Okay, so my cooking skills perhaps outshine my facility for making up names for recipes. All the good names have been taken, though – how could I hope to top, say, “Ouefs a la Neige,” or “Spanikopita?”
Anyway, I am having some sort of summer crud involving a sore throat and a stuffy nose, and so I convinced myself that some healthy food would help me get better faster. Never mind the fact that I had several zucchini, summer squash, and sweet onions on the edge of death from last week’s trip to the Farmer’s Market.
My original plan was to use up the instant barley in my cupboard and combine it with a vaguely Italian combination of the squashes, onions, garlic and some fresh Basil and Parmesan. I still plan to try this some day, but making it today would have meant dipping into the Parmesan I need to make Carbonara for dinner, so I changed continents and found a can of black beans and some cumin seeds. Here’s what I made, which was actually quite good. It could certainly be made healthier with 2% cheese, but I was using up what I had in the house.
Squash and Barley Faux Mexico
- 1 cup instant barley
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini, halved and sliced thin
- 1 large or 2 small yellow squash halved and sliced thin
- 1 sweet onion halved and sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 cup shredded Mexican Blend, Monterey Jack, Cheddar or Chihuahua cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add barley, and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
While barley simmers, heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion for about 3 minutes, until onion starts to soften. Add cumin seeds and cayenne and stir for 1 more minute. Add zucchini and summer squash and saute until squashes are soft, taking care not to burn garlic and onions. This should take up most of the time it takes for the barley to cook.
Remove barley from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. During this time, reduce heat under squash mixture to “low,” stir canned beans gently into mixture, and then stir in cheese. Stir barley into squash mixture, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.
Note: I did not experience a miraculous cure, but I had a great lunch.