I’m finding this winter to be a bit of a bummer. Going to Florida for a week only spoiled my ability to cope with the cold, gracefully, so I apologize for my whining in advance. I realize that things could be worse, so I’ll try to keep my rant brief for everyone’s sake. You see, it is cold enough here to not want to go outside in the mornings and to have to bundle everyone up before leaving the house, which is a huge pain and not fun at all. Yet, there’s no snow! What’s that about? I mean, usually we get a morning off here or a snow day there. The kids love the sledding and the hot cocoa and snow angels, as do I, honestly. But the problem is that it’s just cold enough for there to be freezing rain, but not warm enough yet to feel motivated to even think about starting spring cleaning (not even close!). I miss my summer vegetables, too. I love seasonal, local ingredients and the winter just isn’t very kind to us vegetarians when it comes to fresh, local quality produce. I can only eat so many root vegetables in these cold months without loathing the thought of another sweet potato.
So, let’s head to the pantry, shall we? What do we have? Lentils and quinoa are staring at me, but I ate them both yesterday, and I’m just not feeling it. Maybe next time, I’ll use those. I did pick up some barley for the first time in awhile, and I have some really good parmesan in the fridge too. I have a big jar of fire roasted red peppers here along with some chile peppers I picked up yesterday too. I want a big beautiful green salad, so I’ll just combine the two for lunch. This is simple and easy, not to mention delicious and healthy. It’s one thing to make me forget about how cold and miserable freezing rain really is.
Roasted Pepper & Parmesan Barley Tossed with Mixed Spring Greens
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter
- one medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 jalapeño or other chile peppers, deseeded and diced
- salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup barley
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 whole fire roasted red peppers, diced
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Mixed spring greens, or other favorite salad greens of your choice (chilled)
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- shaved parmesan cheese
- garlic and herb croutons
Place medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add onions, garlic and chile pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir and cover. Let that cook, covered, stirring every five minutes until onions are translucent (note: this takes awhile, so be patient with it). Add barley and mix thoroughly. Turn heat to medium for two minutes to gently toast barley and then add stock. Cover and turn heat up to high to bring to a boil. When liquid is almost completely absorbed (about 25-30 minutes), remove from heat and add roasted peppers and parmesan cheese. Stir barley until liquid is absorbed and toss into a large salad bowl. Top with plentiful cold salad greens. Thoroughly and gently toss until both are warm and fully intertwined, but not wilted. Top with balsamic vinaigrette, shaved parmesan and croutons. Serve immediately.