The rain is gone, the sun is out, and spring is here in all of its blooming glory. I’ve taken my laptop outside to work on some editing, but it’s time to take a break and think about dinner.
Kevin is off to a dinner meeting this evening, so my thoughts are leaning towards a whole grain salad that I can savor tonight, as well as some lunches for the days ahead. I’ll post the outcome tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I’d share the whole grains cooking guide I developed for my new book, 5 Simple Steps to Healthy Cooking.
Ancient grains make a perfect side dish, any time, any season. Convenient, inexpensive and incredibly delicious, they are rich in carbohydrates, the body’s main fuel supply, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Add dried or fresh herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, cheeses or vegetables — the possibilities are almost endless.
But don’t think of ancient grains as merely side-dish fare. As it gets warmer, they are perfect for making hearty salads with little effort and lots of flavor (just pair with your favorite dressing, toss in herbs, vegetables, you name it).
They are terrific for main dishes, too, as a satisfying foundation for meatless main dishes or to stretch a small amount of meat, fish or poultry. And when it comes to breakfast, options abound. Prepare any of the grains the night before, let cool, cover and refrigerate, then warm the next morning for an oh-so-satisfying breakfast in minutes. Top with the milk of your choice, yogurt, fresh fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy!
1. Combine grains and water in a medium saucepan. If desired, add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fine sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for the specified cooking time.
2. Remove the lid and test the grains for tenderness. If more cooking is needed, recover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup (60 mL) water if all the liquid has been absorbed.
3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
* Buckwheat groats: Prepare as directed, but bring water to a boil before adding the groats. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for the specified cooking time.
* Bulgur: Bulgur can also be soaked, rather than cooked, for use in salads and other preparations. Place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with an equal amount of boiling water. Let stand for about 30 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff bulgur with a fork.
* Farro: Prepare as directed, but drain the excess water when farro is tender. Use immediately (no need to let stand).
Here’s kitty, trying to get in on the outdoor photo shoot!