Friday, November 11, 2011

The Complete Whole Grains Cookbooks

It doesn't seem that long ago that I would run in terror at the mere mention of whole grains... and truth be told, I still can't imagine my mother's Creamed Salmon on Toast served with anything other than grocery store white sliced bread... but that's all about childhood memories.

Now, it's much easier to find delicious whole grain products and dishes.  Where it was once hard to find ONE version of brown rice, now there are shelves and shelves with a wide variety of rices and grains like Quinoa, barley, buck wheat, millet... the list is endless.   In fact, rather than running from them, I seek them out gladly.

The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook is perfect for those who already love whole grains and especially useful for those of us who want to try to eat with healthier options. If fact, there's a wonderful whole grains primer with charts, and photos and lots of excellent tips on how to cook them, their nutritional value, which cook quickly and which take a while,  their disease fighting abilities and more.  There's a detailed description of all of them from Amaranth (a new one to me, so I thought I'd share the description...)
"The name... comes from the Greek word meaning unfading.  It is a bushy plant related to spinach and the leaves are used in various cuisines around the world. For instance, in Asia they are steamed or added to stir fries and in the Caribbean they add depth  to the regional stew, callaloo.  The seeds are used as a grain....
...Like quinoa, amaranth gros in adverse conditions and is heat and drought resistant..."
...to wild rice and every letter in between.

The quote above is much more detailed, but you get the idea.  In addition to discovering the interesting heritage of each grain, there's a culinary profile ("amaranth is a bit of an acquired taste because it has a strong earthy flavor..."), nutritional profile, how to buy, store and cook the grain and how to store once it's cooked.    If you're new to some grain or other, it's a perfect place to start.

If you're more knowledgeable,  head straight to the recipes.  They're delicious.   I thought I'd share last night's dinner...

Saffron Scented Shrimps served over Chile Rice It was a lick the bowl clean dinner!

I have so many recipes earmarked, I hardly know where to begin.  There are Breads & Breakfasts (I'm definitely going to make the Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins made with whole wheat & barley flour).  Followed by a section on Soups ( Thai Inspired Peanut & Wild Rice Soup or stick to your ribs Fragrant Beef & Barley  Soup with Chinese Mushrooms).  The book runs through the traditional gamut... salads, poultry, fish & seafood, beef, pork & lamb, meatless mains - that are truly substantial enough for even those carnivores at the table.

And if that doesn't get you to try the book, how about the desserts.  I made some Oatmeal Shortbread Squares that my husband said were addictive... so good, in fact, I never got to take a picture.  Guess I'll have to whip up another batch.

Bottom line:  if you're looking to add more healthful recipes to your repertoire, this is definitely the book for you.  It will sit on my counter rather than be hidden on a shelf and I'll be using it often.

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