Designer grains

Rice is, like, so yesterday.

Quinoa, barley, farro, buckwheat, bulgur…these are the new queen bees of the grain world.  I’ve been seeing them on food and health blogs and cooking shows for a while now.  Their praises are sung (protein!  fiber!) and those doing the singing insist that they taste wonderful (nutty! earthy!) in spite of their….well, graininess.

I admit, I’ve been skeptical.  But also rather curious.  While you won’t find me adding spinach to a smoothie* or eating oatmeal out of an empty peanut butter jar, this is one blog trend I might be able to get behind.

So when I spotted farro at the Greenmarket a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a bag.  At three bucks, I figured it was worth a shot!  And as I prepared to make Farro Risotto for dinner tonight, I made damn sure there was a frozen pizza on the freezer, just in case.

The result?  Pretty tasty, actually.  It was definitely a far cry from the creamy gooeyness of risotto made with arborio rice and lots of cheese, but for a healthy facsimile it was quite good.  The bold flavors compensated for the slight chewiness of the farro.

So…I’m undecided as to whether to hop on this designer grain bandwagon.  But I’m happy enough with tonight’s dinner to give farro a semi-regular slot in the weekly dinner lineup.

Today’s EAT: Farro Risotto, a recipe mostly made up by me.  I found a few recipes out there, but they all seemed like they would be kinda bland.  I wanted my dish to burst with flavor, so I concocted a version with lots of garlic and onions, shiitake mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Want the recipe?  I wrote it up here: Farro Risotto with Chicken, Mushrooms and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

The hubs even liked it!  Way to go, farro.

Today’s DRINK: I knew I’d be pouring some white wine in my risotto, so I picked up a cheapo bottle today:

And I am actually shocked at how tasty it is!  This Spiral Wines 2009 Chardonnay was $3.99 at Trader Joe’s.  And it’s perfectly decent for sipping as well as cooking!  Definitely will buy this again!

Today’s RUN: Easy 7 miles along the Hudson River path (1:02).  Today’s weather was pretty disgusting for just about everything – except running!  It was gray and chilly and just barely drizzling.  I love running in weather like this.  Must be the PNW native in me?

Today’s QUESTION: Have you cooked with designer grains?  Do you have a favorite recipe? I’ll admit that I prefer designer jeans to designer grains, but I’m willing to experiment with grains a little more!

*Really, I am sure they taste as great as everyone says they do.  I just don’t really like smoothies.  Unless they are daiquiri-flavored and contain copious amounts of rum.

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9 responses to “Designer grains

  1. “Designer Grains” – I love that! I love farro and barley! Quinoa and I are still not in agreement! Thanks for the link back!

  2. Heh – you say designer, I say earthy crunchy hippie mom grains. It’s all the same, I guess. I like ’em all, but I refuse to cook wild rice. Takes too damn long.

    I also had a fantastic run in the drizzle yesterday. You’re right – it is great running weather.

  3. I have yet to try a spinach smoothie, too. Reasons are twofold: a) I don’t like smoothies that much either and 2) Getting out the blender and cleaning it is wayyyy to much work then it seems to be worth. I slaved over a blender for tips in college and got my fill of it.

  4. dude, i hear you re: bloggie food trends. i think they’re ridiculous, actually. i like my oats in a bowl, thanks. i can add nut butter to the oats in the bowl. revolutionary idea, huh?

    anywho, i love me some forbidden rice since i’m such a daredevil, eating forbidden foods and whatnot. it’s basically black rice. my ‘rents (read: crunchy hippie mama and dad) have been ordering from lotus foods for awhile. they package some tasty grains: http://www.lotusfoods.com

  5. I admire you for not jumping on all the weird blog trend trains! And I have not branched out to “designer grains” yet but I suppose I will soon. They intimidate me because I just envision them being munched on by cows and other farm animals. I guess I need to bite the bullet already! 🙂

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