Day 72: Brown & Wild Rice and Barley Salad with Chick Peas and Ice Cream with Warm Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce
Despite my abhorrence for any connection between guilt and food, I couldn’t help but look at dinner tonight as penance for last night’s rib free-for-all. Mike looked glumly at it and asked, “what’s this to go with?” Nothing, that’s it. But it was delicious, really, and even Willem gobbled it down once I added a bit of shredded roasted chicken from the freezer to somewhat disguise the chick peas. I actually think I enjoyed it as much as the ribs. Mike thought that was pushing it a bit, but agreed to feeling much better afterward.
It started out as something I saw in a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine (one of my favorites, and they don’t even pay me to say that) and quickly took on a life of its own. Now it doesn’t much resemble the original, except that they both have the aforementioned grains and chick peas.
I have to say, it’s a pet peeve of mine when recipes call for 3/4 cup of chick peas instead of a can, or 1 cup of chopped onion instead of 1 chopped onion; those who follow recipes to the letter might wonder what to do if their chopped onion amounts to 1 1/4 cups, or if it comes up short might shave a chunk off a second onion to make up the difference. Some of these quantities just don’t need to be as precise.
I really do love cooking with barley. The very best thing about barley, brown rice, wild rice and lentils is that they all take the exact same amount of time to cook. So that means you can throw any combination in a pot of boiling water, and they will be done in 40-45 minutes. Drain, and you have a great side dish, addition to soup or base for a grainy salad. The original recipe called for almonds and green onions; I had toasted chopped pecans left over from a late-night attempt at a sundae, and no green onions. There were grape tomatoes though, so those went in. I added curry paste to the dressing as well, and boosted the quantity.
Brown & Wild Rice and Barley Salad with Chick Peas
1/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup wild rice
1/3 cup barley (pearl or pot)
1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
a few green onions, chopped (optional)
1 bunch curly or Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
small handful chopped toasted pecans or almonds
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. flax oil (or more canola, or olive oil)
2 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. curry paste or powder
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the brown rice, wild rice and barley for 40-45 minutes, until tender. Drain well and run under cool water to stop the grains from cooking. Transfer to a bowl and add the chick peas and raisins.
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients (adjusting them if you like to suit your taste) and pour over top. Chill in the fridge until the mixture is completely cool, or for up to a day.
Add the tomatoes, green onions, parsley and pecans (or save them to sprinkle on top) and serve. Serves 4-8, depending on whether you’re eating it as a main course or side dish. (It would go really well beside a filet of salmon.)
Later in the evening, the ice cream I ran to the corner store to buy last night wouldn’t stop calling to me, so I had to eat it just to shut it up. I hardly ever buy ice cream because it speaks my language, but I did yesterday because I had leftover honey-chocolate ganache (I made another batch of cupcakes for CBC) that I didn’t want to go to waste. Besides, my brain rationalized, I already ate half a rack of ribs and a buttered baked potato; I might as well go for the hot fudge chaser.
For last night’s honey-chocolate ganache and toasted pecan sundae I warmed the ganache, adding a bit of half and half to thin it just enough to make a fudgy, truffley sauce. Tonight there was still a bit left, and I had the bright idea to resurrect it with a spoonful of peanut butter. I set the small saucepan over the heat, stirred in a spoonful (all-natural would have been healthier, but wouldn’t have had as smooth a mouthfeel, so I went with the creamy light stuff) and drizzled it warm over vanilla bean Breyer’s light.
(So much for penance.)