Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Black Barley, Lentil and Edamame Salad



Early this morning, I read a recipe in the New York Times by Martha Rose Shulman (yesterday's paper) for a Black Rice and Red Lentil Salad.  I decided that I wanted to make it for lunch.  I went to the store to buy the ingredients, but they didn't have black rice, so I bought black barley instead.  Avocados were on sale and just ripe, so I bought a couple of those, thinking I would use them sometime but without anything particular in mind.  The New York Times recipe instructed me to soak the lentils for a couple of hours, but I felt unsure of this technique, because the instructions on the package of red lentils I purchased said to cook them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.  So I decided to cook the barley according to the package instructions and then add the lentils for the amount of time suggested on the package.  I put together a dressing using the ingredients and proportions suggested in the New York Times, then put a little bit of it over a small test portion of salad.  I decided it needed more oomph, so I added a couple of ingredients to the dressing and changed the proportions a little, and I also added a few ingredients to the salad in order to make the flavors more complex.  I added avocado to give it a smooth, soft, mellowy something.  I added dried apricots and currants to give it a little sweetness amidst the rather heavy, earthy flavors of the barley and beans.  I added celery for a little crunch.  The result was amazing.  This is a real winner, and I am so proud of myself!  By the way, I used red lentils, thinking that the red color would look nice in the salad, but when I cooked them, they turned brown, so I think you could use any kind of lentil in this recipe and it would be fine and not make a lot of difference.

Dressing:

1 ½ TBS lime juice
1 TBS walnut oil
1 TBS grapeseed oil
1 TBS soy sauce
½ TBS rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
½ tsp ginger juice or grated ginger
¼ tsp ground cumin

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Salad:
1 cup black barley (dry, rinsed)
1/3 cup lentils (dry, rinsed)
1 cup edamame beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
¼ cup currants
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2TBS chopped cilantro

Boil vegetable broth.  Add black barley.  After 30 minutes, add lentils.  Cook about 10 minutes more.  Check for doneness:  lentils should be soft but not mushy.  Barley should be tender but will have a slightly chewy/nubby texture.  Drain over bowl; reserve broth for another use (can be used as a vegetable broth base for soup or something).  Put lentils and barley in a bowl and toss.  Allow to cool.  Add cooked edamame beans (if you use frozen, cook in a microwave for 2-3 minutes), celery, avocado, dried fruit, nuts and cilantro.  Pour dressing over all and toss.

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