May 19, 2011
The Other Whole Grains
Whole grains are an important part of a balanced diet, but it seems like lately there are a lot of unusual grains on the market. Don't be afraid of them, though. These grains pack a lot of healthy benefits.
Amaranth: These tiny kernels, usually pale yellow, are porridge-like when simmered, making amaranth useful as a food thickener. You can bake or steam amaranth as well, and it is available as cereal and flour. Many people add a strongly flavored liquid to this grain when cooking it -- broth and tomato juice are good choices. It is good when mixed with other grains and when mixed with vegetables as a stir-fry. You also can use it as a breading.
Barley: Most of the barley in the United States is used in beer production. Barley is chewier than rice, and the flakes are served as a hot cereal. It generally is simmered or used as an ingredient in casseroles or soups. Barley and fruit make a pleasing breakfast dish. Substitute barley for rice or pasta in almost any dish.
Buckwheat: Buckwheat is used as an alternative to rice as a side dish or ingredient. It pairs well with beef, root vegetables, cabbage, winter squash, and eggplant. Buckwheat grits are finely ground groats, served as a hot cereal. Buckwheat flour is available in most markets and is commonly used in pancake preparation.
Bulgur: Steamed, dried, and cracked-wheat berries, bulgur cooks like brown rice. Substitute it for rice in all dishes. Use the finely ground variety to prepare a hot breakfast cereal.
Quinoa: Quinoa grains are flat, pointed ovals. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, including pale yellow, red, and black. When cooked, the external germ spirals out, creating a "tail." Rinse prior to cooking. Brown in a skillet for for minutes prior to simmering or baking. It is good when served as a pilaf, in a baked casserole, in vegetable soup, or as a cold salad, and is especially good when combined with buckwheat. dd quinoa to puddings.
Rye: Rye is a bluish-gray grain, similar in appearance to wheat, except for the color. Rye flakes are similar to rolled oats. Whole rye berries, groats, and kernels resemble wheat berries. Cracked rye is the quickest-cooking variety. Simmer rye berries with milder-tasting grains, such as brown rice or wheat berries. Combine cracked rye with cracked wheat. Combine rye flakes with oatmeal. Rye berries are good when cooked in broth with chopped nuts and raisins.
Posted by Lisa at May 19, 2011 12:56 PM
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