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Whole Grains Cooking Guide

Posted Mar 22 2012 2:14pm

Therain is gone, the sun is out, and spring is here in all of its blooming glory. I’vetaken my laptop outside to work on some editing, but it’s time to take a breakand think about dinner. 

Kevin is off to adinner meeting this evening, so my thoughts are leaning towards a whole grainsalad that I can savor tonight, as well as some lunches for the days ahead. I’llpost the outcome tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I’d share the wholegrains cooking guide I developed for my new book, 5 Simple Steps to HealthyCooking.

Wholegrains make a perfect side dish, any time, any season. Convenient, inexpensiveand incredibly delicious, they are rich in carbohydrates, the body’s main fuelsupply, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Adddried or fresh herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, cheeses or vegetables — thepossibilities are almost endless.

But don’t think of whole grains asmerely 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 satisfyingfoundation for meatless main dishes or to stretch a small amount of meat, fish orpoultry. And when it comes to breakfast, options abound. Prepare any of thegrains the night before, let cool, cover and refrigerate, then warm the nextmorning for an oh-so-satisfying breakfast in minutes. Top with the milk of yourchoice, yogurt, fresh fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy!

1.         Combine grains and water in a mediumsaucepan. If desired, add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fine sea salt. Cover and bring to aboil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for the specified cooking time.
2.         Remove the lid and test the grains fortenderness. 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.

*          Buckwheatgroats: Prepare as directed, but bring water to a boil before adding thegroats. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for the specified cookingtime.
*          Bulgur:Bulgur can also be soaked, rather than cooked, for use in salads and otherpreparations. Place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with an equal amount of boilingwater. Let stand for about 30 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff bulgurwith a fork.
*          Farro:Prepare as directed, but drain the excess water when farro is tender. Useimmediately (no need to let stand).

Here's kitty, trying to get in on the outdoor photo shoot!

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