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3 Ways to Eat Barley

22 May

Barley is an excellent source of fiber and essential amino acids (Google it or read the package it comes in). In addition to loving its taste and texture, I’ve noticed that it really has helped improve my digestive system. This fact is not only good news for my general health, but it also seems to have helped boost my metabolism. I feel like eating more yummy sources of fiber, like barley, is helping me lose weight in a really healthy way. Plus, barley is such a versatile grain. Below are just three ways I have incorporated it into our meals. I look forward to hearing more ideas from you readers! [Note: Barley does contain gluten.]

fried egg on barley

For a breakfast high in protein and fiber, throw a fried egg on some boiled barley and enjoy the yumminess!


By itself, boiled barley has a hearty grain taste. I like to cook it for a long time, stirring frequently (and occasionally adding extra water) so that the barley is soft and tender and the starch water thickens to a yummy consistency. Add a bit of salt while cooking. A bowl of this plain barley as a porridge can be a terrific alternative to oatmeal. Or, for extra protein and variety, throw a fried egg on top. It makes for a great-tasting, super healthy breakfast. By the way, in my experience, barley always takes longer to fully cook than the package indicates, so allow for extra boiling time.

Side Dish

The other day, I mixed boiled pearled barley with choclo cut off the cob. (Peruvian corn; for image and other uses, see this recipe). I boiled both separately first, then mixed them together and boiled them for an additional 30 minutes with some butter and salt (stirring every few minutes). The resulting side dish was one of the yummiest things I’ve made in a while. The texture of the corn perfectly complimented the barley. The taste of the extra soft barley with the potato-like corn and butter blended so well! I took some over to Vita’s apartment and we gobbled it all up. We started calling it kasha, which she taught me is a Russian word for a savory, hearty side dish like this turned out to be.

Main Course

I always cook enough dinner so that there are leftovers for lunch the next day. Sometimes there’s even more than that so I try to get creative and use the leftovers in new ways so that we’re not eating the same thing for three or four days in a row. For example, back in April, I made a giant batch of pea soup. There is still one small container of it in the freezer. Once defrosted, it will be enough for one big lunch or two small sides for dinner. However, I’ve also got some plain boiled barley left in the fridge, which can be an excellent ingredient in soup. So, I’m going to combine the leftover soup and the barley as a base for a stew. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I plan to add some carrots and maybe also some choclo. It’ll be one of the heartiest vegetable stews I’ve ever made. We also have some leftover pulled pork roast, which could be added since the soup was originally ham stock-based, but I’m not sure about that yet.

pearled barley

Barley is a great source of fiber and amino acids. This tasty grain can be used in many types of hot and cold dishes.

There are so many other ways to cook barley. I even saw some recipes for salads that mix barley with soybeans and other veggies, which sounds really yummy. For a salad, I would stop cooking the barley once it reached a sort of “al dente” texture so that it would blend well with other cold veggies because you wouldn’t want mushy barley in a salad.

I hope you enjoy trying it out in new ways in your life!


Spicing Up a Classic English Recipe

18 Apr

…or, When “Toad in the Hole” Becomes “Great Horny Toads Pie” 

Great Horny Toads Pie by Michelle

A twist on "Toad in the Hole," Michelle's "Great Horny Toads Pie" uses spicy sausages and is served with gravy, sweet red yam, and an artichoke.

I came across this “Toad in the Hole” recipe when I was reading photographer Julia Segura’s food photography blog. This sounded like a great and different way to use up the last few sausages I had in the fridge. I had used the sausages with eggs and potatoes but I was getting tired of that and I had unfortunately succumbed to a sale price on a huge box of these super spicy, large links (and I gave half to my mom and her husband; lesson learned). It’s because of the spicy twist on this English standard that I borrow Yosemite Sam’s catchphrase to rename this recipe, “Great Horny Toads Pie!” It’s got quite a kick to it, which I hope will kick-start my metabolism as much as it did my taste buds. The pudding batter–called Yorkshire pudding–which produces a consistency slightly similar to quiche–serves as a nice balance for the hot sausage flavor. To further compliment that balance, I served the main dish with an artichoke and a slice of red yam on the side. Both of these vegetables have subtle, mild, but distinct flavors that offer a sweet relief to the spiciness. (And artichokes are in season–and on sale–right now!)

Great Horny Toads Pie

Total prep time: about 15-20 minutes

Total cook time: about one hour


– Yorkshire Pudding: 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon salt

– 5 large hot and spicy sausage links, sliced

– 1 roma tomato, chopped

– 1/4 onion, chopped

– artichokes (one per person)

– red yams (1/2 yam per person)

– two tablespoons canola oil

– two tablespoons butter

– 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, thyme, and cumin

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