Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gargantuan Grain Junket, Part Un: That's Groats!

We have recently come into a gargantuan amount of grains.  Odd grains that people don't talk about much at the grocery store.  These grains are like the mysterious art kids in the cafeteria who sat under the block of florescent lights that flickered and dimmed slightly.  These grains are indie, pretentious, cool, and a little rough around the edges.  I have no clue how to cook these grains.  Side note:  I'm not even sure they're all 'grains.'

I invite you to join me on my Gargantuan Grain Junket.  Together we'll discover the nutritional benefits of eating indie grains and the ins and outs of making them digestible. 

As this week's title suggests, we're going groats, buckwheat groats to be exact.  Some folks call it kasha, which rhymes with sasha and makes me think of Borat.  Groats sounds like gross, which is basically a synonym for Borat but with less graphic associations.  So we'll go with groats.  As a result, there will be no photograph of this dish (because it's groats).  I don't want to give you the wrong idea, this is dang good food; it's just not...pretty.  Since there won't be a picture of the finished project, here's a stock image of buckwheat groats so you know what we're working with.

They have the shape of chocolate chips!  These puppies are souped up with magnesium and omega-6 fatty acids.  As with most grains & indie grains (aka pseudo-grains) there are a variety of ways to cook them.  I decided to ease my way in to this journey and cooked them much like I would quinoa.  I rinsed them first because they came from the bulk section and I picked out any weird looking ones.  Then it's just 2:1 water to groat.  When cooked, they got really clumpy and delicious; it kind of reminded me of chunky (not soupy) oatmeal, although each individual groat did retain its shape.

Sounds cooler when you put the two words together to make one word, almost like a city in Russia.

1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed & picked over
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 package herbed (or plain) tofu, extra firm
1 10 oz package frozen broccoli florets
Basil Pesto (see below)

In a medium saucepan boil water.  Add groats and return to boiling.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 - 20 min or until all water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cube the tofu and press away excess moisture.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Working in batches so as to avoid over crowding, pan fry the cubed tofu until golden brown, flipping as necessary.

Boil/steam/microwave/thaw the broccoli.  Chop into bite size pieces.

Combine groats, tofu, and broccoli.  Top with 1 - 2 tbsp basil pesto per serving.

Pesto Change-O!  You can use the skeleton of this recipe for Cilantro Pesto and make a few substitutions for this meal:  Sub basil for cilantro, Parmesan cheese is optional (or you can sub in sun-dried maters).  Omit mustard seed, orange zest.  Red pepper flakes are optional.

There ya have it folks.  Pestogroats.  A hearty, nutrient-dense, indie treat.  I would love to hear your experiences with groats, including any word associations that come to mind.  Also, check out this recipe for Crunchy Buckwheat Groats.

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