Friday afternoons, I’m an Info Desk Volunteer at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Not only do I work alongside Volunteer Marty who is interesting, smart and has good stories, ours is the “witching hour” — the pace transitions from slow week to wild weekend. Everybody needs something, including lots of docs. When Dr. Preethi Srikanthan approached and asked, “Are you Patti?” my guess was she had lost her ID badge (the #1 Lost & Found item), or her pager batteries died or she needed a patient’s room number. “Yes, I am.” “You write Worth The Whisk!” OMG, I have a FAN BASE. Dr. S, this Scallops, Bok Choy and Mushrooms Over Barley recipe is for YOU.
Turns out, Dr. S is my neighbor. Our ‘hood (walking distance to the hospital and campus) has an informational email system. On occasion, I cleverly disguise some Whisk links inside helpful neighbor news and, thanks to a moderator that’s down with that, neighbors see this blog.
Dr. S specializes in Diabetes. We talked about cooking for diabetics, she mentioned she had recommended a few of my recipes to patients, and I silently “shelved” the oooey gooey Chocolate Cupcake with Kahlua Coconut Buttercream post for another week. I need to give Dr. S and her clientele something USEFUL, for gosh sakes.
The day after we I talked, I studied my nutrition books and pulled together this very-low-Glycemic Index (GI) recipe. This was also Larry’s lunch; I had never cooked him barley and he liked it so much, he asked me to check the nutritional value vs. brown rice. According to my Nutrition Almanac, barley wins by a teensy margin (1 cup cooked):
- Rice, Brown: 178 cal, 4g pro, >1g fat, 37g carbs, 2.4g fiber
- Barley, Pearled: 140 cal, 4g pro, 0g fat, 35g carb, 7g fiber
Dr. S was talking about quinoa, but one look at the price ($10.99 for a bag?? Oh, Dr. S, you don’t know me very well), I quickly compared carbs of all the interesting grains and chose barley: 79 cents. (PS vegans like my little cousin, Elise who writes Hungry Hungry Hippie may leave out the scallops. It’s just as yummy.) Also, you really don’t need to follow quantities precisely with a recipe like this – a handful of this vegetable or that, sautéed in lemon juice with herbs and spices comes out great.
Scallops, Bok Choy and Mushrooms Over Barley
- 1/2 cup dry pearled barley
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- Juice of 1 large fresh lemon
- 1/4 lb. large scallops
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 lb. baby bok choy, roughly chopped
- 1/2 lb. sliced button mushrooms
- Fresh cilantro and chives, chopped to approx. 1/4 cup total
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
In a saucepan or rice cooker, cook barley in water according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add diced onion and cumin, cook, stirring, until translucent. Remove to a plate. Add lemon juice to the skillet, heat and scrape pan, then add scallops and cook approx. 30 seconds per side. Remove scallops to plate. Add water to the skillet, scrape pan, then add bok choy, mushrooms and fresh herbs, cook stirring just until vegetables are slightly limp. Add onions and scallops back to the skillet, stir to heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot barley. Makes 2 servings.
VEGAN VERSION: no scallops.