(especially Mornin’ which samples the lovely Staples Singers)
In true summertime fashion I have been spending every possible minute outdoors. Walking home from the bus. Parades. Drinking on the patio. Taking the long way to the grocery store. Sucking up that sunshine like it’s going out of style.
I spent a particularly delightful evening seeing Mavis Staples at Zoo Tunes over the weekend. She is such a treasure, all warm and funny, covering the Talking Heads and Lauryn Hill like the hip thing she is.
An outdoor concert is truly the ultimate picnic and demands something sturdy, portable, and open to eating at varied temperature. Enter: a grain salad. They are hearty enough to be filling; versatile enough to play around with all summer. The combination of corn, basil, and tomato feels super summery. There are a million variations you could try. Go Greek with dill/feta/black olives/cucumber, swing Californian with raw spinach/almonds/avocado, or even dip Moroccan with chickpeas/pistachios/apricots/cumin/coriander. Cook the barley, saute or chop your mix-ins, season to taste, and enjoy outside!
Barley and Corn Summer Salad
8 oz uncooked barley
Small tomato, chopped
Half a large red onion, diced
16 oz can corn, drained
Handful chopped basil, minced
Boil the barley following package directions. Place chopped tomatoes in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
While the barley is boiling, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat before adding the onions. Cook until soften then add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed through. Turn off the heat and stir in half the basil. Add corn mixture to bowl with chopped tomatoes.
When barley is cooking, drain and return to the now empty cooking pot. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir seasoned barley into bowl and fold in remaining basil. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.