07-03-04_barleysoup.jpgA soup like this presents itself as a complete meal to me. Barley cries out for attention. It’s an ultimate comfort food. Wild mushrooms are a sexy indulgence that I couldn’t ignore. I used 4 oz. of maitake mushrooms and 4 oz. of oyster mushrooms, because that’s what looked good in my Food Coop.

Here’s a definition of “maitake mushroom” from Wikipedia:

Hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa referring to a mythical beast which is half-lioneagle), also known as and half-sheep’s head and maitake (pronounced my-tah-keh), is an edible mushroom. It has a rippling form with no caps, and grows in clusters at the foot of oak trees, giving it an image of dancing butterflies, and thus the Japanese named it “maitake”, literally meaning “dancing mushroom” (some sources also claim that the “dancing mushroom” refers to a small dance of joy given by a collector upon discovering the mushroom). Hen of the woods should not be confused with the similarly named edible bracket fungi, chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), also known as “sulphur shelf”. Some people prefer calling it chicken mushroom precisely so that they don’t confuse it with hen of the woods. Maitake is indigenous to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbologyadaptogen, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. Most people find its taste appealing, but the mushroom has been known to cause allergic as an reactions in some people.”

And here’s the Wikipedia definition of “oyster mushroom”:

The Oyster mushroom, or Pleurotus ostreatus, is a common mushroom prized for its edibility and lack of confusing look-alikes. It is related to the “king oyster mushroom”. Oyster mushrooms can also be used industrially for mycoremediation purposes. Both the Latin and common name refer to the shape of the fruiting body. The Latin pleurotus (sideways) refers to the sideways-growth of the stem with respect to the cap while the Latin ostreatus (and the English common name, oyster) refers to the shape of the cap which resembles the bi-valve of the same name. Many also believe that the name is fitting due to the flavor resemblance to oysters. In Chinese, they are called píng gū (平菇). Meaning “flat mushroom”.”

For this recipe, “1 cup chopped onions” equaled 1 small onion for me; “2 tsp. minced garlic” was 3 cloves of garlic. The “2 tsp. vegetable oil” (I used olive oil) made for a dry pan, so make sure to keep stirring the onion and garlic to prevent burning. I opened a 28-oz. can of organic crushed tomatoes, so I made sure to weigh the amount that I needed (19 oz.).

I fried my beautiful assortment of wild mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil before adding them to the soup. Now you’ll notice that this recipe does not include any salt. I’m sure this is because of its inclusion in The Best Diabetes Cookbook, and its concern for its readership of high-blood-pressured individuals (I am not one of these). So I ended up adding three-and-a-half teaspoons of salt to the soup pot, to make this taste fine to me.

As you can see from our photo, this was a hearty soup. It tasted lovely.

RECIPE: warm and satisfying; the tomatoes make it a crowd-pleaser
barley does need an hour to cook
toothsome barley, luscious mushrooms, comforting tomatoes

I want to make another udon noodle dish next time. “Asian Noodle Salad” is from The Diabetes Food and Nutrition Bible, by Hope Warshaw. Come back to this site on Tuesday, April 3, to see my version. I’ll print the recipe here:

Yield: 4 servings

4 cups thin spaghetti or udon noodles
1 cup slivered carrots
1/2 cup slivered celery
1/4 cup minced shallot

1/3 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. arrowroot
1 Tbsp. water
crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. minced cilantro
1 1/3 Tbsp. sesame seeds

In a salad bowl, combine the cooked noodles with the carrots, celery, and shallot.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the peanut butter with the broth, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. When mixture is boiling, combine the arrowroot and water. Add to the sauce. Cook until thickened.

Add the red pepper flakes and cilantro. Pour over the noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Chill for 1 hour.