My goodness it's been hot here the last few days. Really hot, the kind of heat that I take personally. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for this as far as I'm concerned and it makes me lethargic and grumpy. And strangely hungry. Because the fact is, there are only so many cool drinks and smoothies I can consume before I realize that I really haven't eaten much of anything at all.
I'm always on the lookout for a good, substantial salad that can be made ahead and kept cool in the refrigerator. No one in my family will touch potato salads and pasta salads seem to get old fast. But leafing through my new copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian I came across a salad that looked substantial and and cooling with its dressing of lemon juice and fresh dill tossed with cooked barley, scallions, and chunks of cucumber.
We ate this the other night on the patio along with freshly baked challah, homemade mozzarella, marinated carrots, lemony-garlic chickpeas, and fresh fruit. The barley salad was crunchy and toothsome and the yogurt and cucumbers somehow seemed to cool down the sweltering air.
This would make a lovely traveling dish, whether for a brown bag lunch, a potluck, or a picnic. The recipe is here. Let me know what you think.