Wheatberry Salad with Sundried Tomatoes and Sunflower Seeds

Now that Corbin has graduated grade 12 and is heading off to university in the fall, he has three glorious summer months stretching ahead of him to work, relax, chill with friends and hone his cooking skills by being responsible for preparing one family dinner each week. Even though he'll be living in residence in September and will have access to a meal plan, with likely regular visits home for the odd home-cooked meal, knowing how to pull together a few basic dishes is an essential survival skill in my books (and will make him an even better hubby and dad in future). So, every once in a while over the coming weeks, he'll be my guest post for the day and can present some of his new finds. Last summer, when we tried the same experiment, he discovered some great recipes, although he also found that "quick and delicious", as promised by Fine Cooking, could in fact involve four hours in the kitchen for him. So much for truth in advertising... but I imagine it also had something to do with a so-called "learning curve."

This week, he prepared delicious mushroom and pancetta pizza, and, with the exception of some pesky dough deciding to get stuck to the parchment paper underneath, it was a definite success. He followed it up with baked alaska, an ambitious undertaking for any newbie, but Q said the combo of home-cooked brownie, coffee ice cream and meringue was completely yummy, although Corbin was (understandably) disappointed that it didn't look quite the same as in the photo accompanying the recipe. Welcome to the club. In fact, I would wager that every cook has experienced the same visual disappointment at some point, but as his dad pointed out, who could find fault with three sources of pure sugar, in totally different forms and consistencies, rolling around in your mouth and tasting amazing. Skip the aesthetics and embrace the taste!

As an accompaniment to the pizza, I had prepared a wheatberry salad as a nice cold contrast to his warm zzzza, and I simply adapted it to include some of the ingredients I had on hand in the fridge.

serves 6

adapted from Ina Garten's original recipe

1 cup wheatberries

1 cup finely diced onion

6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

Place the wheatberries in 3 cups of salted boiled water and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 45 minutes or until they are soft. Drain.

Saute the onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil over low heat until translucent. Turn off the heat and add the remaining oil and balsamic vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine the wheatberries, onions, sundried tomatoes and sunflower seeds. Allow to sit for 30 minutes for the wheatberries to absorb the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve cold or at room temperature.

Rest of the week

May 31 Grilled quesadillas with turkey, tomato, avocado and cheese

June 1 Pulled pork with coleslaw

June 2 Corbin's homemade pizza and wheatberry salad with baked alaska