Monday, 8 September 2014 | 23 comments

Chickpea & barley salad with toasted spice vinaigrette. Also, the Internet.

In the wide world of the Internet, it’s easy to get cynical about how rapidly and easily ideas are repackaged, reposted, and reshared, ad infinitum. You could say this about serious subjects, like news coverage, or about less serious subjects, like celebrity gossip. You could also say it about food-related content. Take, for instance, the phenomenon of what I call the “wedding salad” (because nearly every catered salad you’re served at a wedding is a variation on this). It consists of spinach/arugula, goat cheese/feta, dried cherries/cranberries, nuts (sometimes candied), and a vinaigrette. The wedding salad is omnipresent, and for good reason: it is delicious and time-tested. It’s hard to mess up. But the public does not need four million recipes for this salad. Moreover, I worry that all the recipes detailing minor variations on this wedding salad esotericize* something that should be simple. In other words, maybe the recipe should really be: Here is how you make a salad. A nice template for a salad is a tender green + a soft cheese + something sweet + something crunchy + something acidic.

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Saturday, 24 December 2011 | 7 comments

A simple beet & barley salad

During the harvest and crush this year, Ben used a phrase that I latched onto. When racking wine in its initial stages of fermentation, the winemaker Ben works for calls for “big air”—pouring the wine from one container to another from a great height, to ensure that oxygen comes in contact with the juice. In winemaking, a certain amount of oxygenation of the juice is a good thing: it helps to stabilize the wine, protect it, and develop in the bottle. Too much oxygen during barrel- and bottle-age though, produces oxidation, a flaw. I love that idea. Taking a risk, to be sure. But that risk, in prudent amounts, protects and encourages growth. The next months will be a whirlwind—really, they already should be, but I’m a bit in denial. In two days, Ben and I are moving to a new home. It is old (the original part of the house was built in 1760). It is rural (it sits on 5+ acres and is surrounded by more vacant land). Ben is also going to Uruguay for three months to apprentice during the southern hemisphere harvest. Conveniently, though, he’ll have two whole weeks to settle into this house that I impulsively decided we needed to live in, before he leaves. Before he goes to Uruguay, we are taking a trip to Buenos Aires. After I get back from Buenos Aires, I have just a few days before I fly to Indonesia for work.Somewhere in there, Christmas and New Year’s have to happen. But I haven’t quite worked that out yet. » Click to read more

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