Pearl Barley Tabbouleh

Pearl Barley Tabbouleh
For the second summer in a row, we didn’t get our act together to plant a container garden. Before we knew it May became June and now it’s almost July, so I am depending on the farmers market for all my fruit and veg. It’s already part of my weekend routine anyway. Of course I am sad that I can’t just pop out on the back deck for a few basil leaves, but there is always next year for my green thumb.

I love fresh flowers, but lately I have been buying so many bunches of herbs at the market that keeping them in jars on the kitchen counter has the same effect on my home décor. I needed to replenish my herb supply after I made this pearl barley tabbouleh. Using grains in this classic Lebanese salad gave it more heft and official status as a satisfying vegetarian main instead of being relegated to a side.
Pearl Barley Tabbouleh
Pearl Barley Tabbouleh
Serves 4

1/2 cup peal barley
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1/2 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced chives
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until tender. In a mesh strainer, rinse the barley in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint, chives, lemon juice, allspice, salt and pepper.

Rainbow Veggie Pizza & Fruit Popsicles

Rainbow Veggie Pizza
In celebration of Pride Month, I shared two colorful recipes with Urban Outfitters, a rainbow veggie pizza and fruit popsicles. Vegetables take centerstage while cheese is a supporting player on this pie. Before the crust even hits the grill, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini and onions are cooked first. The end result is a slightly charred, smoky veggie-centric slice.

For dessert, these rainbow popsicles are simply coconut water pureed with different fruits including raspberries, pineapples, oranges, kiwi, blueberries and blackberries. A little patience freezing these treats layer by layer, and the festive pops are ready to be served. Head to the UO Blog for full recipes.

Rainbow Popsicles

Peach Tomato Salad

Peach Tomato Salad
Stone fruit season hasn’t quite hit the Midwest yet. Yesterday at the farmers market, I spotted the first few quarts of cherries. When I asked the farmer what kind they were with their deep ruby skin, he told me sweet, but when I tried one I was a bit underwhelmed. Maybe my expectations were too high. I thought they would have more flavor. Perhaps I need to wait a little longer.

For now, I am going to stick to the grocery for stone fruit until we finish playing catch up in my neck of the woods. This peach tomato salad got a boost from basil pesto, a staple in my pantry. With mozzarella, white balsamic vinegar and lots of chives, the peaches added a tart sweetness. The salad was fresh, juicy and perfect for hot summer days that are already in full swing.
Peach Tomato Salad
Peach Tomato Salad

Serves 2-4

For marinated tomatoes
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon basil pesto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon, kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For salad
1 peach, pitted and sliced thinly
6 ciliegine mozzarella balls, thinly sliced
1 generous handful baby greens
1 tablespoon minced chives
Salt and black pepper to taste

For the marinated tomatoes, in a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, pesto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Add the peaches, mozzarella, baby greens and chives to the tomatoes. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Neapolitan Semifreddo

Neapolitan Semifreddo
Dinnertime is when I transform into a short-order cook because I make the rookie parenting mistake of asking my toddler what he wants to eat when I should just offer up a couple choices. The other night when the water was bubbling away on the stove ready for spaghetti, my 2-year-old announced that he wanted waffles instead. I indulged him, and together we whipped up those waffles from scratch.

My son and I share a certain indecisiveness about what to eat. Dessert is always the toughest decision because of my sweet tooth. I made this Neapolitan semifreddo to satisfy every ice cream craving in a single recipe. With stripes of berries, vanilla and chocolate, I had all the flavors covered. Plus there is something a little fun and fancy about serving ice cream in slices instead of standard scoops.
Neapolitan Semifreddo
Neapolitan Semifreddo
Adapted from olive

Serves 6-8

Non-stick cooking spray
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 large egg whites
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
8 ounces strawberries
3-1/2 ounces raspberries
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
2-1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Grease an 8-1/2-inch by 4-1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line with plastic wrap.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture should have thickened into a syrup.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually pour the hot syrup into the egg whites while the mixer is running. Beat until cool, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and vanilla seeds. Fold into the egg whites in 3 additions. Divide into 3 bowls with one batch a little smaller than the others.

In a blender, puree the strawberries, raspberries and confectioners’ sugar. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into the smaller batch of cream. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Pour a layer of plain vanilla cream into the loaf pan and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate in 30-second blasts in the microwave. Allow it to cool, but still be runny before stirring it into the remaining cream. Pour it in the loaf pan and freeze at least 3-4 hours. Before serving, let the semifreddo sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and then slice.

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