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Barley, pea, and chickpea curry with raw walnuts and seared cabbage

The seasons are changing. Spring is scampering in on little rabbit’s feet. Soon the snakes will be stealing eggs again. The apple trees are blooming. The chickens are laying. The birds are singing. It’s time to repent for the sins of winter comfort foods — breads, pot pies, dumplings, and even sweets — and get the carbs down.

For now, at least, I’m going spicy. Walnuts and barley and legumes — or so I’m resolved — need to dominate for a while. Eggs are abundant. So there ought to be omelets. There ought to be eggs for breakfast — but no biscuits! A couple of days ago I had deviled eggs for breakfast, with sliced avocado. That worked.

I figure that my winter sins compel me to lose four or five pounds as penance. I’m hoping that I can do that by forsaking comfort carbs for a while.

For curries, I’ve learned to keep not only curry powder and other curry spices in the kitchen, but also pastes such as Thai red curry paste and harissa paste, which is an African pepper paste. I mix them up until I get the color I want. Spices know no national boundaries. Curries also are perfect for using your coconut oil.

And remember, anything rice can do, barley can do better. It’s amazing that such a satisfying food has such a low glycemic index — 25 or 28. Even risotto is no carb crime if you use barley. I’m not even all that fond of rice. Pearled barley — especially when mixed with good spices, healthy fats, and a legume such as chickpeas — is as meaty as hamburger. The Roman gladiators, after all, were called “barley eaters.” Plus, I suspect that rice is all too often an ecological crime. It can be efficiently grown only where there is naturally lots of water, and California is not that place.

No more carb crimes here until I’ve done my spring penance.

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