Wheatberry Salad with Mint, Roast Asparagus, and Blood Oranges

There’s this sudden fascination with grains lately. Such curiosity started last year when amaranth greens were included in a weekly farm share. A quick online search yielded information about amaranth grains. It’s commonly found in the bulk section of organic or natural food stores. Since then, I’ve discovered other types of grains.

Thanks to globalization, plenty of grains have been introduced to our market recently, such as amaranth, barley, quinoa, kamut, kasha, rye berries, and so forth. A few weeks ago, Melissa Danielle, a foodie friend, requested a recipe using wheatberries. Quite honestly, the name of the grain is easily recognized, but its visual appearance is daunting. Situations like this casually remind us how disconnected we are from food and it’s actual source. It’s commonly flattened into flakes for breakfast cereals or granola, similar to corn and oat flakes. It’s also baked in bread for additional flavor and nutrients, hence the name “Whole-Grain Bread”. Read more

Roasted Asparagus Lemon Pasta
Roasted Asparagus Lemon Pasta

Learned about a last minute invitation to a potluck on the same day as the event.  Luckily, it was in the morning, but the week’s menu was already planned. Our dinner became a gift to the host. When we arrived, it was discovered it was a vegetarian affair. Needless to say, this dish had all the sinful pleasures: cream, chicken and cheese.  The roasted asparagus and the fresh herbs were the only honest ingredients. It was also the first empty bowl amid the other righteous dishes.

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St. Patrick’s Day Dinner: Steamed Salmon, Sweet Potato Colcannon and Asparagus with Roasted Pistachios
St. Patrick’s Day Dinner: Steamed Salmon, Sweet Potato Colcannon and Asparagus with Roasted Pistachios

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?

Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I’m to cry.
Oh, wasn’t it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.

It was the luck of the Irish, amid all the twitters, I learned about colcannon from Foodwishes. A traditional Irish dish, colcannon is made with white potatoes, salt and pepper. Cooked kale or cabbage is thrown in for a healthy measure, and this dish wouldn’t be Irish without generous quantities of cream or milk. It would seem as if this old world dish had been in my index of recipes my whole life, for it’s combining two of my favorite vegetables: potatoes and kale.

Being of the new world, I wanted to add an American twist via the way of another old world, Africa. Instead of using Irish white potatoes, this version is made with sweet potatoes. Ironically, this dish reflects the Irish flag’s colors of green for the kale, white for the cream, and orange for the sweet potatoes. It has a rich taste worth a pot of gold.


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