to Know About the Trendiest Beer, Squash, and Opening a Restaurant. All I saw was: What You Need to Know About Squash then I scrolled down through the email until I stopped at this picture & recipe:  img_0252Fettuccine with Butternut Squash and Red Poblano Crema. So I clapped onto this glorious looking dish, pictured in a pot just like my favorite pot. My initial impetus to go to the farmers market was because I was going make a soup, I now call my November #1 soup and red pablanos which I learned can only be had about two weeks a year so I was out the door and off to the Union Square Farmers Market like a shot. 

I picked up a batch of the Falls bounty to make my November #1 soup. This consisted of everything pictured here sans the top of the butternut squash.   img_1470  To make the November #1 soup I tossed the whole delicata squash and the bulb/bottom half of the butternut squash, (because it’s the neck part that is used to make the fettuccine and red Pablano dish) in the oven after pricking the skin randomly w/a fork and rubbing it w/a drizzle of olive oil. After about a half hour of cooking time in a 375 degree oven slice it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and return to the oven cut side down on a parchment or aluminum foil lined tray.img_1496 While this is baking prepare the other vegetables, peel & dice the carrot & an onion, peel and core the apple. Cut the sunchokes in half lengthwise then across into medium chunks.img_1479   img_1489

Get a heavy bottom pot hot . Coat the bottom w/oil and a pinch of salt. I added the carrots and onions to braise. img_1485I put water up to boil in my kettle – about 5 cups. Once you feel the veg are braised enough, say 5-7 mins or so, stirring pretty consistently, toss in a bullion cube, the apple, sunchokes and 4-5 cups of hot water. When I was digging around in my ‘spice cabinet’ for the bullion cube I came across a piece of a dried ancho chili, so this made it into ‘the soup’. Stir and bring the flame/heat down to a simmer.  Remove the squash from the oven and scrape the pulp into the soup. Mix occasionally and cook off for about 40 mins until the sunchokes are tender. Blend – you’ve got soup.

It was nightmare Wednesday the 9th that I made my first batch of my all time favorite dish, SpecialD now – Rick Bayless’ Fettuccine with Butternut Squash and Red Poblano Crema 

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First things first- roast the peppers and 3 or 4 garlic cloves in their skin. You’ll have to shake the pan under the flame or turn them over to thoroughly char the pepper’s skins. While this is cooking prepare the neck of the butternut squash into1/8″ planks img_1571

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Then into ribbons.

By the time you’re done with this the peppers and garlic should be ready to be removed from the oven. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skin and seeds. img_1581 Cut the best looking pepper into ribbons, these will be used as a garnish. Coursely chop the two other peppers and toss them into a food processor with the roasted garlic dents.  Season to taste with S&P.  Then you add about a cup of Mexican crema which can easily be substituted w/sour cream or creme fraiche. img_1585

Cook the butternut squash ribbons off in well salted water for about 4 minutes. Pour the red poblano creme sauce into a pan over a medium flame/temperature. With a slotted spoon or tongs add the cooked off squash to the crime sauce and add 8 oz of fettuccine to the boiling salted water. I used fresh pasta which cooked off in about 5 – 8 minutes. Always reserve at least a cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the creme sauce & mix in the roasted pepper ribbons and about a 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

img_1586 Top with finely chopped cilantro- if you have it. Dish out, eat up!. Who ever doesn’t think this is the most Dlicious meal, dish, food, sustenance, cibo,  they’ve eaten in a long time, ya gotta let me know.

After making the Butternut Fettuccine for a second time I roughly chopped up the leftover bottom, cleaned out the seeds and steamed that off.  While this steamed off I tossed a can of Trader Joe’s smoked trout and a dollop of olive oil mayo w/a grated apple which I slathered onto a toasted baguette wedge and ate w/the steamed butternut squash chunks.

Last but certainly not least I whipped up probably the best Butternut squash (& leek) risotto I’ve ever made.  Back at ya with that very simple recipe.