wheat berries, tomato, arugula & ricotta

frumento-arugula-tomato-ricotta-recipe

Farro is a whole grain that’s become a usual suspect in my every day cooking. I really like its creamy, barley-like texture and that it cooks in about 20 minutes. I make a risotto with farro along with cannellini beans. My kids usually clean their plates when I make it, so I’m guessing they like it a little.

But the other day I couldn’t find any farro in my kitchen and pulled out a bag of grains that my sister-in-law Liza brought me from a Portland farmer’s market. They came from Ayer’s Creek Farm , a small family farm in Oregon.

The bag was labeled “Frumento – Soft Red Wheat”. I couldn’t find much info after I Googled “frumento” other than it’s Italian for wheat or grain. I decided to treat the grains like wheat berries instead of the imported Italian semi-pearled (semi-pearled makes for quicker cooking) farro that I usually have, which meant I soaked them in a bowl on the counter for a few hours.

frumento-italian-wheat-berries ricotta-charred-tomatoes-recipe

I’d planned to roast a few supermarket vine-ripened tomatoes I had on the counter, my go-to method for tuning up their somewhat bland, out-of-season taste, but I forgot to turn on the oven. So I put the whole tomatoes over the gas flame for a few minutes until their skins were black and blistered.

I liked the combo of smoky tomatoes and the full flavor of the cooked frumento; definitely springier to the teeth than farro, but in a good way.

wheat-berries-ricotta-tomatoes-arugula-recipe

I’m glad I had  Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck on hand while researching and cooking this post. Maria is an expert on whole grains and I love her Mediterranean-influenced palate.

Lia at Nourish Network also has great info and a recipe for wheat berries – and lots of other healthy foods – on her site.

wheat berries with charred tomato, arugula & ricotta

Add some cooked beans like cannellini or chickpeas to the wheat berries for extra protein and nutrition.

Ingredients

  1. 1 ½ cups soft wheat berries
  2. Salt
  3. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  4. 1 teaspoon prepared harissa or red chili flakes
  5. ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  6. Extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 2 or 3 small vine-ripened tomatoes or ¾ cup canned fire-roasted tomatoes
  8. 2 big handfuls baby arugula
  9. ½ cup fresh whole milk ricotta

Instructions

  1. Soak the wheat berries in enough water to cover, either overnight or before you go out for the day.
  2. Bring 3 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a saucepan; add the drained wheat berries. Simmer for about an hour, or until the wheat berries are plump and al dente when you test one. If they seem too hard, cook up to an additional 15-30 minutes, keeping in mind that when fully cooked they will retain a small bit of “chew”.
  3. Drain all but a small amount of water (1 or 2 tablespoons) from the wheat berries; put them back in the pan and stir in the garlic, smoked paprika if using, harissa or chili and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. If using fresh tomatoes, char them directly over a gas flame on your stovetop or under a hot broiler, turning them until their skins are blackened and blistered. Chop into rough pieces and add them (or the canned tomatoes) to the wheat berries.
  5. Transfer the wheat berries to a serving bowl and toss with the arugula; taste and season with salt if needed. Dollop with spoonfuls of ricotta and drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/01/wheat-berries-tomato-arugula-ricotta/

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Goat Cheese

Not-too-spicy vegetarian chili

Not-too-spicy vegetarian chili

We usually have at least one vegetarian sharing Thanksgiving with us, so I like to have a an interesting meatless main dish on the table along with some traditional side dishes – that way no one feels like they’re missing anything.
And personally, while I like trying a new turkey preparation every year – whether it’s brining, stuffing or not stuffing, oven-roasting or grilling, my enthusiasm for the bird wanes when it lands on the table. I’d much rather fill up on the colorful array of vegetables instead.
Plus, everyone knows that all Thanksgiving fixings taste better the next day, so having a pot of chili on hand is a good thing, vegetarian or not. There’s nothing wrong with some tasty chili in bowl, with a gravy-drenched turkey leg on top.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Goat Cheese

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 medium red onion, sliced
  3. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  4. 3 crushed garlic cloves
  5. 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika
  6. 1/2 teaspoon each ground black pepper and ground chipotle
  7. 4 cups peeled and diced sweet potato (about 2 large)
  8. Vegetable stock or water
  9. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  10. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  11. 1 (14-ounce) can black beans
  12. 1 (14-0unce) can pinto beans
  13. 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  14. Warm tortillas

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large (6-quart) pan or stockpot. Add the onion and cook until softened and just beginning to brown; stir in the salt and garlic and cook about 1 minute or until the garlic smells good.
  2. Sprinkle in the spices and ground black and chipotle pepper, stirring to dissolve in the oil. Add the sweet potatoes and pour over enough stock or water just to cover them. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat until tender (not mushy), about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard, maple syrup and beans (including their liquid) to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered another 10 minutes or so to blend the flavors. If you like your chili more soupy, add more stock.
  4. Serve in bowls topped with some cheese with warm tortillas alongside.
http://familystylefood.com/2009/11/sweet-potato-black-bean-chili-with-goat-cheese/

Black-Eyed Pea and Soybean Salad with Lime and Avocado

It’s hard to stop eating this simple salad


I saw a recipe recently – the first-place winner in the Vegetarian Times Reader Recipe contest – that inspired me to make this salad for lunch yesterday. It was delicious! This is a recipe to satisfy any number of your vegan, high-fiber, low-carb, low-fat desires. My only problem is that I wanted to eat the whole bowl myself.

Black-Eyed Pea and Soybean Salad with Lime and Avocado
adapted from Greens (aka Vegetarian Times) magazine October 2007

makes 6 servings
1 (14-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can soybeans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
1 serrano chile pepper, finely chopped (You could use a jalapeno, but I love serranos because they have a dependable heat level, unlike jalapenos which are sometimes very bland)
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a large bowl, layer the peas, beans, bell pepper, avocado, tomato, cilantro, shallot, chile pepper and garlic.

2. Whisk together the lime juice, oil, vinegar, teriyaki, sugar, salt and cayenne in a small bowl.
Pour dressing over the bean mixture and toss gently to avoid smashing the avocado.

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