Scallops, Bok Choy and Mushrooms Over Barley for UCLA’s Dr. S

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Scallops, Bok Choy and Mushrooms on BarleyFriday 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.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Worth The Whisk October 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Greg, why yes it DOES mean you get those cupcakes. Once I make them again. The last batch is long gone.

2 sippitysup October 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm

barley is underused. It’s for more than just soup and does a great job here as a base for these beautiful scallops. Did you know my BF was teaching at UCLA now, does that mean we get Chocolate Cupcake with Kahlua Coconut Buttercream, err I mean scallops? GREG

3 Worth The Whisk October 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

Hooray, the Good Doc approves! I think the other special requests might be better attempted on a different recipe. Buttercream. Bad bad yummy stuff.

4 Preethi Srikanthan October 13, 2010 at 1:02 am

How exciting, I get a mention on my fave food blog without raising a whisk! Thanks Patti! Looks delicious..I can’t wait to try this ! Could you do the choclate cupcake with kahlua coconut buttercream with splenda and minus the fat?? Just kidding, even a sugar doc needs to splurge occasionally!

5 Worth The Whisk October 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I am getting full just THINKING about all these grains. They sure are a lot more filling than white rice or potatoes.

6 elise October 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm

like dorothy said, you can get it at costco for a good price. also, if you get quinoa in bulk at whole foods it is a little cheaper, but yeah, i agree its a bit steep. since i dont pay for meat, though, i figure i can call it even.

grains are great. im big into millet and wheat berries right now 🙂

7 Worth The Whisk October 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Dorothy – the barley BIG MOUTHFUL of chew is fantastic, I agree. We’re digging it here. Will look at quinoa next Costco trip.

8 Dorothy at October 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Love barley! LOVE LOVE IT! By your nutritional accounting, it has nearly 3 times the fiber, fewer calories, fewer carbs, same protein and zero fat. That makes it BETTER! Plus, it has the chew factor, which is important in making you feel like you have actually eaten something.

You can get a big bag of quinoa at Costco. Cuts the per-serving price down. Quinoa is seriously protein-y, and if you are a grains girl, you will like it!

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