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Barley Stir Fry

Nutty and nourishing barley makes a delicious fried rice replacement, and this is a great way to clean out the fridge..

Start by cooking up a cup of barley and allowing it to cool.

Tear or cut up half a block of tofu and set it marinate in:

2 T oil
2 T shoyu
1 T maple syrup
1 T vinegar
1-2 T Moromi gochu chili sauce

Warm some oil in a deep-sided pan and prepare whatever vegetables are lying unused in your crisper drawer. You will definitely want to start with a small onion, sliced. A clove or 2 of garlic is nice, too, but not necessary. Matchsticks of carrot or celeriac and thinly-sliced fresh ginger should follow the onion and garlic. Allow the carrots to cook a few minutes, then add any peppers, sliced, that you need to use up. Next comes cabbage, woody brassica or chard stems, followed by destemmed and sliced kale or chard leaves, then summer squash and/or broccoli florets. Allow everything to soften and color, stirring every few minutes.

When the vegetable mix is looking nearly as caramelized and cooked as you like, warm some oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Remove the tofu from the marinade and settle it into the hot oil. Allow it to cook, undisturbed, for a few minutes at least. This will give you nice brown edges. Start to turn the pieces when the first side has browned.

When the tofu is cooked, ease it to one side of your pan and add the cooked barley to the hot oil. Press it down and spread it out, and allow the barley to cook without stirring for 3-4 minutes. Use a spatula to flip sections over to get some crispy bits.

Add the marinade from the tofu to the vegetable pan, mix, and then take off the heat.

When the barley has warmed through, and you have as much browning as you'd like, add the contents of the skillet to the vegeables. Mix throughly and test for seasoning (some more gochu chili sauce might be a good idea).

Slice that last lonely scallion from the bottom of your crisper drawer and garnish each plate before serving.