It has been a while since I wanted to tell you something more about Nashville, and about my daily lunch. This week Photo Challenge A Day in My Life finally gave the opportunity!
There’s few things I cannot renounce to in a normal day: black, hot, unsweet coffee in the morning while reading one of my favorite cooking magazines after having dropped the kids at school, a walk in Nashville, a stop at the Farmers’ Market and a colorful, healthy, fresh salad for lunch.
As you already know, I’m obsessed with food. I cook every single day of my life. Even a simple salad needs to be appealing to my eyes. I wake up in the morning already thinking about lunch and dinner. I know, it’s insane! I’m always looking for new recipes to try, for a new way to mix food and flavors, and for new spots to discover and enjoy.
I moved to Nashville in August and I’m still in the ‘discovery’ stage, in which I just walk errand here and there admiring the blue sky looking at me between the skyscrapers, searching for new cafés, looking for tiny treasures the Music City can offer. And believe me … they are a lot!!!
My lunches are very ‘ordinary’ in their peculiarity. I usually eat a Salad or a Soup – yes, a Salad or a Soup with a capital ‘s’. I eat lunch alone and the dish I have in front of me needs to act as a friend I’m enjoying my meal with: it has to be happy, colorful, and comforting! A dish has these characteristics only if it is fresh. Believe me, preparing a special Salad takes 10 minutes of your time, but when you are eating it you immediately understand the difference between a healthy and a junk food. Very simple ingredients such as fresh vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt and lemon, mixed together work magic.
Open your fridge, take what you need and feel free to create a rainbow with the colors of the vegetables. Following, one of the ideas to make a great meal.
Wheat Barley Salad
2 cups cooked barley (cooked in boiled water for at least 45 minutes)
1 carrot – tiny sliced (as all the vegetables)
1/4 cup celery
2 French onions
1/2 red bell pepper
2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 ½ cups of barley grains, cook for about 45 minutes and drain. Quinoa, Bulgur or Berry Wheat work as well. I usually prepare more than two cups of cooked grain and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days.
Wash the vegetables and slice them.
In a bowl, combine the grains with the sliced vegetables. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and set aside.
Prepare the dressing shaking together in a small jar salt, pepper, oil, lemon and a clove of garlic crushed. Add the dressing to the salad and toss well.
Last but not least, in Nashville – and anywhere else! – lunch is not lunch without good music … Chose your favorite CD and enjoy your meal while relaxing with some notes.