We’re honored to be part of the upcoming Grains Week, a celebration of naked barley, farro, spelt, buckwheat, corn, wheat, and the other grains that we love to eat. From May 3rd through the 7th, our friends at the Culinary Breeding Network will host interactive online sessions with grain growers, bakers, brewers, distillers, plant breeders, cooks, and eaters on everything from Italian grains to nixtamalization to the history of flour. We’ll be featuring recipes using Pacific Northwest grains, especially naked barley.
I usually cook a pound of barley and store what I don’t use right away in it’s cooking liquid. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for a week and is great in salads. A pound will make about a quart and a half of cooked grains, and you’ll only need a couple of cups for this recipe. If you don’t want any extra barley, cook a half pound.
Rinse the barley, cover it with enough water to cover the grain by an inch or more, and add a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, put a lid on on the pot, and cook for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure there’s still some water in the pan. The cooked barley will be tender but with a little snap.
For the ragu, cut mushrooms into 3 or 4 thick slices. Heat a heavy skillet and add the mushrooms, but without any oil. Mushrooms are mostly water, and this dry sauté technique cooks it off. It concentrates the flavor and improves the texture.
Cook the mushrooms in the dry skillet, turning frequently, until nicely browned, about 15-20 minutes. Then add a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic. Crumble about 10 Greek thyme flowers into the pan, a good pinch of Pantellerian oregano, and add a pinch of salt.
Let the garlic cook for about a minute, then add a can of Bianco DiNapoli crushed tomatoes or crush their whole tomatoes with your hands. Reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
As you may have heard, the medical crisis in India is growing more dire every day and without access to oxygen many people there are at risk of dying unnecessarily. Like many, we were unsure about the best way to help until our friends at Diaspora Co. brought Khanna Chahiye Foundation to our attention. Beginning now and through the month of May, we’ll be donating all proceeds from the sale of the products we carry with Indian origins to the Khanna Chahiye Foundation. This includes all products from One Stripe Chai, Alaya Tea and Diaspora Co. We also encourage you to donate directly to the Khanna Chahiye Foundation, a citizen-led organization dedicated to ensuring India’s most vulnerable populations have access to both food and medical care.