The July Fourth holiday is behind us, and before you know it, the summer will fly by. I never understood why the time seems to go so much faster during those long, lazy days of summer. One minute you are basking in the warm glow of summer, then in the blink of an eye, autumn is here, the kids are back in school, and you are riding a roller coaster for the next 9 months. Oh well. Sorry, let’s not think about that just yet.
There are so many wonderful things about the summer. I love the fragrant flowers and the beautiful harvest of vegetables (and so many other things, but I won’t bore you). For the past couple of years, I have been growing some of my own vegetables. Although I am not a great gardener, I do manage to pull off a couple of tasty veggies. I enjoy growing them, and achieve satisfaction when I use them in the meals I prepare. It is still early enough for you to try to grow your own. So give it a try…you never know!
This recipe caught my eye as I was searching for a barley dish. Quick-cooking barley is easy to prepare and is very versatile. I had all the ingredients in my pantry for this recipe, so I gave it a try.
I am so glad I did! It was sweet, along with a little tang and a little heat–a perfect combination. You can also use chicken broth to prepare it (I did). If you use regular chicken broth, you should eliminate the salt. It will be salty enough once it is cooked. I also could not find black-eyed peas, so I used regular black beans, and I am sure the result was similar ( you could also substitute chick peas). Remember, a recipe is just a guide. When you cook (as opposed to baking), there is plenty of room to change things up, and make it exactly as you like.
Whatever you do, put this recipe on your to-do list. It is fast, easy and just plain delicious.
This recipe is courtesy of Eatingwell Magazine and will serve 4-5 people who will repeatedly crave this flavorful dish.
Ingredients for Barley Hoppin John
1 small red pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
1 cup quick cooking barley (I used Manischewitz toasted barley)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add onion, bell pepper and celery.
Cook until vegetables soften, 3-4 minutes.
Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
Add broth, barley, thyme, lemon juice, crushed red pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the barley is done, 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in black-eyed peas.
Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
It’s that simple!