Whole Grain Mornings2/11/2014 11:09:00 PM
I am really excited to tell y'all about this new book I got: Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon. Sandra bought it for me a couple of weeks ago, because she is awesome and knows I am always on the lookout for nourishing breakfasts. This one had a lot of good reviews online, and she thought I would like it. Well, she was wrong - I LOVE IT!
|Whole Grain Mornings|
She actually bought a couple of other cookbooks for me at the same time - all focused on whole grains and other health conscious foods - but I've been so obsessed with Whole-Grain Mornings that those books have barely gotten a look yet. Oops. I haven't been this excited by a new cookbook since Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice, and before that, Nigella's Kitchen. And if you know me, you know that this means I rate this book very, very highly.
The main thing I like about Whole-Grain Mornings is Megan's laid back approach - although the book is focused on whole grains, it's not a "health" book as such, and ingredients like maple syrup, butter, full-fat milk, cream and bacon appear throughout. Refreshingly, she's not prescriptive or judgmental about the foods you "should" eat. She writes that she personally is not afraid of fat, but chooses to limit her intake of sugar because this works for her, and then notes: "we're all different. Thank goodness". Love this attitude! And, whilst she does note which grains and flours are gluten free, "in case that's a health concern for you", there's no crap about gluten being evil or generally "bloaty" or difficult to digest. Yay.
The book is also really well organised - Seasonal chapters, each divided into "Busy Weekdays", "Slow Sundays", "Brunch", and "Spreads and Toppings"; a "Basics" chapter; and a comprehensive introduction which includes a handy chart for cooking different grains. I don't know about you, but I really dislike haphazardly arranged cookbooks, and appreciate it when a book is set out thoughtfully.
Before getting this book, I had no idea who Megan Gordon was, but I now know that she is the founder of Seattle-based Marge Granola, which I believe is very popular over there, and writes a great blog called: A Sweet Spoonful!
In the two weeks I've owned the book, I've already made eleven recipes, with many more on my "to do" list. I wanted to blog it the whole time, but kept thinking: "Ooh - I've just got to make this recipe, or that recipe before I do so". And then I realised, if I kept doing that, I'd have made everything in the book before even blogging about it! So here we go.
From the The Basics chapter. I've already made this one a few times. It's just like porridge, but the difference is in the cooking technique. Firstly, Megan instructs you to toast the rolled oats in a little butter (ZOMG), then to pour them into just-boiled water and milk, turn off the heat and clamp on the lid. Seven minutes later you have a bowl of ready-to-eat oatmeal! I used to find it a pain cooking porridge before work, but this recipe fits perfectly into my morning routine - it takes just a couple of minutes to set it up, then I can get dressed and do my makeup while the oats are steeping.
I think it tastes fantastic too - the toasting really makes a difference. (And I think you could leave the butter out if you wanted to; you'd still get a nice flavour by toasting the oats in a dry pan). Because you don't "cook" the oats, they don't go all mushy and gloopy, but stay nice and firm.
|"The Very Best Oatmeal" with light muscovado sugar and butter|
I like them with a little brown sugar (coconut or light muscovado), sometimes a splash of cream or butter (decadent!), or fresh berries. I've also chucked a spoonful of currants in before the steeping, and that's a great way to add sweetness too.
|"The Very Best Oatmeal" with blueberries and raspberries|
This recipe is a tasty and nourishing mixture of cooked barley (I used freekeh), with sprouts, white cheese (I used goats), nuts and a sliced avocado, with a lemony yogurt sauce. (The sauce is a separate recipe, so I'm including it in my count of "eleven" recipes!)
|California Barley Bowl|
This one is a barely sweetened, cornmeal cake-slash-custard. I served it for a dessert one night, and leftovers made a fab breakfast. We don't have huckleberries here, so I substituted blueberries and raspberries. (Actually, the only other place I'd ever heard of huckleberries was on The Simpsons - I can't be the only one, can I?)
Nelson Muntz: [talking to a group of kids] The thing about huckleberries is, once you've had fresh, you'll never go back to canned.
[Skinner walks by]
Nelson Muntz: Uh, um... uh, so anyway, I kicked the guy's ass!
[Skinner nods and walks off]
Nelson Muntz: Now, if the berries are too tart, I just dust them with confectioner's sugar. (Source).
|Berries in the pie dish|
|With the cornmeal batter|
|and a splash of cream|
I think the cream is supposed to kinda sink and form another layer beneath the cake, but for some reason mine stayed in the same spot. Perhaps I used the wrong type of cream, but not to worry - it tasted great. Really tasty in slices with some Greek yogurt and maple syrup.
|Huckleberry cornmeal custard|
|Greens and grains scramble|
|Peanut Butter Crispy Brown Rice Bars|
|Toasting the steel-cut oats|
Steel-cut oats take quite a bit longer to cook than regular oats, about 25-30 minutes, so they're definitely a weekend breakfast. I was expecting this to taste quite healthy and virtuous, but it was actually a real treat! I added the optional spoonful of cream, which was lovely, but not a dealbreaker - this porridge would still taste good without it.
|Vanilla and Cream Steel-Cut Oats Porridge|
|Triple-Coconut Quinoa Porridge|
|Whole-grain Buttermilk Pancakes|
The accompaniments were blueberries, blackberries, maple syrup and icing sugar, as well as the honeyed ricotta.
|Whole-grain buttermilk pancakes with honeyed ricotta, blackberries, blueberries, maple syrup, icing sugar|
|Whole-grain buttermilk pancakes with honeyed ricotta, maple syrup, blueberries and blackberries|