Curried Barley Salad with Apples and Pecans


Today I had an intervention with myself. Lately I’ve been feeling lethargic, unmotivated and frankly a little flabby, so I decided that tomorrow I will wipe clean the slate of my eating habits and detox with a 7-day cleanse. No more muffins during coffee break and no more sneaking handfuls of Hershey’s Kisses in the afternoon when I’m in need of a pick-me-up. I’ve given myself at least a day to prepare mentally for the challenge and to also finish off any remaining bacon, Fig Newtons or dark chocolate in my house so that my rumbling belly won’t be tempted in the days to come.

Tomorrow I will fill my fridge with green leafy things and stock up on essentials like yams, beets, quinoa and even the black wild rice that tastes like twigs. I will wash the grime from my unused water bottle and make an effort to actually drink from it throughout the day, instead of only using it to fill my iron or to water hard-to-reach houseplants.  I’ll freeze any leftover bread, as it will be forbidden fruit to me over the next 7 days, as will be my Monday morning emotional crutch and companion – coffee. I pity my poor coworkers on Monday.

The cleanse I bought is the ReCleanse Herbal Cleanse and Detox. It is probably very mild compared to others on the market and it’s suitable for someone like me who needs to consume enough calories in order not to throw a tantrum from low blood sugar whenever Microsoft Outlook acts up. It requires taking mild herbal pills, drinking enough water to substantially lower one’s productivity at work, and refraining from eating certain foods such as bread products, dairy (except natural plain yogourt), alcohol, coffee and refined sugars. I do this cleanse a few times a year, usually when the seasons change, and after seven days I feel stronger, happier and healthier. It usually also sets my eating patterns on the right course for another few months and saves me money from not splurging at the coffee shop across the street from work.

The secret to making it through till the seventh day is to always have healthy snacks at the ready. I’ve got such little food willpower that this is integral for me. To help get me through the first few days, tonight I made a delicious batch of curried barley salad with apples, cranberries and pecans.  It tastes fine warm, but even better as a cold lunch the next day. Enjoy!

Pearl Barley

Makes enough for 6 people

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of pearl barley, rinsed

2 cups of water

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1 tsp salt

2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal

1 -2 tsp of curry paste or powder (use 2 or more tsp if you don’t mind the spiciness)

1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 Granny Smith apple (or another tart apple), cut into small pieces (save a few thin slices as garnish)

Cilantro, finely chopped as garnish

 

Directions:

1. Pour the water and stock into a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add the barley, stir and then reduce to low. Cover with a lid and keep heating on low for 40 minutes or until the barley is cooked through.

2. During the last 10 minutes, while there is still some liquid in the pot, add the dried cranberries or raisins and the curry paste/powder. Stir well and cover, then continue cooking for 10 minutes.

3. Once done, remove the pot from the heat and add the pecans, then stir. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes, then add the sliced green onions and the chopped apple. Mix together, then serve garnished with sliced apple and chopped cilantro.

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About gentlemangourmet

My name is Mike and even though I’m not always a gentleman, it’s safe to say I am in love with food. Like my more famous namesake, the kid on the cereal commercial from the early 80′s, I had an ability to eat just about anything and “like it.” I’ve become a tad more discerning since my toddler phase: I prefer Pinot Noir to the customary Shiraz my parents liked, I no longer eat parmesan cheese sprinkled from a container, and can pick out which ingredients I like or don’t in a recipe by smell alone. I blame my Lebanese heritage, my large Lebanese nose (all the better for smelling with) and exposure over the past few years to some exquisite ethnic cooking styles and cuisine, as well as to some stunning, inspiring cooks who are family or friends. I’ve included a lot of their favourite recipes on this site, as well as a few of my own that have become my staples over the years. I hope you find something here that you like. Happy cooking! View all posts by gentlemangourmet

3 responses to “Curried Barley Salad with Apples and Pecans

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