Chicken, mushroom & barley soup

1/3 cup barley (rinsed and drained)
2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 large leek (sliced)
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup cooked chicken meat leftovers
200 g small shiitake mushrooms (quarter)
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
spring onion to garnish (chopped)

Bring a pan of water to a boil. Add the barley and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Skimming any foam and impurities from the surface. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the leek and cook for another 4 minutes. Stir in the stock, then drain the barley and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, carrot, oregano and bay leaf and cook covered for another 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaf, garnish with spring onion.

My father’s beans soup

So cheap, so ordinary, so healthy. The beans are good for a lot of things. Rich in fiber and antioxidants, help prevent every possible kind of disease. They call them “poor’s people meat”. Probably that’s the reason why all of my grandparents reached 80 years in good health.
Comparing to meat beans are incomplete protein (because they lack essential amino acids). The best way to go around it’s to combine it partial-protein foods to make complementary protein. Just combine beans with either brown rice, corn, wheat, barley, quinoa, amaranth…

This is recipe for big pot. Good for two people, for two days (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
It’s stupid to cook less, just freeze remains and eat them within a month.

My father’s bean soup

1 cup of of mixed beans
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils

2 big onions
4 cloves garlic
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 pepper
2 small tomatoes

olive oil
2 bay leafs
1/4 tsp. sugar
6 cups water (approximately)
5×5 cm strip of kombu

2 fingers strip of homemade smoked bacon with skin (just for that smoky smell)
a pair of high quality sausage – to make my husband smiling (otherwise he calls this recipe: Empty beans)

Soak beans, lentils, chickpeas and barley overnight. Wash them and strain.
Dice all the vegetables. In a large pot heat olive oil, and sauté onion until translucent. Add other vegetables, except tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until the vegetables are all cooked. Add tomatoes, sprinkle a little bit of sugar (to balance acidity in tomatoes), and cook for additional 5 minutes. Or until almost all the liquid evaporates.
Add beans (all of them), water and bay leaf. Add bacon. Cook for 1,5 hour on low heat. Taste, season. If it’s to juicy, cook some more, if it’s to dry add some water.
Cook sausages separately and add them at the end.

The happy farts will follow you wherever you go!

They say if you cook them the right way the gaseousness of beans will be virtually eliminated. I find that untrue. Adding kombu helps, but only helps. I did not try to sprout them jet. Maybe that’s true. For us it works to eat beans more often, twice a week at least and develop immunity.

Pork tenderloin+blue cheese sauce+sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and cheddar barlotto

For two – lunch & dinner

200 g barley (soaked, washed & strained)
200 ml chicken broth & 200 ml vegetable broth (whatever, can add water in which is shortly boiled garlic and thyme).
1 red onion (finely chopped)
around 50 g (handfull) roasted pine nuts
around 100 g sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
100 g grated cheddar
salt and pepper
fresh cracked black pepper
olive oil

reduced balsamic vinegar (how: boil balsamic vinegar until reduces and becomes syrupy)

In a heavy bottom pot sauté the onion until golden in a little olive oil. Add chopped garlic and cook until you feel the smell of garlic. Add the barley and toast 4-5 minutes. Add a few ladles of broth at a time and let completely absorb before adding more to the barley.  Continue this process until barley is cooked (15-20 minutes). Add sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. Adjust the seasoning. Add the grated cheese and butter. Mix all the ingredients well.

Serve with a few drizzles of reduced balsamic and olive oil.

Blue cheese sauce
Mix 100 g blue cheese in hot béchamel sauce.

Pan seared pork tenderloin.

Assembly, serve and enjoy!

The kitchen after:

difficulty level cooking: It looked easy from living room, this masterpiece was produced by my husband
difficulty level washing dishes: HELL! everything was dirty, dishes, the floor, the kitchen cabinets…but it was worth it 

Washing dishes is a big deal in our kitchen. No dishwasher, and no hot/warm/lukewarm water from the kitchen pipe. And thats not all – I’ve lost that stupid bet. Now I have to wash dishes by myself throughout February. Not only that this February have 29 days, I was stubborn enough to say: Yes! to another bet with my husband. I’ve lost a bet, and won washing dishes in February 2013. Lucky girl. Grrrrrrrrr!