Archive for the 'appetizers' Category

Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

Barley Risotto 585x384 Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

I know I’ve been pretty vocal about my love for barley around here. I love that it’s local, high in fibre, dense and nutty and chewy, and great for simmering with dry lentils for a hefty salad. I love that you can buy it in flour form to make pancakes and chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake.

Barley 585x380 Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

And I love that so many farmers grow it around here. So when Alberta Barley asked if I would help spread the news of their very first cookbook, Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain, I was more than happy to. It comes out next month, but I have an advance copy to give away – remember when we did Free Stuff Fridays? I miss that. So even though it’s Tuesday, let’s get back on that horse. Some of you know the drill – leave a comment below, and I’ll try to remember to make a (random!) draw at the end of the week.

(Two great Canadian food bloggers, Amy of Family Feedbag and Renee Lavalee of Feisty Chef are playing along too – Amy already posted a fab Mushroom Barley Soup, and I think Renee is posting something barley-ish this week.)

Barley risotto 3 Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

This barley risotto is far more nutrient-dense (and fibre-rich) than that made with the traditional short-grain rice, and as a happy bonus, it requires only one bout of vigorous stirring, halfway through the cooking time. No need to stand by the stove, afraid to stray from the pot. Shrimp and peas and a good squeeze of lemon make a perfectly springy risotto – we can pretend, can’t we?

Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas

Excerpted (and slightly adapted) from Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain by Pat Inglis and Linda Whitworth

1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
1?4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 cup (250 mL) pot or pearl barley
4 cups (1 L) low sodium chicken stock
12 oz (350 g) peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen peas
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley or sprigs of fresh mint

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat; add the onion, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper, and saute until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in barley and stock and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat; cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring vigorously halfway through for 15 seconds. Stir in shrimp and peas; cover pan and simmer until shrimp are pink and peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley or mint and serve.

Serves 4.

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February 25 2014 | appetizers and grains | 81 Comments »

Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls

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Shortbread and balls are the culinary keywords of the season, no?

cheddar olives 1 Cheddar Olive Shortbread Balls

It’s the morning after (OK, afternoon after) our annual Polyester & Cheese Christmas party, wherein friends wear polyester and bring something cheesy, and our dining room table is so weighed down with cheese by the end of the night (as are we) that the next morning all you can do is come downstairs in your PJs, make some coffee and keep going. Polyester & Cheese is the official kick-off to the season of nibbling party food leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if you haven’t had warmed mince tarts for breakfast yet, I highly recommend it) straight through until Boxing Day.

cheddar olives 2 Cheddar Olive Shortbread Balls

Last weekend my friend Elizabeth had their family Christmas party, a retro extravaganza not unlike ours, with cheese balls and pink peppermint pie and vintage Pyrex. She served these warm balls of cheddar shortbread, wrapped around an olive and baked, and Mike ate at least six. (I did too.)

cheddar olives 61 Cheddar Olive Shortbread Balls

I texted her the next day for the recipe. She texted back: Mix 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 1/4 cups flour, 2 cups grated cheddar, wrap around an olive, chill for an hour then bake for 20 minutes.

So there you go. I love recipes like this.

cheddar olives 3 Cheddar Olive Shortbread Balls

The dough can be made in approximately three minutes, and the wrapped olives can chill for an hour or five, and be at the ready for that time when you expect guests to arrive at the door, at which point you can slide them into the oven to bake and have something warm and wonderful smelling (who needs potpourri or smelly candles you can’t eat?) and easy to eat that everyone seems to love, and that tastes just as good once they cool down. (Note: the olives stay hot for longer than their shortbread jackets do; and make sure you don’t buy olives with pits – emergency dental work can put a damper on any Christmas party.)

cheddar olives 4 Cheddar Olive Shortbread Balls

Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups grated aged cheddar
a pinch of salt and pepper
about 1 1/2 dozen pitted olives

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, flour, cheddar and salt and pepper. Wrap some dough around each olive (patting them dry with paper towels seems to help the dough not slide off – just cup it in your hand and squeeze it together as if you were making a little snowball) and refrigerate for an hour or so.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 20 minutes, or until pale golden on the bottom. Cool before serving – the olives inside can get hot!

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen olive balls.

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button print gry20 Cheddar Olive Shortbread Balls

December 15 2013 | appetizers | 15 Comments »

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