It’s just a couple of days before the official start of summer, but the weather is already screaming mid-August. It’s 85°F with humidity you can cut with a knife. We’re under a severe thunderstorm watch and a flash flood watch until midnight.

Oh, joy.

The rain and the thunder, I don’t mind. It’s the damned heat. It saps what little energy I have left in my advancing age and places me indoors in the air conditioning. Even Blanche is feeling it. She’ll lay outside in her favorite dirt hole in the shade for a bit and then it’s indoors and laying in front of the air conditioning vent on the cold tile kitchen floor. Nonna, in the meantime, is sitting in her room with the air vents closed under an electric throw turned to high.

Hot weather may sap my energy but it sure doesn’t sap my appetite. I’m the original feed a cold, feed a fever person who gets sick and gains weight. There are not a lot of things that affect my appetite, although extreme heat or cold may affect what it is I want – like ice cream, whether it’s blazing hot or blizzarding.

Today, the weather dictated salad – and beans and wheat berries came to mind.

Wheat berries are one of those really overlooked delicacies. I love the flavor and the chew of them after cooking – served hot as a side or cold in a salad. They add great texture to dishes – plus protein and fiber.

And I love beans, as well – more protein and fiber. Mix ’em all together and it’s a nutrient-dense dish.

Today’s salad is typical of my throw-together dishes. It’s made from the stuff that was in the house at the time I made it. I didn’t go out and buy anything specific for it and the next time I make it, items will probably change to reflect that day’s offerings.

Bean and Wheat Berry Salad

  • 1 cup wheat berries, cooked and cooled
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 small jar roasted red peppers, chopped
  • assorted fresh herbs (today, I used basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, ad mint)
  • S&P, to taste

Mix everything together and serve in a nice bowl.

If you’re lucky enough to have one handmade by Kel Darling, by all means use it!! Handmade bowls, plates and pottery with a story, and just fun, unique pieces make food taste better.


Most of what I cook is basic stuff that anyone can do. It only looks great because it’s on fun plates and platters. We eat with our eyes and something colorful in a fun serving bowl is just going to taste better than the same item in a disposable aluminum pan.

As I learned from my very first job at the donut shop years (and years) ago, it’s all about presentation.