It’s hot today. Not like a beach day, but like a day that you just melt in the sun. Step outside and you can feel the curl falling out of your hair as sweat springs out of your forehead and on your upper lip. You open the car door and the rush of heat almost makes you sick and you find your self using the auto-starter that you had installed for those cold winter mornings just so you can get the air conditioner over the initial blast of heat it emits on starting.
Sunny. Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited. Feels like 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Ugh. Some one get me a chaise lounge under a big tree and some iced tea. Even the bugs aren’t buzzing.
The last thing I want is something hot for dinner and I really don’t want to see the inside of my kitchen at all. I have in the refrigerator, chilling from last night, a Ginger Curried Barley Salad with Granny Smith Apples. I plan to place a layer of leaf lettuce on a plate, top it with the chilled salad and a couple of thin slices of grilled flank steak and drizzle the remainder of the Curry Ginger Vinaigrette over the top and wash it all down with this really nice bottle of Marques de Caceres Roija that has been waiting under the air conditioning vent on the kitchen table for me since I left this morning.
Later in a different blog I will give you ingredients for my beef rub that I use on the flank steak and the Korean ribs, but for this piece, you can use any grilled meat you like, shrimp I think would lend itself particularly well to this dish. If you choose, this meal will also stand on its own as a meatless option.
Barley is a fiber-rich whole grain cereal. The soluble fiber found in this healthy food dissolves and binds with fatty acids in the body. This can lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is typically referred to as the “bad” kind. It also reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It also has a low glycemic index, which can help you stabilize your blood sugar and make you feel fuller longer.
This dish is also full of healthy ingredients like fresh apples, which in themselves are a powerhouse of nutrients for the body and pecans, which are rich in protein are also a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Tumeric, a main ingredient in curry spice, has been shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory, and has been demonstrated as alleviating the symptoms of arthritis. Paired with a nice 4 ounce serving of grilled meat and you have a very healthy, low-calorie and nutritious meal that doesn’t set you back.
This wonderful dish is economical as well, barley is very inexpensive and in these times, we could all use something that is inexpensive. Every time I go to the grocery store I spend $50. They should just collect it from me as a cover charge at the door, it does not matter if I am running in for some Greek yogurt or everything I need for a soup. The final cost will be $50 (or more). A box of barley will set you back at most $2 with tax for about six hearty servings.
For Ginger Vinaigrette:
2 cups White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Rounded Cups Curry Powder
1/2 Cup Minced Fresh Ginger
1 tsp Kosher Salt Flake
1 tsp Medium Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Louisiana Hot Sauce
4 Cups Olive Oil
For Barley Salad
1 1/2 lb. Barley, prepared, chilled
1 1/4 cups Curry Vinaigrette
1 tbsp Vegetable Stock
1 tbsp Kosher Salt Flake
2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal – ¼ inch
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced, skin-skin on
1 tbsp finely diced Cilantro
Process first 6 ingredients of the curry vinaigrette in a blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Turn blender on high, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Cover and chill. Be sure to have a nice glass of wine as an apertif, remember, two glasses a day will help keep the doctor away!
Prepare the barley as directed on the box/bag, but here is the trick they never tell you. If you follow the directions, you will make a nice bowl of puffy mush, it will be good, but we need to texture to be more nutty, the barley to retain some of its firmness, so you should toast the barley before making it as directed on the box. Pour the barley on a cookie sheet (ideally, we use a 2″ hotel pan, but most homes do not have these). Roast in oven @325 for 20 minutes. Now follow the directions on the box and chill while you prep the remaining ingredients.
Combine all ingredients, chill, serve on a lettuce bed and add your favorite grilled meat.
Now, where is that bottle of wine?
If you are chilling this overnight and plan to serve the following day, be mindful that the ginger curry vinaigrette will bloom. By blooming I mean that the spices will attain maximum saturation in liquid and the flavor profile will also slightly change. Let the dressing and or salad sit at room temperature for several minutes. If after that time you find that it is still to thick, you may add a little water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. This recipe should make 4-6 servings.
Tomorrow I will follow up on a super simple cous cous salad that you can make with the same curried ginger vinaigrette.
Calories 236 | Carbohydrates 32 g | Protein 5.3 g | Fat 12 g | Sat. Fat 2 g