Friday, May 27, 2011

Wheat Berry Salad and The Dinner Bell

My mother always rang a dinner bell to call the 6 children and Dad to the table. The bell would ring "da-ding, da-ding" , then Mom would follow it up with an operatic: "diiiinnnnnerrrrrrrr".  That bell brings back more family memories for me than any other sound or smell. The nightly ritual of coming to the table at 6 P.M. was a comforting constant in our lives.

She has told me several times that she no longer has use of the bell and that I should take it down if I would like to have it. She doesn't seem to have any sentiment attached to it???
Gee....why wouldn't anyone be sentimental about cooking for 8 everyday........hmmmmm....I wonder???
The last few visits I couldn't bear to unscrew it from the wall at 6 Highland Drive - it just belonged there and I thought removing it would be depressing.
But during my last visit, she said it again..." take it, I am not calling anyone to dinner anymore."  I realized that I only have a few more years to use that dinner bell before my own little chickadees start to fly away from the nest. So, I took a screwdriver from Dad's very organized tool bench and unscrewed it off of the wall.
Mike and I secured it to our wall. It really looks like it has been there forever....

Da-ding, Da-ding!
I am glad to have it.....and the memories!

Last night I put together a salad meal with one of my favourite grains: Wheat Berries.
What is a wheat berry? All wheat products originate from wheat berries. They are wheat kernels with only the inedible hull removed. Very nutritious and so delicious!

They have a chewy, chewy texture and a bit of a nutty, earthy flavor...they work in a dessert -  similar to a rice pudding or even as a breakfast cereal when milk, raisins and cinnamon get involved.

This recipe is adapted from a very entertaining book about family and dinnertime....aptly called: The Family Dinner, by Laurie David.
The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time

Wheat Berry Salad

2 cups wheat berries, rinsed
6 cups water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 2 oranges
1 cup or more frozen edamame beans, defrosted
1 cup or more dried cranberries
freshly ground salt, pepper

I used a rice cooker to cook my wheat berries which takes about 55 minutes to get them to the right consistency. All of the water will not be absorbed - drain them.
If you use a pot on the stove, cook uncovered for about 50 minutes. Check after about 45 minutes to see if they are ready. Chewy and tender is the consistency you are looking to achieve.

Mix the dressing of oil and juices and add to the cooked grain.
Add the cranberries, edamame beans and any other add-ins such as: crumbled feta, chopped fresh herbs, chopped greens, walnuts.
Store covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

Looks nice served on a bed of lettuce....
Comme ca:

Bella is very helpful in the garden...she wants to plant a hamburger tree.

Can we plant a hamburger bush Mom?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cheater Stir Fry

I had intended to post about a more impressive meal than this.
It was baked haddock with fiddleheads, carrots and rice - and it was nice....
but then, after the delicious meal that I wanted to share with you, after a few hours of digesting that delectable meal.....I came down with the stomach flu. 
So, I am sorry, but I can't even think about that meal, let alone look at photographs, reminisce and write about it.

And then, you know what is like, for the next couple of days, cooking is just not something you want to do... the sights and smells of food are just too much for your sensitive system...

Mike and the boys took over the chicken dinner on Sunday, but by Monday I felt I should pull it together and get a good meal on the table. Luckily, there was leftover chicken and brown rice.
Perfect..... a stir fry!
I thought to myself, 'Do I really want to chop alllll of those veggies???"the answer was 'no', so here is:
Cheater Stir Fry.....and they all loved it!

I bought a big bag of frozen 'Stir Fry Vegetables' -all I had to chop was an onion, some garlic and the chicken.

The best part of this post is the stir fry sauce which is adapted from Mollie Katzen's book: Get Cooking. 

Make the sauce first:

Orange Ginger Sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (I keep mine in the freezer and grate as needed)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cornstarch

Combine all of the sauce ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. and whisk until blended.
Put the cornstarch into a small bowl and drizzle a little of the sauce over it. Whisk this together, then add it back to the measuring cup of sauce. This sauce is so tasty - and it can be made ahead and kept for days in the fridge.

Heat a wok over medium heat and add a glug of olive oil.

Add the chopped onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add a few cloves of crushed garlic.

Throw in 6 or 7 cups of the frozen stir fry veggie mix (I have to say, it is not as good as chopping the fresh veggies and putting them into the wok according to how long they cook....but anyway...)

Stir fry for about 8 - 10 minutes, add the chopped chicken and after whisking the sauce again - throw that in too.

The sauce will thicken up nicely. Stir fry for another 2 minutes or so.

Serve over rice.