Black bean, black barley soup & toasted barley walnut bread

Black bean black barley soup

Yesterday was rainy and cold. I felt tired (Isaac had kept us up for hours after our crazy neighbors talking to the police had kept us up for hours.) I felt discouraged. I should have taken a nap. What did I do instead? I baked bread! And then … I made soup! Just before we ate the bread and the soup I realized they both contained barley. OMG! Is that like wearing your plaid shirt with your plaid pants? It is, isn’t it? But then, maybe you’re thinking about it, and you realize that though they’re different plaids, they do have a few colors in common. They do look sort of nice together. You could just pretend you’d planned it that way all along. It’s an outfit!

I bought black barley at the whole foods last week, and I’ve been so excited about cooking with it! David suggested black barley & black bean soup, and the second he said it, I could just taste it! It would be dark and savory and smoky. Meaty almost. It would be simple – just the beans and the barley, but it would have a lot of flavor. Rosemary, sage, smoked paprika, a little tamari… a nice dark rich broth.

I’m not sure how the barley-bread bee got into my bonnet. I wanted to make a dark, dense crunchy bread. With nuts and whole grains and a crispy crust. I think it turned out that way! It’s got toasted walnuts and toasted oats, both roughly ground. It’s got whole wheat flour and black pepper. And it’s got toasted barley flour, which has a lovely, distinctive, sweetly nutty flavor. I made a long, thin loaf, for maximum crust, and I bent it into a “C” shape, because I wanted to bake my initials. Nah, really, I wanted to fit it onto my baking sheet. It was very very nice with the soup, and good sliced thinly and toasted with cinnamon sugar as well.

Here’s Aaron Copland’s Barley Wagons. It’s lovely!
Continue reading