I am a planning machine. I like to know everything I’m going to do in advance. I like to know what days I’m going to do cardio, yoga, Pilates, what I’m going to eat, where I’m going to be, and what I’m going to study or read. I’m an avid meal planner, so on Sundays I like to prepare the food I’m going to be eating for the rest of the week. I do this because when school is in session, I don’t have a lot of time to cook and when I do have down time, I like to spend it relaxing or working out.
Since I went to the grocery store yesterday, I now have a pantry stocked full of great foods to work with. For instance, I bought barley and couscous in place of my usual pasta. This is not only cheaper, but is better for my overall health. So today I was anxious to start cooking! I decided to follow a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis that I had been dying to try out for months. This particular recipe calls for the use of farro, however I substituted barley in its place. I am a die-hard Giada fan, so it only makes sense that I got the recipe from her cookbook Everyday Italian. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Italian dishes.
This recipe is called Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs and is available at foodnetwork.com. Now when I made this dish, I cut the ingredients in half, because the serving size is 6. So here is what I did.
1 1/2 cups of water
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
8 grape tomatoes, chopped
1/4 sweet onion (recommended: Walla Walla) chopped
1/2 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
1/2 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
I basically cooked the barley for around 30-35 minutes. Then I added about 1 teaspoon of salt and let it simmer for around 8-10 more minutes. After cooked, I placed the barley in a container (or bowl, if you prefer) and let it cool. In a seperate bowl, I combined the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and herb seasoning, onion, and tomatoes. I smashed these ingredients together to create a paste-like consistency. I then poured this “sauce” over the barley and added salt and pepper to taste. If you follow the original recipe, you’ll see that I definitely made a few modifications, but I don’t think Giada would mind. Although I’ll eat this dish as a main course, it can be combined with any fish or meat or can be placed over a bed of greens for a delicious salad.
This dish was very easy to make and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to incorporate a new, healthy ingredient into their diet. I hope you enjoy this dish and have a great Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday tomorrow!