If you're tired of the usual potato/rice/pasta side dish, I'd like to recommend barley. It has a nutty crunchiness that is a nice change of pace from the usual. I always have barley in my pantry, but I don't use it as often as I could, and even then I primarily make one specific dish, barley stew.
However, the most recent issue of Everyday Food (#68) contained a recipe for Barley Pilaf (p. 126) that I couldn't pass up. I served it with Baked Parmesan Chicken and it was a hit. I've included the recipe at the bottom of the post.
On to some general comments.
Remember last week's volcano cookies? I am reporting that these cookies actually tasted better the second day. Sometimes cookies are like that. They were gone by day three.
With the remaining half of my Wholewheat Cranberry Orange Challah dough, I made a 6-braid loaf. This time I preheated the oven to 425F, then lowered it to 350F when the bread went in. As a result, I had improved oven spring and a second tasty loaf of bread.
And, last but not least, I made a simple boule from the last third of my Pumpkin Pie Brioche.
That should clear up all the loose baking ends. My Tuesdays with Dorie post will be later this week, since I plan to make the pecan pie for Christmas dinner. Everyone has been raving about it, so I'm looking forward to baking it.
If I can squeeze in some cookie baking, I will, but this year has been such a busy work year that my usual baking has taken a back seat.
Be that as it may, I wish everyone a joyous holiday over the next two weeks.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 1 cup of pearl barley until tender but still al dente, about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat, then add 1 minced shallot and saute, seasoning with salt and pepper, until it softens, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the barley and stir to combine, then transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Taste, and season again if necessary.
Makes 4 servings.