I’ve been trying to incorporate a greater variety of whole grains into my diet lately.  I’ve found the recipes on 101cookbooks.com to be a good place to start and I recently tried out Heather’s Farro Recipe for a barbecue side dish.  The appeal of this recipe was that I could make many of the salad components (including the farro) ahead of time.  I soon discovered that the Davis Co-op doesn’t carry farro so I decided to go with pearled barley as a substitute.

The only problem was that I didn’t know how much to get.  I knew I needed 6 cups of cooked barley in the salad and maybe because it was almost 10 pm (I can’t think of another good excuse), I poured almost 4 cups of barley into my bag and proceeded to cook it all that night.  Yeah yeah, I knew the grain would bulk up while cooking, but listen up folks!  It turns out that 4 cups of dried barley makes over 12 cups of cooked barley!  And I wasn’t exactly expecting a small army at this barbecue…

That catches us up to this morning (two days post-barbecue) when I  found myself staring at a big tupperware of unused cooked barley and decided to make another barley salad!  This time I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, omitting the split yellow peas, green peas, and chives and adding chopped green onions, pork tenderloin, and avocado.  In case you’re wondering, the unchanged salad components were the roasted green onions (delicious!), goat cheese, barley, salad greens, and the citrus vinaigrette.

Vicken and I had it for lunch and we were quite pleased!  Our only complaint was that the amount of olive oil in the original dressing was a little overpowering, so I cut it back from 1/2 to 1/3 cup in the recipe below.

I should point out that although I have modified recipes before, I feel like I graduated to a new level today.  Since I’ve had to think a lot about Bloom’s Taxonomy for the teaching workshops I’ve led this quarter, I immediately felt the need to categorize the level of cognitive development I’ve achieved in the kitchen.  And you know what?  I’m synthesizing, people!  SYNTHESIS is higher order thinking!  I’m making progress!  You should play around with the ingredients you add to this salad and do some synthesizing yourself!

Citrus Barley Salad
(adapted from Heather’s Farro Recipe, 101cookbooks.com)

6 cups cooked pearled barley
1/2 pound roasted pork tenderloin (or roasted chicken breast, etc.), chopped into bit sized pieces–I cheated and got this at the Nugget (local Davis grocery store)
6 green onions, white/light green parts sliced in half length wise and cut into 1.5 inch segments, green parts chopped into thin slices
1/2 cup goat cheese
4 handfuls salad greens
1 avocado, diced
citrus parmesan vinaigrette*

1. Cover 2 cups pearled barley with water by 2 inches.  Salt liberally.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 40-50 minutes or until barley is tender but not mushy.  The grain should retain some firmness.  Drain the barley and set aside to cool.  You can refrigerate this ahead of time until you are ready to assemble the salad.

2. Toss the white/light green onion segments in olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until light brown, stirring once.

3. Combine barley and dressing in a large bowl and stir well to coat the barley.  Add the pork tenderloin and chopped dark green onion sections, then the goat cheese. Toss in the salad greens and chopped avocado last.  Serve immediately.

*Citrus Parmesan Vinaigrette: combine in a jar the zest and juice of 1 orange, 1 choped shallot, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, and 1/3 cup good quality olive oil.  Salt to taste.  Shake to mix the dressing.