We spent Memorial Day weekend mostly around the homestead in a blur of outdoor band concerts, impromptu potluck dinners with neighbors and a float down the river. There was an attempt to make home made ice cream that failed spectacularly when I realized way too far into the process that our ice cream maker was no longer of this world. I tried googling how to make ice cream without a maker but I didn’t realize until a few hours later it was probably too far along to really salvage. We now have a big plastic tub of frozen creamy strawberry mix in the freezer that is quite lovely with warmed pound cake or lemon cake fresh out of the oven at a potluck.
It was not all fun and dessert fail though. On the cooking success side of things, I made a few variations of my go-to potluck salad that incorporates lentils, barley (or whatever other grain I have on hand), whatever greens are currently gangbusters in the garden (currently: arugula) as well as anything else in the fridge or pantry that seems like it might work. Having taken a bowl of this along to Dahlia & Aaron’s Sunday evening, I overheard Dahlia telling another guest I’d no doubt have the recipe up and blogged by Wednesday.
I had a sneaking suspicion I had blogged this recipe before – indeed I did, two years ago. It’s a warm weather staple – I make a big batch of it and eat it for days on end. In addition to being a fantastic pot luck contribution, it’s a great poolside lunch. I don’t tell anyone in my household it’s a vegan meal because then certain members definitely won’t eat it, which is how it goes. I like a little vegan now and again – I regularly sneak vegan meals in at dinner time because they tend to be easy on the wallet as well as the waistline, which is a combination I am totally on board with. I also find most of them to be fairly easy to whip up, always a plus in my book. Since I’ve had at least two different requests for this recipe in the last week (having somehow sunk into summer mode here in the last week despite the fact that the big yellow angel is still arriving, we are averaging a potluck every other day right now), I thought I’d share it again.
Becky’s Lentil & Barley Salad1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and drained2 cloves garlic, mincedsalt to tastePlace lentils and garlic in a saucepan, cover with water by 2″ and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, transfer to large bowl.1/2 cup barley (or other grain of your choice – farro is wonderful, as is bulgar)salt to tastePlace barley in a saucepan and cover with water by 2″ and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender and cooked through, about 20-40 minutes. Drain and add to lentils.(Both of these can also be cooked in broth for extra flavor.)Additions:(In any combination)Chopped celery, carrots,bell pepper, cucumbers.Toasted nuts, such as cashews, slivered almonds or walnuts.Chives or scallions, parsley, a bit of mint can be lovely as is basil, dill, oregano, rosemary
A little bit of fruit? Orange, grapefruit, grapes, pineapple or even some dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins or dried mango is nice.Season with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and toss. Serve immediately or let it sit for a few hours in the fridge. Also good with greens, either chopped and mixed in or served on a bed of them.