I saw a beautiful photo in the new Vegetarian Times magazine. Lots of yummy veggies and a mound of barley all on a plate with a lemon. Looked so good. But when I read the recipe, it turned out to be a cold salad on romaine lettuce. I live in Iowa and it's February and it's cold. I need a hot supper. So I revamped it just a touch and served up a hot dish for my family.
As you are buying the veggies for this, it does seem like you are buying a lot and you'll never eat them all. It was a lot, but I steamed the extra veggies the next night on the side with grilled portabellas. Plan accordingly.
When poaching veggies, be sure to have all your food prepped first. Have your pans ready, your veggies cleaned and cut and your steamer hot. Have your tongs and spoons ready to go and your vinaigrette whisked up and ready to drizzle. Once you start cooking, it goes very quickly.
Poaching vegetables is easy. The trick is to start the "tough" ones first, then add in the quicker cooking ones later. Simply use salted water kept at a slight simmer/boil. Small bubbles should be around the edges of the pan, but no big bubbles coming from the flat bottom of the pan. Keep it quick, too, so you don't end up with mush. You want some texture left in your veggies. Just soften them a touch, and make sure they are warmed through. That's it. Poaching is really fast--2-6 minutes tops even for bigger veggies.
Prep your barley first by cooking it according to the directions on the box. I cooked mine in some veggie broth with a little thyme. Nothing fancy. While it sat it's needed 10 minutes, I poached and steamed the veggies.
My list of veggies for the night was fennel (cleaned and quartered), carrots (cleaned and halved lengthwise), zucchini (cut into sticks), asparagus and sugar snap peas. Served it up on a bed of steamed kale with a scoop of barley to boot.
I poached the fennel first for about 2 minutes. Added carrots for 2 minutes. Then added everything except the kale for 2 minutes. I steamed the kale while the others poached and then served everything on top of it.
My lemon vinaigrette was a simple mix of olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, Dijon mustard, a little sugar, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I also sprinkled a little crushed red pepper on mine.
Very simple and fash and healthful and yummy. Hope you enjoy!!!