Last year my New Year’s resolution was to eat more whole grains. While I might have purchased more whole grains, I’m not sure I really ate more with the exception of brown rice. Once I learned that brown rice, which takes forever to cook, could be frozen after it was cooked I made double batches and that made it easier to incorporate into my diet.

This year I am going to do much better. How can I be so sure? Because I have the latest book from Lorna Sass, Whole Grains Every Day Every Way. This book is a perfect whole grain primer where you can learn about grains like amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and more. Did you know that amaranth was available whole, in flakes, puffed and in flour? I didn’t.

In addition to photos of the recipes there are also photos of the grains themselves which is helpful for those times when you forget to label a jar and find yourself with “mystery grain”. Recipes are divided into stand-alone soups and salads, main courses, side dishes, breakfasts, desserts and baked goods.

Surprisingly for a book on whole grains, many of the recipes are not vegetarian. Very few of the recipes sound like something you would find in a crunchy health food cookbook that emphasizes health over taste. The seasonings and ingredients are readily available, with the exception of some of the grains themselves. Fortunately mail-order sources are listed in the back of the book. I have a feeling most of the grains would be available at health food stores in the Bay Area.

Farro Soup with Kale and Cannellini
serves 6 – 8

1 cup farro, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in ample water to cover
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 bunch kale (about 14 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Set farro in a large bowl or spouted glass measuring cup and add ample cold water to cover. Set aside while you cook the beans.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large. heavy pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, carrot and celery. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onion is lightly browned, a few more minutes.

Drain the cannellini beans and add them to the pot. Add 8 cups of water. Bring hte liquid to a boil , then cover the pot and simmer until the beans are almost tender, 40 – 60 minutes (depending on age and storage conditions).

Drain the farro. Add the farro, tomatoes, and salt. Return the pot to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the kale: Discard a few inches of the tough root ends. Thinly slice the stems and coarsely chop the leaves. RInse well by dunking it in a large bowl or sink full of water. Drain well.

When the farro has simmered for 10 minutes, stir in the kale gradually, adding more as each batch wilts. Cover and continue cooking until the beans, farro, and kale are tender, usually 10 to 20 minutes more., Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the basil, cheese, and slat and pepper to taste.

by Lorna Sass © 2006 by Lorna Sass. Published in November by Clarkson
Potter/Publishers, a member of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

Cook by the Book: Whole Grains Every Day Every Way 3 January,2007Amy Sherman

  • Catherine

    Funny…I was just looking at farro at our local deli. Where did you buy it? I’m wondering if its worth shopping around on price.

  • Anonymous

    Nice! I’m down with whole grains. Gonna go pick me up a copy of that book.

    – Chubbypanda

  • Anonymous

    I think Lorna Sass is a great recipe resource, kind of like Deborah Madison. It’s nice to see her getting some spotlight. Also… did you know about her pressure cooker books?
    OK, one more thing… (hogging the mike)… Last year Cranky and I “harvested” some wild amaranth. Never again! You simply cannot thresh out the grains. Grr.


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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