Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not a spontaneous person. I do not live by the seat of my pants, but by schedule. I like routines. I like making plans. “Spontaneous” for me is sleeping until 9 A.M. on a Saturday and splurging on a bagel instead of my usual Kashi cereal. In fact, my brother and I were joking the other day about what kind of cereal we would be. We said he’d be Coco Puffs and I would be Bran, because I’m always regular (hehe). So that’s me. A big bowl o’ reliable Bran.
My need for a routine and structure translates into my eating habits as well. I always eat three square meals a day, and of course a snack and dessert (or two). I really do not understand people who just “forget” to eat a meal, or somehow manage to stave off hunger all day simply by eating a banana or yogurt. Not only do I get irritable like a 5 year old if I’ve gone too long without eating, but what I eat is all I think about. All. Day. Long. Thinking about food (and of course eating it too) is what makes my world go round. A life without breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert(s) is simply a life not worth living.
People always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And while I agree that nothing beats a big bowl of cereal with cold milk, I do think lunch gets shafted. Lunch is sadly an afterthought for many people in the busy working world. Scrapped for time, some people will just grab a so-so sandwich or soggy salad at the corner deli. But for me, planning my lunches every week is like a secret drug. Picking the recipe, making the shopping list – it’s a Type A’s dream. As soon as I get to work every morning I start counting down the hours until it is acceptable to eat lunch. If I didn’t have a delicious lunch to look forward to, what would be the point of getting up every day?
Here I bring you my lunch for the week: wheat berry salad with figs, golden raisins, celery and red onion. Stirring the pot of wheat berries this weekend, all I could think to myself was “I cannot wait for lunch on Monday”. I know I sound crazy – a compulsive planner with the mentality of a morbidly obese person – but you should trust me on this one. This salad is good. And totally worth a little compulsive planning.
Wheat Berry Salad adapted from The Kitchn
makes 6-8 servings
1 1/2 cups wheat berries
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tbs honey
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
1 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. Cover the wheat berries with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and partially cover the pot. Cook 45 minutes, until the wheat berries are tender and chewy.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the rice vinegar, orange juice and honey together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the raisins and figs. Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep in the liquid.
3. When the wheat berries are ready, drain and add to a large bowl with the celery and red onion. Toss with olive oil and lemon zest. Add the vinegar and juice mixture, with all the fruit and mix. Stir in almonds, parsley and salt. Season with pepper as desired. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.