Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
Basic Recipe for Whole Grains
There are many ways to cook whole grains. The simplest way is to cook them as you would cook pasta--in a large quantity of water. Using this foolproof technique, the grains cook quickly and you never have a scorched pot. (This technique does not work well for buckwheat or millet.)
If serving the grains as a side-dish, to replace potatoes or pasta, dress them up by tossing with a little olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, some chopped fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 3 to 4 cups cooked grains
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, farro, kamut, wheat, spelt, or rye berries
In a large pot, combine water and grains. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook at a gentle boil until grains are tender--they will always remain slightly chewy-- usually 25 to 45 minutes (but only about 11 minutes for quinoa). To be sure a grain is thoroughly cooked, slice it in half: if there is still an opaque white dot of uncooked starch in the center, it requires further cooking.
Drain thoroughly. (You may save the cooking liquid for your next soup.) If not serving hot, spread out on a large platter to cool.
NOTE: You can double this recipe and freeze extra cooked grains for future use. Stir frozen grains directly into hot soup or stew. Alternatively set them in a bowl, cover lightly with a paper towel, and defrost in the microwave.
Copyright, Lorna Sass, 2007
Lorna Sass is the author of WHOLE GRAINS EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY, which won a 2007 James Beard Foundation Award in the "healthy focus" category. Her website is www.lornasass.com. Sass is also the author of Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker.