Life is busy, at least it's busy when it's good. I'm not gonna lie or pretend that I cook for each and every meal of the day, each and every day. Sure, it sounds nice and all. I wouldn't complain if I could do that, but there are other things I like to do besides cooking, like, well, eating for one thing. And for me, food is more than just something to eat. It's also actually getting a break from just how busy life can be, and then to help me continue to be just as busy as I want to be. There's definitely much more than that, don't get me wrong, but a dish with a few healthful and energizing ingredients, that even tastes good for lunch the next day, definitely gets my attention. Sometimes a little extra time in the kitchen one day, can really pay off the next. Something a ridiculously tasty? Bonus. Somehow, this combination of barley cooked with dry marsala and red wine somehow tastes like this incredibly meaty dish, and the closest thing is a few tablespoons of butter, and some chicken stock, easily replaceable by olive oil and vegetable stock. Although, also feel free to add more or less butter, as you see fit of course. I do tend to accidentally veer on the high side for a main course. So spend a little time one day, and reap the benefits of something delicious worth loving. Barley Risotto 2 cups pot barley 2 onions, thinly sliced 3-5 tbsp butter 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into triangular pieces 1/2 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced 1/2 cup dry (fine) marsala 1/3 cup red wine 6 cups chicken broth kosher salt 1. Pre-heat a deep sided sauté with 2 tbsp of butter. When it begins to foam, add the onions, and continue to sauté for 10-15 minutes. Season. Add the dry marsala, thyme, and rosemary, and continue to cook on very low heat for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. 2. In an 8-inch non-stick skillet, on high heat, heat a tablespoon of butter until it begins to foam. Add the mushrooms. Do not stir until the mushrooms have a golden caramel on one side. Then stir, and wait again. Continue to cook until the mushrooms are browned, and then season with salt to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, and set aside. 3. Add a little more butter to the pan, just to finely coat the bottom, but not too much of either, and increase the heat to medium high. Add the zucchini, just for a minute or two to receive a golden hue, but do not allow the zucchini to become tender. 4. Add the stock to a small stock pot and begin to simmer. Keep a ladle handy. 5. Rinse the barley in a fine mesh strainer with cold water. Add another tablespoon of butter to the sauté pan. Add the barley to the sauté pan. Increase the heat to medium high. Continue to cook and stir the barley for at least a minute. Add the red wine, and stir vigorously. 6. Continue to cook the barley by adding a ladle of stock to the pan, and stirring without being too obsessive. Lower the heat, as the amount of liquid increases, as the barley might begin to cook unevenly. 7. When the stock is nearly depleted, taste the tenderness of the barley. If necessary, a little more liquid can be heated in the stock pot, and added to the barley. When the barley has only a little bite left to it, add the zucchini, mushrooms, stirring to combine. Taste, and season with salt as you prefer. Serve, and enjoy!