Lunch today was not pretty, folks. Oh, it was good, but it wasn’t much of a looker. That’s why I don’t have any pictures for you.
It was one of those clear-out-the-fridge-to-make-room-for-new-groceries lunches. You might also call it an eat-before-going-shopping-to-buy-said-groceries-so-you-don’t-buy-out-the-store lunch. The two clearly go together. And you can probably guess how I spent the afternoon.
Lunch started with a bowl of wheat berries. Wheat berries are one of those ancient grains that seem to be the newest thing these days. Or maybe it was the newest thing a few years ago. Which would make ancient grains old news. Which, I suppose they are. Anyway, wheat berries surpass barley and farro along the firm and chewy spectrum. They’re a little nutty, but not crazy nutty.
Getting back to lunch, I cooked up some wheat berries and piled them into a bowl. Then I sautéed some onion and lots of garlic, added some vegetables (whatever is lurking in your fridge), sprinkled some spices, and heaped everything on top of the wheat berries.
Finally, empty fridge and full belly, I was ready to go shopping.
A few hours later, full fridge, still-full belly, I started making soup for the week. More on that, pictures and all, tomorrow. See you then.
Wheat berries with greens and tomatoes
Make 1/4 cup hard wheat berries, Follow the directions on your wheat berries package. The brand I bought is parboiled, so it only took about 15 minutes to make). Most recipes, such as this one, suggest first rinsing the grains, then simmering them in water (3:1 ratio) for about an hour.
While the wheat berries are simmering, prep your vegetables. Dice 1/2 an onion. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Roughly chop 2 medium tomatoes and 3 handfuls of hearty greens. I used baby kale and arugula; plain leaved or lacinato kale, chard or spinach should work really well too; if you’re using any of these larger greens, remove the leaves from the ribs first.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring so it doesn’t brown. Add the rest of the ingredients in the following order and keep sautéeing and stirring: garlic for 1 minute, then the tomatoes, a pinch of cayenne, and a few pinches of baharat*. Keep stirring over heat for 5 more minutes until the tomatoes to break down. Taste for salt. Add the greens and stir until they wilt.
Drain the wheat berries (1/4 cup should yield about 1/2 cup) and scoop into a bowl. Surround with the vegetables. Eat and go grocery shopping.
* If you don’t have baharat, you can substitute a mixture of cumin and cinnamon.