25 May 2012

Barley Salad with Chickpeas, Fava Beans & Peas and a Giveaway


There we were, among hundreds of adults in the stands with some toddlers and infants, while hundreds of kids in colorful costumes were in the arena, coming from different schools from the outskirts of Rome and other towns guesting for the Roman school dance festival.  These kids had been practicing their dances for months that even my son, who had grown up disliking anything that entails movement of the hips, arms and legs, was transformed into a dancing machine after too much practicing.   And I was happy to witness this wonderful transformation through the lens of my camera.


Sitting at the stands for hours was not my ideal way of spending my whole morning, after waking up extra early to prepare to go out and be punctual in arriving at the gate of the stadium.   But we came prepared like all the other parents who were there to watch their kids.  Every single parent had a camera, video camera or telephone in hand, a knapsack full of panini and pizza ripiena (stuffed pizza with ham & cheese) and heavy eyelids.  We all had one aim that morning.  We came to watch the dances that they have been working on for months and to give them parental support.  


As I sat there for 4 straight hours with my husband and 2 year-old daughter, I had the time to contemplate.  I wondered how it was like in the eyes of our son.  This was his first big event outside his school and I wondered what kind of emotions were running up and down inside him.  He should be overwhelmed with the size of the stadium and the number of people around him. I was curious if our presence boosted his confidence in setting out in the middle of the arena and dance.   


This train of thoughts also led to my own school days when I was in Elementary School.  I lingered on the memories of searching for my mother among the hundreds of spectators whenever we have our annual school presentations. I always regress to being a small child dependently connected to parental support because I needed it to boost my flailing confidence.  I am not a stage gal type.  I was the kind of person who would rather stay at the back of the stage and do the props.   My Mom never missed a single event, enduring the heat and the waiting, always alone for me and my other three siblings.  My father was  a pilot so he was an absentee father.  He had never been present in any school event, including graduations, even the time I came out to this world.  He was always in the sky, working and doing what he loves most.  I never bore any grudges about these absences. My mother did an exemplary job of filling up his empty seat.  


You know how reflections jump from one thought bubble to another.  Another musing  that lingered in my mind was about the kids whose parents couldn't make it to see them. I have seen faces of disappointment and tears of sadness both when I was a kid and and as a parent in my son's classes.  I always felt bad for them and wished that I won't ever face what they were going through.  Now that I am a parent myself, I make sure that I am there to hold my child's hand to give him words of encouragement and to congratulate him on a job well done.  


Here is a very simple and fresh spring salad to enjoy while the peas and fava beans are still in season.  When I came home from the market with bags of fresh produce, I couldn't help start shelling the peas and fava beans.  They were so fresh and sweet that I had to concoct a salad dish using these two fresh ingredients.  I haven't cooked anything with orzo (barley) lately so I made sure I had those three as the main ingredients.

Along with my vegetable purchases, I also found some Tropea onions.  They are these elongated, red and very mild onions produced in Calabria, the southern part of Italy.  The most famous town that grows them is Tropea, also known for its beautiful beaches and historical center.   I think they are the best onions I have ever tried in my life.  They are very mild that they are very good in salads and marmalades, among other things.  Oh, and they didn't make me cry when I was slicing them. 

I hope you enjoy this simple dish.  Please don't forget to scroll down to find out about the giveaway.


Like what I promised in my Facebook the other day, I bought a pack of Bronte pistachios, a brick of almond paste and a pack of dried oregano to give away.  I recently discovered this Sicilian gastronomical shop close to where I live (No need to go to Sicily to replenish my stocks!) after I went on a mission to look for Bronte pistachios to fill up my cupboard again.    

I have been preparing a lot of dishes using these three ingredients that I thought you would like to have them too and see for yourself why I like them so much.

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE

I only have two things to ask:
  1. "Like" Apron and Sneakers Facebook page.
  2. Leave a comment in this post saying which recipe I did that you like the most and stating that you are a new or old follower of Apron and Sneakers (Facebook).
This giveaway finishes on Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 12 Midnight, Rome Time (GMT +2).  Refer to the clock I have on my sidebar to see the local Rome time.  

I will be using random.org to select one winner.  I will be posting the name of the winner in the post after June 3. 

This is my first giveaway so I am quite excited to do this.  Good luck!



This giveaway has already ended.
 
00:12, June 4, 2012
The Winner of the Giveaway is #4, Sandra.  Congratulations!  Sandra, please email me your complete address.  Thanks! 

Thank you everyone for participating!  It had been a pleasure doing this. 




Barley Salad with Chickpeas, Fava Beans & Peas

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • 200 g. pearl barley
  • 200 g. chickpeas (I used canned ones.), rinsed and drained
  • 200 g. peas, shelled (weighed after shelling from about 800 g. of pods)
  • 200 g. fava beans, shelled (weighed after shelling from about 800 g. of pods)
  • 1/2 - 1 lime or lemon
  • handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, seeded & quartered
  • handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped finely + whole for garnishing
  • handful of fresh basil leaves + whole for garnishing
  • 1/2 Tropea onion (or any mild & sweet red onion), sliced round, very thinly
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • bowl of iced water
Directions:
  1. Prepare 2 saucepans with water.  
  2. In one saucepan, add the pearl barley and some salt then bring to a boil.  Once it boils, simmer on low fire for 20 minutes or until they are tender.  When they are cooked, rinse under tap, drain and set aside.
  3. Bring the other saucepan with water to a boil.  Add some salt when they boil.  Drop the green peas and cook for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, strain them then drop them in the bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. Strain again then transfer to a bowl.
  4. Drop the fava beans next to the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes, strain and  drop them in the bowl of iced water. Strain again then transfer to the bowl with the peas. Remove the outer skin one by one by pinching the beans lightly.
  5. In a big serving bowl, mix the fava beans, peas, barley, tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, mint & basil leaves.  
  6. To make the dressing, mix the extra virgin olive oil with the juice of 1/2 a lime.  Season with salt & pepper.  If you want it more sour, squeeze the other half. 
  7. Pour the dressing on the salad.  Mix well. 



After 5 minutes, strain them then drop them in the bowl of ice to stop the cooking.  When they are cold, strain then transfer to another bowl. - See more at: http://www.apronandsneakers.com/2013/04/spring-green-vegetable-salad-with.html#sthash.7SgtVyoY.dpufthe fava beans.   Cook the peas for 10 minutes and the fava beans for 5 minutes.  When the fava beans are cooked, let them cool a bit until you can handle them then slide the skin away from the inner seed.  Set aside the inner seeds.







51 comments:

  1. Loved reading your post and what a fun event for your son. Loved the photos. Your salad just sings - SPRING! I have never heard of Tropea onions but now I need to try one. Hope you have a wonderful upcoming weekend!

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    1. If you try the Tropea onions, you wouldn't want the other onions anymore. :-) They are so good! Thanks Lisa, have a good Memorial weekend to you and your family!

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  2. I love this post, for the freshness of the salad, and for your darling son! And no fair asking which is my favorite post, because all your posts are gorgeous! But if I had to pick one, my current fave is the one on Taho, because it continues to be a current craving. One that must be remedied soon!

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    1. You really have to whip up some taho to stop this craving. Thanks Liren!

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  3. What a fresh and beautiful salad, the colors are so inviting! I follow you on Facebook.

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  4. Looks like great school event! i can imagine your son looking for your eyes in the crowds! Beautiful photos as always!
    Love your salad, and giveaway is awesome!

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    1. He couldn't really see us from where he was seated but he had unmistakable searching eyes. I watched his expressions through the zoom of the camera. :-) Thanks Sandra!

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  5. Salad looks more than perfect, so fresh and simple. I love it. All the best for you and your little gentleman :)

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  6. I am a new follower to your blog. Actually, a friend sent me the link to your blog because she knows I enjoy blogs written by women who love to cook and share recipes and are living in Italy. Obviously you fit the bill! I like the simplicity of your recipes and the focus on specific tastes. I especially liked the easy aubergine bundles! I am especially eager to try the recipes with an Asian influence since my "daughter-in-love" is from the Philippines and we share recipes. Thanks for sharing the recipes and the musings about your life, your family and Italia! Come visit my blog when you have time!

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    1. It's so nice to meet you Patricia! I went to your blog to have a look but I think I need time to read your posts. However, I read the one about the bricks your mother kept of her old house. That was so sweet. Thank you for dropping by!

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  7. Salad looks wonderful. Interesting mix of ingredients. Thanks for the post! School event looks like fun and excitement...what a wonderful feeling...

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  8. I like Apron and Sneakers on FB
    psrrn@aol.com

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  9. I am a new follower and anything with peas works for me!!!!
    psrrn@aol.com

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  10. I have been to Tropea! My husband and I stopped there overnight on the way to Sicily from the Amalfi coast. Lovely time though I think we were the only Americans who where there at the time. The beaches are indeed beautiful and I won't forget the hilltop church where a young couple was waiting to be married when we visited.

    Congrats on your first giveaway, too, Rowena. So happy to have found your blog. I have been following you on Facebook since my first visit and very glad of it. :) I can't pick just one of your recipes--you make everything look wonderful!

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    1. I love seeing weddings in the old churches here. Everything seems so romantic and beautiful. It should have been beautiful to see them on a hilltop church. Thank you Jean for being always so supportive!

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  11. Love the pictures of the kids, it looks like such a great event! Your salad looks stunning as well. So colorful and full of fresh flavors!

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  12. So refreshing. Love the salad and colors :) I am still kindaa new follower of your blog. So getting to know you :)
    Have a good memorial weekend!

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  13. Beautiful salad that is so healthy. You must be very proud of your son and his dancing. Your giveaway looks lovely too. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne. Hope you had a good Memorial weekend!

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  14. Wow what an event that must have been to attend! It looks wonderful, but I would imagine intimidating as well. Hope your son enjoyed :)
    This salad is just gorgeous and so fresh! And very lovely giveaway indeed!
    As for the favorite recipe of yours...as if we could choose :)

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    1. My son did enjoy dancing, all the way until the afternoon. Thank you!

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  15. Hi Rowena!
    I am a follower of A and S and I 'LIKE'd your blog on FB. My fave recipe post of yours is the pandan crepes!...oh, and also the java rice! oh yeah! Thanks for the giveaway! Hope I win!

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    1. If you win, I wonder what wonderful stuff you are going to create with the ingredients. :-) Thanks!

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  16. Hi Weng! Your food is always like an art. Beautiful use of colors (are you a secret artist??) and always breathtaking pictures!

    I'm following your blog ever since I know you (is that mean old or new?)... not too old but not too new. Well you know my answer.

    What, favorite of your dish? I think it's impossible... 1) you make every single dish "MY FAVORITE" (not my fault that I can't pick). 2) you post so often that I keep adding my favorites...and I need like a chart with pictures and name on it! LOL. Let me just say the one I want to make - the eggplant dish that looks like a box. I LOVE that one. Hope that is okay answer. :-)

    The costume looks amazing... looks REAL! You must have been very proud. :-)

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    1. What great answers Nami! You really are a wonderful friend. Thank you very much for being so supportive from the time our paths crossed in the foodblogging world.

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  17. OMG, your blog is so absolutely awesome! I happened upon you because I was searching for recipes for Linguine al Nero di Seppia, and found your version of Mediterranean Black Linguine. I've now read every post and saved just about every recipe. Sometimes I just visit to drool over your amazing photography. Having visited Italy for the first time a year ago, I fell in love with the country and its food. I was fortunate to take a personal cooking class while staying in Tuscany, and ever since then, I feel more empowered to cook real, traditional Italian. I've never seen any blog or any cookbook that presents things as well as you do though... please continue to follow your passion! And keep posting the scenic pics too -- I love every love every one of them! With best wishes from a huge fan and new facebook follower.

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    1. Charles, you just lifted my spirits so much after reading your wonderful message. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for such appreciative words! I can't thank you enough!

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  18. I am absolutely loving the photos in this post - they are so clear and crisp, reminds me of summer!

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    1. It reminds of summer too and I can't wait too! Thanks for joining in the giveaway!

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  19. Current Follower of A & S
    Liked you of FB!

    Oh my one favorite recipe - all your recipes are so beautiful....I loved your smoothie series that you did a while back :)

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  20. I've just recently discovered your blog and facebook page and I adore your recipes. My favourite is the zuppa d'orzo, as you finally cleared up for me the definition of 'orzo' in Italian versus English cooking. I had been very confused standing in my Roman supermarket staring at a box of barley that all English recipes described as pasta! Thanks so much!

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    1. When I posted that and looked up orzo at the internet, I was surprised at the difference of how the term was used here and in the US. I'm glad you had that cleared. It can get confusing really.

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  21. I have been seeing some of your delicious looking recipes on tastespotting and am a fairly new follower. I love your photography and everything you make looks delectable.

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    1. Thank you for joining the giveaway C.J.!

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  22. I like the Salmon Crepe recipe the most (http://www.apronandsneakers.com/2012/01/salmon-crepes.html ) and I am a new FB follower!

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    1. Thank you for joining the giveaway Isheng!

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  23. it's difficult to point out one since they all look so smackingliciously beautiful. my favourite picture though is your banner pic of the bruschetta. it epitomises italian cooking. simple ingredients, great tastes, bright colours! red, green and white (sort of) too!! :)

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  24. I am new to being part of your facebook page, but I having been following you on pinterest and I love your website. I can't look at with our getting hungry. I don't think I could pick one favorite. I do plan on making the Barley Salad with Chickpeas, Fava Beans & Peas. I know my local market doesn't have fresh fava beans, but I hoping I can find them at Whole Foods. Keep up the wonderful work. ~Bunny

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    1. That's so nice Bunny! Thank you! I hope you find fresh fava beans before they go out of season. You can always use the canned ones but they're not the same as the fresh ones though.

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  25. think I may have failed when posting my original post so here it goes again oops!
    (I liked your fb page)
    Well I'd consider myself fairly new to your blog, I stumbled across it whilst looking for new food reading material it had everything I look for in a food blog. Gorgeous photographs, detailed recipes, a background story to the post and a sprinkling of Italian language lessons! My favorite recipe is actually the one that drew me in... the coconut pandan crepes. It was so colourful, delicate, fresh and executed perfectly.. it's making my mouth water just thinking of it!

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    1. That's really nice of you! Thank you for joining!

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  26. Thank you sweetie so much! I am beyond exited! Loving you giveaway!!!!Thanks again!!!!

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    1. Congratulations Sandra! Thanks for joining!

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