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Wheat Berry Experiment

Posted Jun 11 2009 8:11pm
Not to toot my own horn (but this is my blog, and frankly, what better place do I have to toot it?), but I pride myself of being somewhat of a genius in the kitchen. I believe this is one of the many reasons Joe and I gravitated to each other; he is the salt to my pepper - the heart to my artichoke - the peanut butter to my jelly. While experimenting in the kitchen the other night (and yes, I mean cooking ), we concocted a delicious recipe using our new favorite whole grain: the wheat berry.

What is a wheat berry? Well, if wheat were corn (and guess what? They're both grasses, so they kind of are the same), a wheat berry would equate to a corn kernel. Technically, a wheat berry is the unprocessed kernel consisting of the endosperm, germ, and bran. What does this mean? Pure, unadulterated whole grain - literally. No cracking and crushing the poor kernels until they are pathetically pulverized and devoid of their God-given nutritional value. This gives the wheat berry a delightfully chewy texture and full-bodied nutty taste. Because the wheat berry is unprocessed, it is as nutritionally packed as Michael Phelps on race day - full of fiber, folic acid, protein, and vitamins B and E.

So go for a walk on the wild side and give this recipe a whirl (remember, this was an experiment, so the amounts of ingredients were eye-balled - feel free to tweak as you see fit):

2 cups cooked wheat berries (look up online how to cook them - Joe did this part!)
1 12 oz. package of tuna or 12 oz. cooked lean chicken breast, shredded
3 or 4 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, wilted down in a saute pan
1 handful dried cranberries
1/2 - 3/4 handful sunflower seeds
1 handful walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Soup-spoon of Vegenaise (mayo made from grapeseed oil)
A splash or two of red wine vinaigrette
Dash of salt (I just wanted to say "dash")
Pinch of pepper ("Pinch" is fun to say too!)
Shake or two of red pepper flakes (for some heat - don't add it if you can't take it)

Mix everything in a large bowl and eat it as is or stuff into a whole wheat pita pocket. You can also serve it with whole wheat crackers! Tasty and healthy!
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