Recently, Freekehlicious offered to send me some Freekeh from to try, which was very exciting, as I had heard of the grain before and had wanted to experiment with it for awhile.
So, what is freekeh, you ask? Well, freekeh is a grain that I think looks a little like spelt. “Young roasted green wheat is harvested while still young and green, then parched, roasted and dried. The process captures and retains the grains at the state of peak taste and nutrition.” And besides that, it’s just a really tasty whole grain and a healthier replacement for rice (or even pasta).
The cooking time is about what you would expect — 20-30 minutes. For the sake of experiment, I tried soaking it for 8 hours, while I was as work, before cooking and was able to then cook it in about 10 minutes (this was the cracked freekeh, but I’m sure that would work with the whole grain freekeh as well).
When looking for inspiration for freekeh, I turned to one of the cookbooks that I usually look to first when I need some ideas on what to do with . . . → Read More: Freekeh with Green Onion Sauce, Toasted Walnuts, Asparagus and Tuna + a Giveaway
This is a hearty bowl of soup. Spelt replaces the pasta for a healthy, toothsome addition. Sometimes referred to as spelt berries, they aren’t berries at all, but rather Spelt is an ancient whole grain related to modern day wheat. It’s high in magnesium, fiber, phosphorus and vitamin B3 and provides a pleasingly chewey texturehsome chew. Use it in salads, soups, and baked good. It can also be ground and used as flour. In fact, my new bread obsession is the Spelt Bread from Dave’s Killer Bread.
This is also the bowl of soup you want whether you are house-bound right now in the snowy Midwest, DC or even watching the rain fall in the gray winter of Portland. So comforting and filling. You probably even have a lot of the items you need to make it right now. Just go get some spelt. It’s okay, I’ll wait.
Note: for a summer version, replace butternut squash with zucchini and the kale with trimmed green beans and/or baby spinach and add in the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
. . . → Read More: A Soup for Cold Weather: Winter Spelt Minestrone
I have been having a lot of fun lately experimenting with out-of-the-ordinary and interesting grains. Teff is no exception. It is a tiny, gluten free, whole grain that is native to Ethiopia and very nutritious. Traditionally, it’s ground into a flour and used for Injera, an Ethiopian flatbread, but the grains can also be cooked whole and then used in soups and stews.
In this recipe, instead of using traditional corn for polenta, I used teff cooked in and flavored with broth, dried herbs, butter and Parmesan cheese. It transforms into a more healthful, slightly-nutty tasting polenta.
To top it off, I’ve used one of my new favorite winter vegetables — chard with a lot of onion and garlic. So good! Especially with a little aged Balsamic vinegar and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese for the top.
You can buy Teff at Bob’s Red Mill but if you don’t have any, you could always make this recipe with regular corn polenta.
Note: Because the polenta needs to set up in the fridge, an easy way to approach this dish is to cook the teff the night before you want to serve it. Simply spread it . . . → Read More: Meatless Monday: Teff “Polenta” with Sautéed Chard
I really enjoy finding a new ingredient that I’ve never cooked with before and discovering something fun to do with it. That’s exactly what happened with me and oat groats. To be honest, when I first got the bag I wasn’t even sure what an oat groat was — oat kernel with its hull removed. But one thing I’ve learned about oat groats? They can be delicious!
I came across a recipe for savory oat groats and used that as a starting place and ended up with a creamy, kale-filled, risotto-like dish topped with herbed, garlicky shrimp. Oat groats can also of course be cooked for breakfast as a more traditional porridge. But, as I tend to do, I opted for the savory, cheesy option and now, oat grouts have turned into one of my favorite grains.
Win a Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway $50 Gift Card: Would you like to find your own new favorite grain? Bob’s Red Mill is a great place to discover new whole grains and they’ve given me a gift card to give away on my blog! Leave . . . → Read More: Savory Oat Groats with Kale, Feta and Shrimp, plus a Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!
If there is one thing that I enjoy (besides eating cheese), it’s experimenting with new grains. Amaranth is a relatively new-to-me grain, although the Aztecs ate a lot of it way back in the pre-Columbian days. It’s a small, round grain that is very “earthy” (ie: has a dirt-taste, much like beets, imho). Now, if you like that sort of thing, that’s awesome, but even if you don’t you can still enjoy amaranth — cooked into these tasty cakes, for instance.
The creamy goat cheese and mushroom sauce go well with the earthy taste of the amaranth and the spinach gives it a fresh appeal.
I came across the recipe back in May and fiddled with it a bit (adding more garlic, adding thyme, spinach and goat cheese) and I think it came out quite well. It’s from a meal we had way back in June but I actually think the recipe works better in the fall. In fact, I’m going to make another batch very soon. I may even try adding a little pureed pumpkin into the amaranth cakes. Just because…Fall. Yay!
Amaranth Cakes with Mushrooms, Spinach & Creamy . . . → Read More: Amaranth Cakes with Mushrooms, Spinach & Creamy Goat Cheese