February 6, 2012

Give Grains a Chance. ~ By Leslie Cerier

Chewy, moist, creamy, hot, sticky steamy, rolled, wrapped, stacked; Whole Grains are sweet, easy, versatile, nutritious, delicious, high-fiber, low fat, filling, satisfying, and energizing!

Fruit Crisp

Whole grains are one of nature’s gifts that have nurtured people all over the world for centuries. These powerhouses—loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants—offer energy, great taste, and worlds of healthy eating pleasure.

Kasha, amaranth, teff, bulgar, cous cous, quinoa, corn grits and rolled oats cook quickly: 5-15 minutes. Besides the standard boil and simmer, you can toast, marinate, bake, sprout, sauté, and even presoak grains to produce different textures and flavors. Kasha, quinoa, oats, and amaranth are complete proteins and gluten-free. Other gluten-free grains are corn, millet, wild rice, sorghum, teff, and numerous varieties of rice.

A fabulous variety of whole grains provide culinary excitement without hours of labor. You can cook grains alone and together with other grains, in infinite combination with spices, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.  Once you know the proportion of liquid to grains you can make up your own combination.  Sometimes it may require a little math because some grains require more cooking liquid than others.  Don’t let the math stop you.  Go a little wild and improvise.  Add cooked grains to a salad, stir fry, soup, or garnish with fresh herbs or toasted seeds.

Organic and Gluten-Free Feta Cheese and Quinoa Salad

Some Grains need to be rinsed. Place a measured amount in a pot, or large bowl.  Cover grains with three to four inches of water.  Swirl grains with a chopstick or wooden spoon.  Pour off any floating debris, grain hulls, twigs, etc.  Repeat until the water is clear.  Some grains such as barley, oats, and millet are dustier than others and require a longer rinsing period.  Spelt, and kamut are fairly clean and rinse quickly.  Don’t bother rinsing teff.  It is too tiny, and has already been cleaned before packaging.  I also never rinse kasha (buckwheat groats) or flaked or cracked grains like rolled oats, spelt flakes, kamut flakes, corn grits, bulgar wheat, or cous cous. Do rinse red, tan and black varieties of quinoa unless the package says pre-rinsed.

Corn Grits with Kale and Goat Cheese


Dry roast rinsed grains before cooking them

* Alone or with:

* Spices

* Vegetables and Spices

* Nuts and/or Seeds

To make them fluffy, light, individual, dry and nutty flavored.


Sauté rinsed, uncooked grains

* Alone or with:

* Vegetables

* Spices and Herbs

To make them moist, tender, individual, rich and flavorful.
Soak rinsed grains in their cooking liquid overnight or 6-8 hours before cooking them.  This makes them easier to digest and softer.

Want to be deeply nourished? Eat whole grains! Loaded with B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, fiber, and valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains give you tasty protection against cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In fact, I actually lost weight without trying by eating lots of gluten-free grains and gluten-free pastries.

Whole grains are important to everyone’s diet!


Prepared for elephant journal by Lorin Arnold

Leslie Cerier, The Organic Gourmet-Chef, Educator, and Author of 5 cookbooks, specializing in local, seasonal, whole foods and organic cuisine that are not just good for you, but pleasurable and delicious. Her robust New England based business includes custom culinary work for private clients as well as private and group cooking instruction and coaching. Cerier is a pioneer and national authority on wheat-free baking, the entire spectrum of whole grains, and cooking with wild foods. Her specialty in grains has led to her being much sought after by health professionals and private clients to help them translate challenging dietary allergy issues into culinary success and meal satisfaction. Leslie teaches exciting “hands-on” vegetarian cooking classes in some of the most prestigious centers of holistic evolution and organic lifestyle. www.lesliecerier.com.  She will be offering a special workshop about grains March 18-23 2012, at the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, CA.  Check out more at http://webapp.esalen.org/workshops/11140.

Read 5 Comments and Reply

Read 5 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant Journal  |  Contribution: 1,510,185