"Whole grains are so very simple and bland they provide a blank canvas on which to create culinary wonders with taste, color, aroma & texture". (A quote from Joanne Saltzman the founder and director of the Natural School of Cookery)
Grains are wonderful. My goal for my family is to incorporate as much variety into our diets as possible. This includes grains. I like to keep recipes simple with a down home taste. I hope that through my sharing of easy to reproduce recipes I can share the great world of grains with others. It is part of a healthy lifestyle when our bodies get to experience processing a wide range of grains!
You can use whole grains in savory dinner salads, sweet dessert salads, casseroles or add them to your soups and stews.
Many times a recipe calls for a grain to be cooked before adding it to the dish. Here is a list of our favorite grains and various cooking methods you can use with each grain.
Millet: Millet is one of the oldest foods know to humans.
To Bake- Use 1 cup millet to 3 1/2 cup water and place in oven at 350 degrees for 45
To Steep- Place 1 cup of millet in sauce pan and add 3 cups of water. Bring the millet to
a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 25-30 minutes.
To Boil- Place 1 cup of millet in 8 cups of water and boil for 20 minutes.
After cooking millet I like to spread the grain out on a cookie sheet to cool.
Quinoa: Quinoa was to the Incas as buffalo were to American Indians!
To Bake- Rinse with warm water to remove the saponin (bitter outer coating). Use 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of water and place in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
To Steep- Rinse with warm water to remove the saponin (bitter outer coating). Place 1 cup of quinoa in 1 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 15-20
minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
To Boil- Place 1 cup of quinoa in 8 cups of boiling water. Boil for 7 minutes.
After cooking quinoa I like to lay out on a cookie sheet to cool.
Brown Rice: Brown rice still has the germ and bran layers (white rice has these removed).
Bake- Use 1 cup of brown rice to 2 1/3 cups of water and place in oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
Steep- Place 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
Boil- Not recommended.
Kamut: Kamut is a relative of wheat. Apparently kamut was abandoned 2,000 years ago after Romans & Greeks brought higher-yielding strands of wheat to Egypt, just recently (the last 50 years) kamut has been making a comeback.
Bake- Use 1 cup kamut to 3 cups of water and place in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Steep- Place 1 cup of kamut in 2 1/2 - 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 45 -60 minutes.
Boil- Not recommended.
Pearl Barley: I would recommend steeping pearl barley. Place 1 cup of barley with 3 cups of water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook about 45 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
Hulled Barley: Start with soaking hulled barley for 2-3 hours. Then place 1 cup of hulled barley with 4 cups water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let cook for 1 hour or until all water is absorbed.
Spelt Berries: Start with soaking spelt in 2 1/2 cups of water for 2-3 hours (or overnight). Then place 1 cup of spelt with 2 1/2 cups of water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let cook for about 45 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
Oats: My favorite way of cooking oats starts with using extra thick rolled oats. Place 2 cups of water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn off burner and add the oats. Stir and then let sit for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. This makes a wonderful oatmeal or to add to breads!
Note: To increase the flavor of a grain you can dry roast the grain first before cooking it. To dry roast a grain you place the uncooked grain in a frying pan on medium high heat and toast for a few minutes. This helps bring out the flavor of the grain.