Barley is Gnarly

I couldn't help myself. I love the way that "Barley" and "Gnarly" rhyme. I just had to title this post with "Barley is Gnarly". However, I wasn't completely sure what "gnarly" meant. So being the cool person I am, I looked it up online. I found two totally different meanings.
The first one is from dictionary.com

Gnarly - adjective, gnarlier, gnarliest.

Slang. distasteful; distressing; offensive; gross: a comic noted for his gnarly humor.

The second one is from urbandictionary.com

Gnarly - adjective

Off the hook. Totally extreme. When you've gone beyond radical.

They are obviously quite different, which could be a representation of how people feel about barley. Some people really like it and allow it to be a base for lots of other flavors. Others hate all things that can be described as "health food" and think it's nasty.

I honestly have had very little experience with barley. I may have eaten it once or twice, but I've never prepared it and never had a strong desire to prepare it. I figured it would taste...well, gnarly (in the dictionary.com sense of the word). But when I made used it in a recipe last night, I found it to be rather gnarly (in the urbandictionary.com sense of the word).

I saw a recipe in Everyday Food Magazine (I'm loving myself some Everyday Food Magazine June 2010) that used barley and thought I'd try it. Yum! The
barley took on all the great flavors in the dish and made it more filling and nutritious. I actually read online that barley is considered a "nutritional powerhouse" because of its fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lack of fat and cholesterol.

Here are a few tips/shortcuts that I used for this recipe:
  1. Instead of roasting chicken and shredding it, I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. At Wegman's, the rot. chickens are only $4.99 and perfect for this type of thing.
  2. Instead of buying a big sack of barley (because, at this point, I was still convinced that it was gnarly), I used the bulk section of Wegman's organic aisle. Not all grocery stores have bulk sections, but they are a great money saver because you only get what you need!
  3. I used a silpat on the baking sheet when I roasted the veggies. I didn't want to scrap charred scallions off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Finally, I bought a bag of pre-washed baby spinach. I'm veering away from bagged greens for numerous reasons, but this was the most convenient option on a busy work night.
Barley Salad with Chicken and Corn
~This would be a great thing to bring to a cookout~

  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 bunches scallions, cut into thirds crosswise and white ends halved
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, about 3 ears of corn, or frozen corn (I used fresh)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 fresh parsley leaves
  • Approx. 2 chicken breasts, shredded
  • At least 1 tbsp and 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  1. In a medium pot of boiling water, cook barley according to package instructions (I used the instructions at the store which said to cook each cup of barley in 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water). Drain and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat over to 450 degrees. Place scallions and corn on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. In a large bowl, combine barley, roasted vegetables, tomato es, parsley, chicken, 1 tbsp oil, and 1 tbsp lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss spinach with 1 tbsp oil and 2 tsp lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken-barley mixture over the spinach leaves.
Since I was feeling very much like a domestic diva, I decided to make the cookie recipe in the same issue of Everyday Food Magazine because I had the ingredients on hand. They just looked so light and refreshing in the magazine!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cookies
~These were so easy and so delicious~

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, egg yolks, poppy seeds, oil, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir eggs mixture into flour mixture until combined (dough will be slightly dry).
  4. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake cookies until golden brown, 10-14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely (or eat them warm right out of the oven because you can't wait). They can be stored for approx. 5 days in an airtight container.
  6. Optional Step: I decided to use the lemon juice from the zested lemon to make a little glaze for the top. This is totally not necessary, but adds a nice layer of flavor to the yummy morsel. I just mixed the lemon juice with powdered sugar until it reached the desired consistency and then drizzled it on the cookies as they cooled.

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