Saturday, March 14, 2009

Barley & Sausage

I am writing this at a local cafe enjoying my latte and free wifi while C diligently chases endorphins in a gym nearby. How different we are in that respect. He is high as a kite after working out while I just end up feeling sticky and, pardon my French, pukey. Food for me is a whole world of tastes and textures and colors and smell and memories and experiences...while he, although no less adventurous in that department than I, tends to plunk them into boring categories like "carbs" and "fat" and "protein".

(i know these categories exist and I probably should be paying more attention to them...but I'll stay in my fairy tale food world for as long as I can thank you very much!)

"Carbs" in particular have been the most recent persona non grata in C's life. The "war on carbs" is being waged hot and heavy over here with C and my mother as co-conspirators. And me? I'm sleeping with the enemy ;)

You can only sneak about so much though before a feeling of discontent sets in. I haven't bought a loaf of bread in weeks and I'm going bananas. And don't even ask what it does to my Asian heart to hear the words, "No rice tonight hon."

So I'm exploring other, healthier, types of grains that we can substitute for rice. Not forever mind you -- as there is no real substitute for steaming white rice in my life -- but just for every-so-often. Grains are oh-so-chic now and because of this you can find a slew of choices at groceries and health food stores...with health benefits that outweigh the "carb" content. A fantastic selling point for my husband! And for me? "It's yummy!" is all the reason I need :)

Barley & Sausage

  • 1/2 cup barley, cooked as per package instructions
  • 200 grams country sausage, sliced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 big white onion, sliced into half moons
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a pinch dried thyme
  • a pinch fennel seeds
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Cook barley as per package instructions. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onions and potatos and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add garlic, dried thyme, and fennel seeds. Toss. Add sausage and sautee until potatoes are soft, onions are slightly golden, and sausage is nice and seared in places.
- Add cooked barley and toss so everything is evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sautee a bit more just to mingle flavors. Take of heat and serve.
- Serves 2.

After this dish I will definitely be exploring more of barley! Soft with a nice bite to it, and a delightful nutty-ness, this grain is all set to be experimented on in my kitchen :) Especially as both C and I enjoyed this so much!

You must have noticed that I was totally sneaky by adding a bit of potato to this dish :) I plead guilty! But I love the taste of the soft potato and sweet onions amidst all the yeilding crunch of a healthful hash. I've kept the potato at a minimum but you can do without it if you wish. I used country-style sausage made by the cousin of a friend of mine which she sells from her home (better than supermarket-bought by a mile!). This would be wonderful with fresh thyme but I only had please use fresh if you have it! This makes for a very satisfying meal (barley is digested slowly, making you feel full longer) -- the sauvory-ness of the sausage cushioned perfectly by the barley and potatoes, and the sweetness of the onions. Fennel and thyme get on famously with sausage I feel, which is why I've used them here. I think I'll stir through some crumbled goat's cheese at the last minute the next time I make this.

Although I continue to look for healthy alternatives in eating, don't think I've gone over to C's and my mom's side of the fence. I certainly don't see myself ever waxing poetic over "whey protein". And I still have a few tricks up my the pasta sauces C loves (which of course will involve pasta!) and dishes C cannot eat without rice! ;) Ssshhh!


Daniel said...

We rediscovered barley recently too, and have had fun digging up recipes that include it. Thanks for sharing this one.

PS: Funny that you mention getting queasy after working out... same with me. It's an advantage though isn't it? Exercise not only burns calories but it also makes you NOT want to eat.

Casual Kitchen

Lori said...

Love finding new ways to use grains! Carbs are not the enemy. :) In fact, our body likes them quite a bit for those exercise sessions. ;)

cathy said...

OH my, this looks SO good! What a delicious way to start the day (though I must admit that I'm more likely to make it for dinner some night). Yum!

Erin said...

I love barley as well as other grains and use them pretty often in my cooking. My current love affair is with wheat berries. The recipe looks great!

veron said...

Love barley...just like you I like the bite and nuttiness of it all.

Anne said...

I've never tasted barley before and this recipe is one good reason I should try it out. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

Anonymous said...

We have just recently explored grains too - and it really made us feel better! No heavy feeling :) We've been brown rice eaters for a while now (Just the Dona Maria Jasponica please, its the only brand we like). Plus barley, quinoa, bulgur wheat, farro :) I buy my supply in the grocery of Market Market and the prices are reasonable! I want to promote my source, coz sometimes I worry that they would stop selling them coz not a lot of people buy! -- dee

Katrina said...

I hear ya, Joey! As you know, F is also a health buff, while I choose to ignore my favorite foods' carb, cholesterol, and sugar content. But unlike you, I cook so rarely that when I do make the effort, he has no choice but to eat whatever I make! (Like how he had to let go of his "no rice" rule when I cooked binagoongan.) Thanks to Mila & Socky, I bought some soba and matching ingredients, and plan to experiment with that tonight. F loves Japanese food, so I hope he'll forget his no-carb commitment again. I love how we're so sneaky! :-D

Midge said...

I love barley! I grew up eating the stuff; my mother used to add barley kernels to our soups. I've never tried it with sausage, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

MeetaK said...

barley is just awesome. my team mate over at the Daily Tiffin wrote and incredible article about barley showing you all the different types and what you can do with it. I am loving this recipe as it's simple but so goood!

thepostflorenceworld said...

Have you tried farro? It makes for a nice salad with corn and cherry tomatoes. I've also recently discovered orzo perlato which makes for yummy, creamy soups. I will definitely try doing this barley and sausage mix. :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Daniel! Nice to know I’m not the only queasy one out there!

Hi Lori! Thanks for shedding good like on my much maligned carbs! :) We do need them for energy :)

Hi Cathy! We actually had this for lunch :) But I’m thinking of a barley breakfast and will start experimenting on that soon!

Hi Erin! Wheat berries sound good! I have read about them from other blogs but have yet to find them over here!

Hi Veron! I love nutty things, which is why this appealed to me :)

Hi Anne! Hope you like it!

Hi Dee! I love the grocery at Market Market!!! So many interesting things...and such a fantastic Asian food section too :) So you’ve found farro there? That’s the only one (and now wheat berries!) I haven’t been able to locate!

Hi Katrina! Hahaha! We are so naughty!!! ;) And F also popped into my head as I wrote this – if he starts talking to C and my mom we are in trouble! I have to try the soba recipes soon...which sauce did you buy? Can’t wait to hear about your experiments!

Hi Midge! I love it in soups too...have to try it at home!

Hi Meeta! Thank you loads for that link! Now I have more ideas for my barley stash!

Hello thepostflorenceworld! I have heard of farro but have not found it here yet! I haven’t stopped looking though...sounds like I would like it too :)

Christina said...

Joey you don't have to give up rice! Just trim out white rice. Whole grain rice is high in fiber, so it cuts some of the carb effect, plus it feeds your body more nutrients than bleached out white rice.

Cordillera heritage rices are quite healthy and nutrient-rich (and I think nuttier-tasting than plain white rice anyway), if you can manage to find some easily.

Barley is a super-nutrient grain, so that's a good idea.

Another grain favorite of mine is quinoa. Quinoa actually has protein in it (unusual for a grain, good for people working out and building muscle mass) and amino-acids. Vegetarians love it for that reason. It's also a super-nutrient.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Christina! Thanks for all the great information! :) Worry not, I will never give up rice, heehee! Even white rice has a place in my table...I am good friends with my carbs ;) I do like our native whole grain rice...I get a very yummy blend of kalinga rice from our local market. I've also tried quinoa and loved it! :) Thank goodness I like these super-nutrient grains to combat all my bad habits ;)

Suzana said...

Barley is a new grain for me as well, having tasted it for the first time less than a year ago. I really love it! And your take on barley looks (and certainly tastes) great. :)

Watergirl said...

In college, I'd go to this jewish deli that served mushroom and beef barley soup. I loved it! Pretty healthy with lots of celery and carrots, the beef was mostly broth, and the barley was chewy and nutty.

Watergirl said...

I forgot to add that barley water makes for a good tea-like tisane. But I think C won't appreciate that all the starch is in the water.

Shalum said...

it looks yummy. but maybe i can make do with my brown dinorado for awhile. they look the same :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Suzana! I am looking forward to experimenting some more with this grain! If you have any suggestions I’d be happy to hear them :)

Hi M! I love soups with barley in them...yummy and satisfying :) Barley, nothing goes to waste!

Hi Shalum! And brown rice also has that lovely nutty flavour so you could definitely substitute it :)

Jescel said...

this is a delicious way of doing barley. I often add it to soups/stews... makes the stews hearty and helps thicken the soup as well.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

There's a reason "Variety is the spice of life." It makes such sense on so many levels. I may not be able to live by bread alone but I don't want to live without it either.
Barley now . . . I love barley and love new ways with it. This looks excellent Joey.

Honeybee said...

I don't care what people say, I love carbs. Ok, I love grains, too and try to make sure we get some variation but the thought of giving up pasta for instance... no way. Besides, nothing makes me eat too much of a good thing like trying to deny myself that said good thing.

Irene said...

The same thing is happening at my house, exactly the same! I had to bake bread for him to eat it (that smell... works every time). I think everything is good in moderation. My mom makes amazing barley soup.

Pinky said...

Hi Joey!While everyone seems to be raving about the barley and other healthy grains, I'm interested to know where you got your sausage?My husband loves sweet italian sausage and country sausage, and will NOT eat a meal without his rice or some kind of carb!
Great blog:)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jescel! I always enjoy soup with barley so I will try that too soon!

Hi Tanna! Variety is truly the spice of life! I wouldn’t want to live totally devoid of something either!

Hi Honeybee! I am a fan of carbs too...I really cannot imagine life without bread and pasta...and of course rice! :)

Hi Irene! Haha! Then you know my situation! Moderation is the key...I agree! :)

Hi Pinky! Thank you! :) Please email me (my addy is on the sidebar) for the details! :)

thepostflorenceworld said...

Hi! This will be totally off-tangent but I remember we get our basket of veggies from the same friendly organic farmer. I have beets in basket and don't quite know what to do with them. Any ideas? I'd hate to see them go to waste. Thanks so much!


My Taste Heaven said...

I always headache, don't know what to take for breakfast. Sometimes, just don't want to have the noodles as what others do in my hometown. But cereal and milk itself ust too boring. Thank you for introducing this healthy recipe to me.

ChichaJo said...

Hello Annetteve! I wish I could more help but I don't cook beets very fact my basket also has beets sometimes and I'm often left wondering what to do with them! I search for beet recipes on Food Blog Search -- it's a great place to's on my sidebar! :)

Hi My Taste Heaven! Glad I could be of assistance! :)

Kevin said...

A simple and tasty meal! I have been enjoying barley lately as well. I have been using it in whole grained salad and I even tried it in a risotto.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kevin! Salad and risotto with barley sound fantastic! Will try those too :)

LyB said...

Such a great post, Joey! I couldn't live without carbs either, I just love baking too much, it's like therapy. But healthier choices are a great way to go, especially served up with sausages, yum! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Lyb! I like to balance out my born-to-be-wild eating with healthy eating...thank goodness there is so much healthy food out there that also happens to be delicious!

Katie said...

I have a freezer full of sausage and love barley, so I was very excited to find this recipe. I LOVED it!!

Over the past year I've been experimenting with a lot of different grains, and it's been an extremely fun adventure. Who knew there were so many tasty things out there? My favorites so far are barley, millet, and wheat berries.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katie! So glad to hear you liked it! You are right..all these different grains are very tasty...I’ve been having fun too :) Have yet to come across wheat berries over here though...they sound yummy!