Thursday, March 12, 2009

Market to Table - March 12, 2009

Most of this week's local meals have consisted of menu repeats from the last few weeks: cabbage soup, cabbage stir-fry, those yummy strawberries, and the last few oranges of the season. 

Instead of rehashing all the oldies (albeit goodies), let's talk about what's new this week...

Pecans - At our local natural food store, I found a bag of local pecans (I love pecans). I don't often eat nuts mostly because of impulse control, but they are so good and so wonderfully good for you. I've been (mindfully) enjoying a handful each morning for breakfast along with a bowl of those beautiful strawberries we got picked at Kings Orchard last week. Local tastes SO good!

Wheat Berries - Now, here's what's REALLY exciting and a completely new experience for me. A couple weeks ago, I was invited to a luncheon to talk to a half dozen people about eating locally. One of the things we discussed was the fact that I'd not yet found a local wheat producer so I was eating mostly local rice and potatoes. The next thing I know, I have an email from the grandson of a local wheat producer and 2 pounds of wheat berries to try. Networking is everything!

Before I delivered the wheat berries to one of the vendors at our market (who just happens to have a grain mill), I extracted a cup of wheat berries to see what cool and interesting things I could do with them. Boiling them like rice seems to be the most popular.

I placed 1 cup of wheat berries in a saucepan with 3-1/2 cups of water, brought it to a boil, reduced the heat, covered the pot, and allow it to simmer for 60 minutes. Once cooked, I drained them (saving the extra liquid - there has to be nutrients in there that I can use later, right?), and nibbled away. The texture is similar to brown rice, but with a completely different flavor that I just love. Mmmm, wheat berries! Who knew?

So wheat berries are fabulous all by themselves, or you can jazz them up with some of your favorite veggies. Pictured here is 1 cup (cooked) wheat berries, mixed in with sauteed onion, carrot, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, and mushroom. Let me tell you, there's not a better all-local meal around! 

Next step? Getting that flour back from the mill to see just how good fresh whole wheat flour makes my homemade bread. Stay tuned, 'cause local wheat could change everything! Ok. Maybe not everything, but it's pretty darn cool!

That's all for this week's "Market to Table" post. Have a great Thursday, everyone. And as always, Happy (and mindful) eating!


JAM said...

I have a friend who sprouts the wheat berries and eats them that way - I need to get some to try. Sometimes I eat cooked wheat berries for breakfast in place of oatmeal.

MeadowLark said...

Did you chew it until it became "wheat gum"? I bet you the farmer's son knows that... 'cause all us wheat ranch kids know that. :)

Beany said...

I know you can use rice broth (from white rice) to starch clothes, but I wonder what you can use wheat berry broth for.

Wheat gum? I wonder what that tastes like.

In an amazing co-incidence, I met someone who works for the company I'd love to work for someday via my riding group. While I love my job I was still thrilled to meet him. Networking isn't a drag when it arises from causes we're passionate about...

Heather @ SGF said...

JAM - I read about that too. I have trouble eating oatmeal (unless it's raw). I might just try the wheat berries for breakfast. They're very tasty!

MeadowLark - Ok, you're gonna have to help me here What's the scoop :)

Beany - I've never heard of using rice broth to starch clothes. How cool. The wheat berry broth I just used to make rice later in the week. Worked well.

MeadowLark said...

Get a handful of "Hard red winter". Put it in your mouth and start chewing. DO NOT SWALLOW... not only don't swallow the mass, but don't swallow your saliva, as it carries the gluten. We all know that "worked" gluten becomes strand-like. Well if you keep chewing and keep chewing (sort of like chewing your cud) and not swallowing, eventually you will have gum!!! And you'll be able to chew it and be proud of yourself like you're a total wheat ranch kid.

I wrote about it some time ago and saw some other blogs that mentioned it:

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Wahoo for the local wheat berries. I love the chewy texture they get when they are cooked up perfectly. I second the sprouts idea JAM had above as well.

You can make both savory and sweet "salads" or "pilafs" out of them too. I like using orange juice/water to cook the berries and toss them with apples, pears, dried cranberries, perhaps some of those local pecans, and maybe a sprinkle of sugar or another dash of orange juice. Mmmmm.

Heather @ SGF said...

Meadowlark - Hmm. Does it taste good?

Jennifer - GREAT ideas! I have been thinking of making a cold salad with them. Stay tuned... :)

MeadowLark said...

Well, you don't actually make wheat gum for the taste. I mean, it's no better/worse than juicy fruit that's lost it's flavor.

It's more for the bragging rights. :)

Heather @ SGF said...

Meadowlark - Sounds like fun :)