Life is pretty exciting right now. I have always felt “at home” when I travel – which seems like it would be kind of an oxymoron. As much as it can be sort of tiring to pack and unpack, spend time in airports, break out of a routine… it is something that I will always want as a part of my life. I think I caught the travel bug from my dad. He has been jet-setting all around the world for as long as I’ve been alive, and I have always admired his growing list of “checked-off” places.
We aren’t heading anywhere quite as crazy as China this year; instead lots of shorter trips have claimed their space on our calendars. Tonight I am heading to NYC until Sunday to visit friends, eat a lot of good food, and spend a day listening to some inspiring creative types (are any of you going to Alt?).
While missing a lot of work this month stresses me out to a degree, I try to remind myself that this feeling? The one of exploring new places, meeting new people, and finding a tiny part of myself somewhere within every destination... this is the feeling I work for. The freedom to live my passion, to feed my desire to travel the world.
And now, a not-so-subtle segue into a recipe for barley salad. This dish was a born from a combination of a bunch of pea shoots that showed up in my CSA a few weeks ago, a giant jar of barley in my cabinet, and my love for anything tahini-related. I have been really into grain salads lately - they are much more filling than a regular salad but still feel light enough to eat during the warmer days we’ve been having. Also, I think they make the perfect meal when you are home for a few days, in between adventures.
Barley-Pea Shoot Salad with Tahini Dressing
For the salad:
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 red onion, sliced
1 cup pearled barley, prepared according to package directions (about 3 ½ cups cooked)
4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
2 ounces pea shoots, chopped
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
½ ounce fresh basil, chopped
¼ ounce fresh mint leaves, chopped
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion slices and stir to coat. Let cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until they turn golden-brown in color. This should take about 20 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add all ingredients (including the caramelized onions), and toss with tahini dressing (recipe below). Serves 6-8.
For the dressing:
½ cup tahini
¾ cup olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Whisk together all ingredients and serve with barley salad (above).