|Blood Orange, Roasted Root Vegetable & Barley Salad|
Inspired by books like Good to the Grain, websites like My New Roots, and spa destinations like Champneys (where I spent a blissful week one spring a few years ago) that focus on a healthy lifestyle, not to mention the memory of December’s overindulgence on sweets and my own desire to eat more real foods, I’ve been cooking and baking more and more with whole grains and the fruits and vegetables that are now in season, in particular citrus fruits and root vegetables.
Winter is the season with the leanest offering of seasonal or local fresh fruits and vegetables, but those on offer have a great variety in color, texture and flavor. Take a look next time you visit the grocery store and pick up some of these root vegetables: Carrot, Garlic, Onion — all old standbys that you probably buy all the time. Less commonly used but readily available and delicious are parsnip, celery root, beet root. Try roasting them in oven or boiling them in a vegetable or chicken broth for a fantastic soup. Stir them into your pilaf or risotto, or make this hearty, filling, colorful, full-textured winter salad, and rejoice at how summer’s underground bounty stores up so well for winter.
And then. The citrus! Lemons, limes, oranges, blood oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, mandarin, clementine, tangerine… that’s what we have around these parts this time of year, and you’d be surprised at how well the flavor of their juices marries with the inherent hearty sweetness of a roasted root vegetable submerged in pile of robust whole grains or lentils. Ah yes. Winter food is here to fill you up, satiate you, make you sit back and relish the cold days, the snowy weather, the high winds howling outside, the dusky afternoons and the dark nights…because with food like this, you can get it started and let heat do most of the work for you. Then fill your plate, your belly, your senses with warmth and flavor, and be ready for anything: an evening tucked under a blanket on the sofa with a good book in hand, or a long ski across the frozen sea. Your choice.
And speaking of good books, stacked on my reading table now are Season to Taste by Molly Birnbaum about losing one’s sense of smell and the ability to taste food along with it; a cookbook Roast Figs Sugar Snow by the inspirational Diana Henry; a book of poetry Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins; a novel about balance in nature Prodigal Summer (just finished!) by Barbara Kingsolver; and the thought-provoking Fat Chance – The bitter truth about Sugar by Dr. Robert Lustig about what sugar really does to our bodies (here is a link to a Lustig speech that will change the way you look at food and sugar, no question). No surprise, there is a strong food theme here – capped by the sweet music of Collin’s poetry.
What better time a year to read and be inspired than these early winter months?! I’d love to know what you are reading and cooking. Please share your recommendations with me!
|This blog’s salad served with a soft boiled egg and a roasted beet salad on lightly dressed beet greens|
Blood Orange, Roasted Root Vegetable & Barley Salad
Don’t be alarmed by the length of this recipe. It really does come together quickly and easily with very little “hands-on” time.
2 cups cooked barley (see instructions in Step 1)
1 cup of roasted, chopped carrots and parsnips (see instructions in Step 2)
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed soaked in 2 teaspoons water
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or use almond meat from making Almond Milk)
juice and reserve pulp of 1/2 blood orange
1 tablespoon olive il
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 blood orange, supremed; for garnish (Here is a great tutorial on how to supreme citrus)
1. Cooking Barley
Cook the barley as follows: In a medium-sized pot, combine:
2 1/4 cups / 4.5 dl water
1/2 cup barley / ohra
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low and cook, covered, until the barley is tender and the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and drain off any excess water. This will make 2 cups.
2. Roasting Root Vegetables
Roast the vegetables while the barley cooks as follows: Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F. On a parchment-lined baking pan place:
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into sticks
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until fork-tender and slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Chop enough enough of the root vegetables to form one cup and store the remainder in a covered container in the refrigerator for another use – or eat them right away with your fingers like I usually do.
3. Combine the flaxseed and water and set aside to soak
Combine green onions, orange juice and pulp, salt, pepper, soaked flaxseed, salt, pepper and olive oil in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine. Add the barley, almonds (or almond pulp from making almond milk), and chopped root vegetables and toss the whole mixture to combine thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture to a 1 liter / 1 quart / 4 cup serving bowl and top with the supremed orange slices.