in cold weather months i often have to remind myself to eat light. summer is easy-- i can eat a tomato with a dollop of cottage cheese and consider it a reasonable lunch. not so as the dark and rain settles in over puget sound. sometimes, though, it feels good to eat something clean, something to atone for all those cheesy casseroles and cream-based soups that i do so enjoy during fall and winter.
i discovered some fun whole grains at the farmers market the other day. nash's organic produce was selling 1 lb bags of wheat berries, rye berries, and triticale (trit-a-kay-lee), a hybrid of wheat and rye. i figured those raw grains would be a good way to have some light and clean meals that were robust enough to stand up to the 50-degree drizzle outside. plus, at $2 a pound, they were a total bargain.
i've only tried the triticale, and i'm sold. it's nutty, chewy, and has a slightly springy texture in your mouth. it is also a significant protein source, so vegetarians take note!
i made an easy salad using fall veg and topped it with very flavorful condiments of toasted squash seed and kale chips. season each layer well and you've got a seriously tasty, hearty salad. the triticale has to soak overnight, so get started on this one the night before. so good!
triticale and fall vegetable salad
1 cup triticale
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
1 carrot, chopped into 1" pieces
1 parsnip, chopped into 1" pieces
2 cups acorn squash, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes, seeds reserved
1/2 bunch kale, + 3-4 more leaves, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves chopped
1/2 cup + 1 Tbps balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp honey
spicy roasted acorn squash seeds (recipe follows)
rinse triticale, cover with water and soak overnight. drain and simmer in water or stock and 1/2 tsp salt for 1 hour. (there is no water-to-grain ratio as there is with rice. just cook it until it's done, and drain.)
heat oven to 350. toss the carrot, parsnip, and 3-4 leaves of chopped kale in olive oil, salt and pepper. roast 20 minutes until carrot and parsnip are cooked through and kale is crispy.
toss acorn squash in olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until soft.
tent roasted vegetables to keep warm.
saute the remainder of the kale in olive oil until it begins to wilt. add 2 Tbps water or stock and 1 Tbps balsamic vinegar. cover to steam 2 minutes then cook uncovered, stirring, until wilted but still vibrant green. season with salt and pepper.
for the dressing, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the honey and 1/2 cup balsamic. cook over medium heat, stirring, until slightly reduced and syrupy.
to serve, divide kale onto two plates and top with drained triticale. pile the squash, carrot, and parsnip on top. spoon some of the dressing over, then top with the roasted kale chips and toasted squash seeds.
spicy toasted acorn squash seeds
1/2 cup fresh squash seeds
1 tsp melted butter
1//8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
fresh cracked pepper
clean and wash the seeds. (a method i heard about on the radio works well-- put seeds in a wire mesh strainer with some kosher salt and scrub. the salt acts as an abrasive as well as seasoning. rinse.)
dry seeds well on kitchen towel.
mix seeds with melted butter, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and move to a small roasting pan in a single layer.
cover with foil (as they cook, they pop out of the roasting pan!) and toast at 375 for 12 minutes.
the substitution possibilities are endless. rice, barley, quinoa, or other grains for the triticale, root vegetables, winter squashes or gourds for the roasted veg, any leafy green for the kale... roasted onions or shallots would also be welcomed additions.