So I read, glanced at really, an article about satisfying grain meals. You know, my mind just doesn’t go there easily. I think grain meals, and I think deadly dull. And I think not satisfying. But to be honest about it, I’ve never really made anything like that. A gauntlet thrown is a gauntlet picked up.
Barley is a relatively simple thing to cook. Thirty-forty minutes, nothing too precise. It’s not like rice, the cooking of which is a mystical process, timing and proportions are everything. With barley you just pour off excess water when it’s done. For the barley salad (salad is never my idea of dinner) I used basil and shiso from my balcony garden, the stupid cherry tomatoes I had, cucumber, walnuts and sour cream. It was fine. It tasted like tabouli. I ate it.
I also made a salad with rye berries. They are not really berries, they are just whole grain rye. This was not quite as easy. I boiled it for hours, I added garlic and cumin seed to the water. In my mind they never really got cooked. They were edible. And by that I mean I could masticate the grain. To that I added grilled corn and mushrooms (but not the damn grilled cherry tomatoes), pistachios and green onions. I dressed it with vinaigrette. It wasn’t half bad. The chewiness made it a little more toothsome and therefore more dinner-like.
In any event the meal was not terrible (In France if you say not terrible it means bad, if you say not bad it means good. Thank you David Lebovitz) and all that whole grain did not blast through my system like Sherman’s march to the sea as some people predicted. And that’s always a plus when you’re deciding on what to have for dinner.