I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Grilled mushroom, broccoli and spelt salad

I can't take all the credit for this yummy salad. The original recipe, on which this is based, is from the side of a box of spelt from Trader Joe's, and was so good that my mother had to send the box to me in London. And yes, the original is mighty tasty, but I can't leave a recipe alone so this is my slightly simplified, but still amazing, version of the dish.

Note: the original calls for portobello mushrooms. One of the great marketing coups of our time, portobello mushrooms are nothing but giant -- and far more expensive -- versions of brown button or (crimini) mushroom. The portobello is the little mushroom's fully grown older brother who lives at home and siphons money off his parents. Ahem. If there is a culinary reason to use a portobello, like stuffing or grilling, or using it in a portobello "burger", then by all means buy them instead. If, however, the recipe calls for them to be cut up at all, then there is no reason not to use the smaller and less expensive button.

1 C. spelt
3 C. chicken or vegetable stock
5 T. olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 fat spring onions (or 4 skinny), thinly sliced
1/4 C. dried cherries, chopped
1/2 C. toasted cashews, chopped
2 C. sliced brown mushrooms
2 C. broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/2 C. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Place the spelt and stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower temperature and let simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until spelt is soft but still chewy and liquid is absorbed. Stir towards the end to prevent the spelt from sticking or burning.

Meanwhile, mix oil, balsamic, garlic, spring onions, cherries, and cashews. Saute the mushrooms until they begin to turn golden and then add to the dressing. Cook the broccoli in the same pan just to soften a bit, if desired.

Add spelt to dressing and vegetables, add parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

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