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It’s a Summer Salad!

Five minutes is all you need for this dish.  The only ingredient needing advance prep is the spelt berries.  I often cook up a pot-full when I’m reading the Sunday paper to use during the week, or to freeze in two-cup portions for future use.  So invite neighbors for dinner.  Don’t worry about slaving over a hot stove.  Added bonus?  This dish uses up prolific summer squash or zucchini.  Recipe look familiar? It’s because I ran a variation on this theme about five years ago!  We made this recipe in our cooking class, “Light and lively grains for summer!”, and it was a hit.  It will be in your house too.

Yes, there will be more cooking classes coming.  We’ll probably start in September, but stay tuned.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side; fun dish to put out for a potluck or cookout

2 C  cooked spelt berries* 1 tsp dry or 1 tbsp fresh dill
2 C diced or sliced young zucchini ¼ tsp allspice
1 C minced red onion or sliced scallions ¼ tsp garlic powder  or 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 jar marinated Marin artichoke hearts(use marinade from jar too) ¼ tsp dried oregano
1 C crumbled organic feta or blue cheese ¼ tsp dried tarragon
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice ¼ C extra virgin olive oil, opt.
1 tsp fennel seeds or 1 cup diced fresh fennel 1 tsp kelp powder, opt.

Combine everything in a large bowl, and toss with a rubber spatula to mix.  I find using the marinade from the artichoke hearts is a fine dressing, but have to admit, I do use extra olive oil because I like olive oil (yes, I have used pumpkinseed oil, hemp oil, and flax seed oil too).  Like many recipes, this one lends itself to almost endless variations or additions.  Add wax beans, sliced mushrooms, pitted Kalamata olives, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, or left over chicken. 

Spelt berries make this nice and chewy, but you can replace spelt with barley, wheat or rye berries.  Alternatively, you can open a couple of cans of chickpeas and use those instead of the grain.

* How to cook spelt berries?  Put one cup berries together with 3 cups water in a large pot that has a tight-fitting lid.  Bring water and berries to a boil uncovered.  Turn down heat to lowest, cover pot and move slightly off burner.  Simmer for about an hour.  If there’s any water left (there shouldn’t be), simply drain.  Voila.   Feel free to multiply the amount of berries and water if you want to have leftovers.

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