Friday, September 17, 2010

Wynne's Favorite Barley!

No stranger to carbs, my daughter, Wynne, (pronounced Winnie) really adores the vegan carbs I make. I've mentioned before how special Morgan's Herbed Mashed Potatoes are to her (from, and she also loves anything with bread and especially the way I make barley! This last one came as a surprise to me, since she doesn't care for rice. Scratch that -- as I am writing this it occurs to me that she doesn't care for my kind of rice, long grain and wild. She does like the plain white rice that comes with the chinese food. So I guess a homogenous look and texture appeal to her.

In any case, she does love this barley. It makes me feel so good to be able to provide something so much healthier for my sweet girl than what she would be microwaving for herself.  Here's my recipe:

Wynne's Favorite Barley

1 c. pearl barley
3 c. vegetable broth
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
2 Tbsp. cream sherry
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

Bring barley and broth to a boil, then stir, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour. After an hour, add shallot, garlic, thyme and sherry and stir, then cover. This is the point where you need to watch the barley, only for 15 minutes. This is sort of a risotto treatment. Every few minutes, as you watch most of the liquid become absorbed, add very small amounts of warm water, stir and cover again, then repeat until 15 minutes have passed. Most of the liquid should be absorbed at this point.  Turn off the burner and let sit on the warm surface until the liquid is fully absorbed. The barley will eventually absorb whatever liquid you put into it.

This is not a quick way to prepare barley, but the little bit of extra effort is worth it, in our opinion because the texture is so satisfying -- the infused grains are still slightly al dente, creamy and chewy. Oh, and the flavor is addictive. The sherry is a perfect foil to the slightly salty veggie broth, and of course everything tastes better with garlic and shallots!

To accompany my wonderful barley I also fixed Alicia Silverstone's Baby Bok Choy with Ume Vinaigrette from her book, The Kind Diet. You've got to check this book out if you haven't yet. The Baby Bok Choy recipe is so simple and basic, and easy! The result is really just the vegetable, prepared authentically, minimally. The Ume vinegar and olive oil, along with the black sesame seeds and salt, is all it needs. I sure am looking forward to eating the leftovers of this meal!

Of the three human family members in our home, I vote Wynne most likely to become vegan someday. I am not saying she will, and if she does it will be 100% her choice, which is the way it should be. But I do appreciate her openness about trying new things and her interest in what healthy foods do to her energy level and mood. Also, the girl has such a cool little bohemian vibe about her.  She's a piece of work!

I hope you enjoy the barley as much as we do!


  1. YUM! I love barley. And this looks like a delicious quick and easy way to have it! And how beautiful is your daughter! And her name is so cute! Im glad she likes the mashed potatoes! :) Thanks for the link love!

  2. I love the look of this and I plan to make it next week. Thank you for a wonderful post. I truly enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Thanks Morgan -- yep, we do love your potatoes!

  4. Vegantummy - Thank you so much for reading! I love your blog too!