Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Run, Swim, Bike, and Cookin' with Barley

February's nearly gone, and it's time to wrap up Run Swim Bike Cook for 2012.

Running went well this week--I logged another 22 miles for a grand total of 82. Hopefully this leaves me in good shape for the half marathon Jason and I plan to run in two weeks. (Speaking of races, congrats to my brothers-in-law and their awesome lady-folk for rocking their recent races, whether in New Zealand or Maryland!)

As for the swim, having already logged my 2.4 miles, I didn't get wet beyond the bathtub. And despite the fact that I still needed to bike 92 miles to complete the Ironman challenge, I only added one more mile. While Leap Day may hold some wild surprises tomorrow, I sincerely doubt that biking 91 more will be one of them. On the positive side, I did hike a bit in Snow Canyon with a friend, as well as sneak in two more Zumba classes. A true confession about Zumba--the dancing's actually starting to grow on me. I'm discovering that the more I go, the less I care about how ridiculous I look when trying to shake my patootie.

And now for the culinary grand finale. To qualify for the challenge, it had to have barley. Thanks to some unique bounty from my Bountiful Basket, I also hoped it would also jerusalem artichokes. A google search popped up "Barely Risotto with Jarlsberg and Jerusalem Artichokes." Jarlsberg--the beloved cheese that we had just barely stocked up on at Costco. Eureka!!!

My plan was so lovely. I would clean the house, put the kids to bed, then play chef in the kitchen while Kenny G kept me company. Jason would come home from Puerto Rico to a romantic table set for two. Risotto, stuffed mushrooms, fresh salad, and of course, dimmed lights and candles.

And then, there was the reality. The discovery that "getting in after 10" meant arriving in Las Vegas around ten. Between Jason's delayed flight, the long shuttle ride, and the different time zone, he didn't make it to St. George until well after 2:00 am. Instead of cooking my dream meal in a peaceful, quiet house, I struggled with hungry, cranky kids who couldn't understand that risotto cannot be rushed. The mushrooms were too spicy for them, the salad never got made, and as for the risotto, well, may I offer a direct quote from Talia. She took one bite, looked at me, and said in her sweetest voice, "Mom, I don't like this dinner, and so can you never make it again?"

So much for my dream dinner. While Jason and I both liked the risotto, when it comes to family-friendly meals, these other favorites keep finding their way to our table again and again:
Iranian Barley Soup, Southwestern Barley Salad, and Vegetable Barley Casserole. (We adapt this Weight Watchers recipe by adding in a can of black beans and a bit more cheese.)

And just in case you're just dying to make the risotto, here's the recipe from Norseland's website. It's listed as their recipe of the month with the claim that "Ja! it's really, really good."

Barley Risotto with Jarlsberg and Jerusalem Artichokes

Serves 4

* 150 g barley, soaked overnight
* 150 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and finely diced
* 2 artichoke hearts, cut into thin wedges
* 3 shallots, finely chopped
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 50 ml olive oil
* 200 ml white wine
* 700 ml hot chicken stock
* 1 tbsp. butter
* 100 g Jarlsberg, grated
* salt and pepper
* 1 tbsp. lemon juice
* Parsley, chopped

Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, artichoke hearts and Jerusalem artichokes and sauté until lightly golden. Remove from skillet and reserve. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, add barley; cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Then add white wine; cook and reduce by half. Add one cup of chicken stock; simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost absorbed. Continue to add chicken stock in this manner until barley is tender and mixture is creamy. Add the artichoke mixture, cook just to heat through. Stir in butter, Jarlsberg, lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper.


Callie said...

It may not have lived up to 5 year old taste levels - but it certainly looked delicious. Congrats on all of the clocked miles and a burgeoning appreciation of booty-shaking. We received a WONDERFUL little envelope full of valentines today. Could you please stop stop setting the parenting bar quite so high? I may not ever get the courage to compete with you. :) Love you much!

Crys said...

Why do you have to be so make me want to hide myself away with shame! We miss you :(

The Favorite said...

We'll try this one out- yum!
I like that you used "patootie" in this post. I'd love to come hike with you sometime. We'll be up in Smithfield mid July...

Susie said...

I can hear Talia saying that:) Sounds like a tasty dish to me. Congrats on your goal setting and accomplishments!!

Megan Ficek said...

Hi Kara! I don't still have your email address, and your blog is the only way I know how to find you! If you notice this comment, will you shoot me an email? I have a quick question for you!!