Here we are in June, which means summer has officially commenced. Now is the time to live with more ease. Less planning and strategizing and more time to chill. Our bodies mirror nature, our hearts open just as florals bloom when at their peak potential. Summer flings exist for precisely this reason.
One of the many perks of buying your food from the local farmers market is that food grown locally is exactly what your body calls for. In the colder months plants grow into the soil to warm us up. But now, in the warmer months, leafy greens and plants grow and expand towards the sun to cool us down.
Last weekend I went to the Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City. I love to go in the early morning hours before the crowds. I prefer to shop intuitively and get what I am drawn to visually and work from there. After all we eat with our eyes first. Buy the fruits and vegetables you are most excited about eating. If you feel contempt about kale but eat it anyway solely for the health benefits but despise the flavor and texture of the roughage, your digestive system will not assimilate the same as the vegetable that brings you joy.
The radishes and asparagus were looking particularly radiant so I brought them home to make a grain bowl. A dish that can be cooked as simple or complex as you wish. Also, as rustic or elegant with the plating as you like. Though no recipe is necessary, I use a personal framework that allows for a virtually foolproof grain bowl:
1. Choose a Grain
It’s nice to have a variety on hand. Quinoa, wild rice, farro, barley, and forbidden rice are some of my favorites. I used wheat berries for this bowl. They take an hour to cook, but if they are soaked overnight it will reduce the cooking time.
I pick a minimum of two that are complementary in color. When the produce is good quality and at optimum ripeness in the summer they can be used raw, grilled or lightly sautéed. The asparagus here is sautéed with a little olive oil with salt and pepper. The radishes I left raw and very thinly sliced.
A little crunch is always nice. Fried shallots, sliced almonds, spiced pecans, sunflower seeds. I used raw chopped walnuts here.
I like to put an egg on it, lightly fried with a runny yolk but you can use anything that speaks to you such as grilled chicken or tofu. Make it personal.
My go-to is pesto and lemon vinaigrette, which is what I used here with fresh dill.
I used feta but any crumbled cheese is nice and also harder cheese such as parmesan or asiago shaved over top.
Assembling your ingredients in your favorite vessel is essential. I prefer a shallow wide bowl for something like this to best utilize all of the dressing and provide plenty of space for plating. This is your grain bowl. Mixed it all together with the dressing or drizzle perfectly atop the entire dish and consume in a more sophisticated manner eating each ingredient solo with a glass of rose. You do you.