Sunday, October 12, 2008

Worry Dolls And Seven-Bean-Barley Soup

image from Wikipedia

I have a new (tongue-firmly-in-cheek -- I think) project.

I want to ask everyone I know to spend a couple of hours making worry dolls to ship to Wall Street. It won't take you a moment. Worry dolls are cheap if you must buy them, but I think the love and cursing you put into each one as you wrap the tiny threads around toothpicks trying to approximate a listening ear friend that fits in a pocket or under a pillow ... well, I think a handmade one will be better. And it will be good practice for your spending hiatus.

All Wall Street traders, especially the brokers, need something to help deal with their worries these days.

For the rest of us, there's Seven-Bean-Barley Soup. Are you a soup fan? I am. Although I was raised vegetarian for most of my childhood, I married a dyed-in-the-steak meat-and-potatoes man. He once accused me, early in our marriage, of sneaking tofu and mushrooms into the spaghetti sauce on the sly. Who me? Sneaky?

Anywhat, after 16 years of blissful marriage to me, the EGE is now a big soup fan too. Yay Soup! Go Soup! It's comfort food and usually budget-friendly to boot. As our weather cools and the financial news is scarier and scarier, a hot bowl of soup is just what the Suite family needs.

You should know that I rarely, barely ever, use a recipe. This drives my engineer husband berserk. And recently I was for no reason emailing my pesto "recipe" to Barb, one of my favorite writers (go ahead and click; I don't know how to make it open in a new window, but she's worth clicking away for). When I sent her the "recipe" I just sorta threw the letters and words up on the screen in the same manner that I tend to throw veggies at a pot. Of course I forgot to include the garlic. Sheesh. It mighta mattered more except she wasn't even wanting a recipe, she just asked if I ever made it. What's wrong with me?

After all that buried caveat and digression, I will venture to give a loose recipe for Seven-Bean-Barley Soup. You cannot mess it up.

Seven-Bean-Barley Soup

1/4 Cup each dry beans: split pea, lentil, black-eyed pea, black bean, red bean, pinto bean, surprise me (hah! I call it "seven-bean" but I don't know what the seventh might be)

1/4 Cup dry barley

One Walla Walla onion

One quart stewed tomatoes (if you can your own, as I do, put your kitchen shears in the jar and snip them up so they're about half-inch or smaller pieces)

Two to four carrots, diced

Two to four celery stalks, diced

Chicken stock or bullion cubes


Salt & pepper, dried Italian spices

Soak the beans overnight in a bowl with water just to cover. Drain and rinse before you use them.

Brown the onions, garlic carrots and celery in olive oil in your deepest heavy pot. I use a cast iron Dutch Oven. Wish I had an enameled one that big.

Add the soaked and rinsed beans and the dry barley. Cover the whole thing with chicken stock (DON'T add tomatoes yet) until you have a couple of inches liquid over the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately two to three hours.

After all the beans are soft, add the tomatoes and seasoning, then simmer for another half hour or so.

If you want to make this in the slow cooker, bring it to a boil first, then simmer in the crock pot on low all day. Add the tomatoes when you get home from work. If you put acidic foods in with cooking beans, they will not soften. It will be a bummer.

I think this recipe costs about $2 to make and serves 12 to 20 people. I serve it with homemade cornbread and real butter. Of course.


Erik said...

Yes, cornbread is the proper accompaniment to bean soup! And here is my list of 15 beans that I use in my soups (not always at once; I am not religious about it):
Baby lima beans
Black beans
Black eyed peas
Brown lentils
Cranberry beans
Great northern beans
Green lentils
Green split peas
Kidney beans
Large lima beans
Navy beans
Pinto beans
Red beans
Red lentils
Yellow split peas

Barb said...

I don't cook with recipes, either, you know. I'm a concept kind of girl. A Concept Cooker--so many puns, so little time.

I love your recipes. And your blog.