You may have noticed a running theme on this blog lately, and that theme is avoiding turning on the stove. My little kitchen is surrounded by non-air conditioned rooms in a charming Craftsman bungalow that was built when the Rockies stayed cool in the summer. It is decidedly more charming come September. Right now we regularly have 95+ degree days, and our little evaporative cooler can't always keep up. So, I often prepare several things ahead in the early morning or late evening, when it's cooler, and then combine and re-combine those ingredients throughout the week. Those things include steamed vegetables I harvest from the garden or get at the farmer's market, pasta shapes, beans prepared in the pressure cooker, and various grains. (If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I always have some cooked beans and grains in the freezer for times like this.) And of course, the farro obsession developed after that beautiful, life-saving salad at the train station in Milan a couple summers ago.
Mediterranean Farro Salad, with or without pasta
1 cup cooked farro
2 cups cooked pasta shape (penne, farfalle…)--optional
1 lb. green beans, trimmed steamed
1 large ripe tomato, cored and chopped
1 6-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts in their liquid
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice from ½ lemon
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Dump everything into a bowl, including the marinating liquid from the artichoke hearts. Stir it. Eat it hot, cold, or at room temperature. If you include pasta, this should serve 4 (photo below); without, treat it as a salad that serves 1-2 (photo above).