Saturday, April 2, 2011

Warm Barley, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Salad

It's shaping up to be a fairly perfect weekend out there. Yesterday I went to a wedding on the Carousel at the Hickory Ridge Mall -- check out pictures of the happy couple here and here -- and today the SO and I have grand plans to eat at Fino's and get out of town. Exams? Haaaa... ha.


Yeah, I'll do work in the car.

Anyway, ever since I got back from the pacific northwest, I've been trying to bring myself back to where I started with this blog: mindful, mostly vegetarian eating. I've noticed myself being a bit more cavalier about my meat sources when eating out. And yes, I realize that my choice to avoid factory-farmed meat while eating out won't really have an effect in the grand scheme of things. But personally, I feel that I have made a deliberate decision to support local growers, keep my money in my community, and hopefully thereby stimulate, encourage, and enable the development of sustainable (buzzword! ack!) farming methods. So, I am reminding myself of that more often when I am out. Cheap meat's cost is too high.

In that spirit, here are a couple of simple, filling, spring-ey meals. Using up the last of the root vegetables while welcoming in the tender young greens. I knew I wanted to use grains, sweet potatoes, and black beans in a salad but had a devil of a time finding a recipe that suited my needs (read: that didn't take forever), so I just kind of made up my own.

Local veggies here include sweet potatoes from Dodson Farms and a bitter green mix of endive, chard, arugula, chervil, and other things from Flora at Bluebird Farms. Also, a huge duck egg from Flora.

Warm Barley, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Salad

a sufficient quantity of barley, cooked according to package directions. I made a cup of dried, which probably turned into 2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked. You probably only want a cup of cooked barley for this salad.
one medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-inch chunks
about 1/4 cup dried black beans, which is maybe 1/2 cup cooked
about 5 tsp teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt, pepper, dried rosemary
a clove of garlic, chopped

I soaked my beans overnight and cooked them with the garlic and rosemary, then added in some salt at the end. If you are using canned beans, obviously skip this step.

Toss the sweet potato chunks with just enough olive oil to coat--about 2 teaspoons' worth--then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed dried rosemary. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every now and then, until soft.

Make your barley while the sweet potatoes cook.

When the sweets are done, toss the barley, sweets, and black beans together. I finished this off with a vinaigrette of 1 garlic clove mashed with a little salt+3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil+1 tsp white wine vinegar+freshly ground black pepper. It's my standard vinaigrette, but it's so good.

Then I made basically the same vinaigrette for my bitter greens salad, but wanted to use some of this fancy vinegar my friend Laura brought me from Trader Joe's in Nashville. Thank you, Laura! It was quite tasty.

The nonfussy lunches are the best.

Another thing I have been making a lot of lately -- scrambled eggs with salsa, wrapped in corn tortillas. Two little ones for breakfast stave off the embarrassing 10 AM stomach rumbles. The addition of some greens this morning was a crunchy counterpoint to the soft duck egg.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds yummy...Can't wait to A) See you---B) visit your farmers market C) Hug you D) try your vinaigrette E) Hear you giggle and laugh with your sister...Viral Video of twin babies talking aint got nothing on the two Comes Sisters rapid fire chatter! Just 5 more weeks!

    <3 Mom