In addition to avoiding raisins, best friend Kathleen tries to keep her home leaning toward vegetarianism, something encouraged by her husband since he began reading books such as Eating Animals, Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Bacon, beef, and eggs do still make an occasional appearance, but overall there’s a great deal of healthy eating going on in their Westchester home. And so I found myself flipping through Jesse Ziff Cool’s Simply Organic, as I sat at Kathleen’s kitchen table some months ago. It was a chilly November day, and I was looking for some inspiration for the coming week’s dinners. What I happened upon was Toasted Barley and Sweet Potatoes.
My daughters both LOVE sweet potatoes, and this looked like a pretty good way to include a whole grain. The author suggested that it could be turned into a more substantial meal by adding an egg, or leftover chicken or shrimp. We like it with an egg, as the runny yolk contributes an additional layer of taste to the whole event.
Toasted Barley and Sweet Potatoes
1/2 c. pearl barley
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 small onion
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 c. vegetable broth
salt & pepper to taste
One egg per diner
Toast the barley in a skillet over low heat until just lightly brown. Set aside. Saute the onion in oil until softened. Add the sweet potato and barley and stir to coat with oil and onion. Add the vegetable broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the sweet potato is just tender (you don’t want it too mushy), somewhere in the 20 – 35 minute vicinity, depending on the size of your sweet potato cubes, and the strength of your flame. Prepare the eggs (“over easy” is usually the way I go, but poached would be lovely, too). Enjoy!