Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whole Grain Cooking

Cooking with whole grains has recently become more popular, like using brown rice instead of white rice and replacing whole wheat pasta in place of the semolina kind; and in my quest to cook more healthfully, I'm always looking for new ones to cook with, About a month ago I went to my health food store and found some whole grains I either can't find in my regular grocery store or are packaged in boxes that are way out of my price range. Paying $3 for a tiny box of couscous just doesn't fit into my budget.

One of the whole grains I found was wheatberries. I had never cooked with them before, and so I did a little research. Since I wasn't sure how my family would receive this new grain, I thought it would be a good thing to mix them with some brown rice, half and half.

I soaked about 1/2 cup of the wheatberries overnight in 1 1/2 cups of water. I did the same thing with the brown rice in a separate bowl. Soaking not only is more nutritous, it also makes it easier to digest and cuts the cooking time in half. The picture above shows what the wheatberries looked like after soaking. They really puffed up.
I melted some butter in a skillet, added some chopped onion, garlic, and mushrooms about 5 minutes. I added the wheatberries and some chicken broth, brought the liquid to a boil, and simmered for 20 minutes. I then added the brown rice and cooked until all the grains were softened, about 30 minutes. I added salt and pepper to taste. It was very good and I'll be making it again.

These cookies are another winner and the recipe calls for old-fashioned rolled or quick oats as well as whole wheat flour. I love that these cookies only call for 1 stick of butter instead of the traditional two. They are chewy, and oh, so good. The original recipe, which I got from Kitchen Parade, did not call for chocolate chips, but I thought, what can it hurt?
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon!) vanilla
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick, not instant)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix into the butter and egg mixture. Add the oatmeal, then the raisins and chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. (I baked them for only 8 minutes because I like them chewy). Remove from the oven and place on wax paper or cooling racks.
I'm participating in Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap.

1 comment:

Trica (Tree' - ka) said...

I'll definitely be trying this cookie recipe! I love oatmeal cookies. I've been modifying my buttermilk pancake recipe to use whole wheat flour and flaxseed. I love adding fiber to any recipe I can!