There are a few reasons to be grateful today. Actually, there are dozens and dozens. Here are
1. The Miracle Chicken, who survived being pecked for all intents and purposes pretty much right to death, as I told you, and then dodged The Hand Of Chicken Death that claimed her bunkmates and three other chickens in one dreadful week of random and distressing poultry management misery that I kept secret from you, and was presumed Taken From Above yesterday by the circling hawks, has materialized yet again. Though unnaccounted for at roll call last night, there she was this morning all “where’s my breakfast?” She continues, at least for today, not to be dead. This is a specialty of hers, thus far.
2. When I said, honestly but also, in truth, kind of reflexively, “Thanks so much,” to the young man with special needs who does the bagging at the grocery store this morning, he said, very thoughtfully, “You are welcome so much.” I became, instantly, way more thankful than I had been a moment earlier, and a little more alert to the nice ways we can connect to other humans as we go about the day.
3. At least 10 of you are battling Ryan Gosling with me. There is still time to leave your name to win a jar of jam and save us all from my searches to see what other food groups have been rendered into effigies.
4. The corn and the tomatoes are rolling in, so it is time to make my go-to summer potluck salad. I don’t make it every single day in August like I used to, because barley of course had to go and have gluten, and sometimes I make it with quinoa, which is also really fine, but nothing beats it with barley. Nubby and chewy and satisfying. Or so I recall. It is a snap to make and loves parties. (If you don’t feel up to cooking the corn, or have more nectarines than tomatoes, make Alana’s salad.).
corn, barley & tomato salad
1 c raw pearled barley
4-6 ears of corn, shucked
about 2 large tomatoes, any color
a large handful of fresh basil, chopped
1/2 c olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt, to taste
Cook the barley in lightly salted water until tender, about 30 minutes, and drain. Cool (you can rinse it to make this happen faster).
Cook the corn, cool, and slice from the cob. (This is also a fine use for leftover cooked corn, if that ever happens to you). Slicing slowly is the key to not filling your kitchen with corn asteroids. It usually takes me a cob or two to remember this.
Chop the tomatoes into a chunky dice.
Combine the corn, barley, tomatoes and basil in a large bowl. Season with the oil, vinegar, salt & pepper; taste and adjust as you like it. Err on the side of a little extra salt and vinegar, as the flavors mellow out as it stands.