At the Sylvia Center in New York City, we kicked off cooking classes at three community center sites. Community Chefs, like Rolanda Beckett, are preparing delicious food with young kids and encouraging them to try new ingredients on a weekly basis.
In last week’s cooking class, in East New York, Brooklyn, it was the first time for many students to try barley. Community Chef Rolanda asked students if they could name different kinds of grains and a few of the students answered: rice, oatmeal, and wheat. Next, Rolanda introduced students to using barley in a Barley-Veggie Fried Rice.
Before getting started on the recipe, Rolanda demonstrated how to properly hold the knife and what how to cut the vegetables for the recipe. First, she introduced students to the french culinary term mirepoix, or “the holy trinity”, which refers to the combination of diced carrots, onions, and celery that is sautéed and used as a flavor base. Next, each student was assigned a task: peeling the carrots, dicing the vegetables into small cubes, watching the barley by the stove, and mixing the cooked barley with the vegetables. Students would check to see if the barley was ready by tasting and feeling the texture. Together, they added salt and pepper to taste. They were all so excited to cook together and share a meal at the end.
Barley-Veggie Fried Rice
2 cups barley
Mirepoix: celery, carrots, onion
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp, extra virgin olive oil
2 cups white mushrooms, cleaned, stem removed, & sliced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp five spice seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
- Cook barley as instructed until completely done.
- Sauté mirepoix in olive oil until tender.
- Add barley, mushrooms and seasonings. Stir until flavors are mixed in.
- Salt to taste and serve.