Last year my New Year's resolution was to eat more whole grains. While I might have purchased more whole grains, I'm not sure I really ate more with the exception of brown rice. Once I learned that brown rice, which takes forever to cook, could be frozen after it was cooked I made double batches and that made it easier to incorporate into my diet.
This year I am going to do much better. How can I be so sure? Because I have the latest book from Lorna Sass, Whole Grains Every Day Every Way. This book is a perfect whole grain primer where you can learn about grains like amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and more. Did you know that amaranth was available whole, in flakes, puffed and in flour? I didn't.
In addition to photos of the recipes there are also photos of the grains themselves which is helpful for those times when you forget to label a jar and find yourself with "mystery grain". Recipes are divided into stand-alone soups and salads, main courses, side dishes, breakfasts, desserts and baked goods.
Surprisingly for a book on whole grains, many of the recipes are not vegetarian. Very few of the recipes sound like something you would find in a crunchy health food cookbook that emphasizes health over taste. The seasonings and ingredients are readily available, with the exception of some of the grains themselves. Fortunately mail-order sources are listed in the back of the book. I have a feeling most of the grains would be available at health food stores in the Bay Area.
Farro Soup with Kale and Cannellini
serves 6 - 8
1 cup farro, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in ample water to cover
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 bunch kale (about 14 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Set farro in a large bowl or spouted glass measuring cup and add ample cold water to cover. Set aside while you cook the beans.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large. heavy pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, carrot and celery. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onion is lightly browned, a few more minutes.
Drain the cannellini beans and add them to the pot. Add 8 cups of water. Bring hte liquid to a boil , then cover the pot and simmer until the beans are almost tender, 40 - 60 minutes (depending on age and storage conditions).
Drain the farro. Add the farro, tomatoes, and salt. Return the pot to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the kale: Discard a few inches of the tough root ends. Thinly slice the stems and coarsely chop the leaves. RInse well by dunking it in a large bowl or sink full of water. Drain well.
When the farro has simmered for 10 minutes, stir in the kale gradually, adding more as each batch wilts. Cover and continue cooking until the beans, farro, and kale are tender, usually 10 to 20 minutes more., Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the basil, cheese, and slat and pepper to taste.
From the book: WHOLE GRAINS EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY
by Lorna Sass © 2006 by Lorna Sass. Published in November by Clarkson
Potter/Publishers, a member of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.