What a day! Ben and our fellow farmer and friend Seth spent the day in Burlington at the Northern Grain Growers Winter Conference. Ella and I started boiling our sap and took our first bike ride of the year. We’d planned to boil sap in late March, but the weather has been so warm that I think the sap may be near the end of its run, plus I was worried about the sap spoiling if we didn’t start it going. So, somewhat to my amazement, I managed to get it going today, using this somewhat kooky set-up from previous years (we had dreams of building a real brick set up this year. Oh well!).
Exciting! We had a picnic lunch out by the cold frames Ben built, and soon we’ve be harvesting salads from them – hard to believe. I suppose since winter started early this year, an early spring makes sense . . . sort of. I’m trying to just enjoy it.
On to the Barley Carrot Kugel! This is one of the first recipes I tried from Whole Grains Every Day Every Way when we first got grains in. It’s quite tasty, and I’ve made quite a few changes – the biggest one is that instead of just carrots, I use part apples or root vegetables (as you’ll see below). This really adds a nice round flavor, while still keeping the recipe simple, and so easy to prepare. Definitely kid friendly, this is also a great one to make ahead, and bake at dinner.
(I know I have a photo of this kugel, but can’t find it anywhere! I’ll have to make it again just to photograph it. The photo above is of raw barley from our share.)
Barley Carrot Kugel
butter (to grease a 8-in square baking dish)
4 large eggs
3 Tbsp honey
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cooked barley (instructions follow below)
3 cups peeled, grated carrots
1 cup grated apples, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, celeriac, or turnip (truly, these are all good, and allow nice variations on the same dish!)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8-in square baking dish with butter, and set aside.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Blend in 2 tbsp of the honey, the butter, and salt. Stire in the barley, carrots, apples/root veggies, raisins if desired, and walnuts.
Pour the mixture into the pan, and drizzle the remaining tbsp of honey over the top. Bake uncovered until the kugel is firm in the center and lightly golden, about 45 minutes. If the top browns too much before it firms up, you can cover it with foil to finish it.
Take out of the oven, and cool for 5 minutes before serving. You can either scoop it with a spoon, or cut it into wedges and lift it out with a pie server.
To cook whole barley:
1 cup barley
3 cups water
2 qt pot
This will yield 2 cups cooked barley. Bring the water and salt to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat to avoid boil-overs. Add the barley, and return to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 40-55 minutes. To test for doneness – the barley will be tender but still chewy, and one color throughout when cut in half lengthwise. Drain off any unabsorbed water, and return barley to the pot. Cover, and allow to rest off the heat for 5-10 minutes.
You can also bake this in the oven, After adding the barley to the boiling water, place it in a 350 degrees F oven, in a covered pot.