Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Contribution to the Whole Foods Buy-cott

In the spirit of the Whole Foods Buycott, here is a recipe of mine that probably will require that you shop at Whole Foods. In my town, as far as I know, that is the only place you can get one of the ingredients. I have been making it since I was a poor student back in the hippy era.

Brown rice is good for you. Unfortunately, as it cooks, many of the grains tend to explode, turning it into a starchy glop. Also, considering that it is a whole grain, it has disappointingly little flavor. Vegans are used to it, but people who are used to fine food find it hard to get down. My secret is to cook it with wheat "berries" (ie., whole grains -- I don't know why they call them that, it just sounds stupid to me). They hold their shape and add both flavor and texture. Nowadays you can get it as a boxed mix in your grocery store, but I find it doesn't work well as a mix because the wheat takes longer to cook properly than the rice does.

Good-Enough-to-Eat Brown Rice


1 1/2 cups Whole Foods basmati brown rice.
1/2 cup Whole Foods hard red wheat berries.
One medium onion, minced.
Three garlic cloves, minced.
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
Salt and pepper to taste.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil.
2 1/3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable are good).


Simmer wheat in about 2/3 cup of water or broth for 10 minutes (I do it in the microwave while doing the other preparations.) In a 2 quart pan, saute the onions in the butter/oil until translucent. Add garlic and saute briefly. Add all the other ingredients, including wheat with its water/broth. Cover tightly and simmer for 50 minutes.

Note that by making the obvious ingredient choices this dish can easily be made vegan.

Though it is palatable, this dish is bland enough to serve under something with more flavor and protein, such as curried cecci or lentils. If served as a side dish, I recommend stirring in some toasted pecans after cooking (toast raw pecans in a skillet).

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