Week of Freekeh

You guys, THIS was a meal to remember. 

I'm buying one bag of ancient grain at a time, and I want to try them all. So far, I'm most impressed by freekeh. It has an inherent smokiness and pairs so well with Middle Eastern spicing. I made a large batch on Sunday night and dressed the grains two different ways with my current favorite source of green - marinated kale salad, modified from Ella Woodward's ubiquitous Deliciously Ella, the cookbook that made me realize I could eat the way I wanted if I cooked all my own food.

My take on Freekeh:

1 cup freekeh, soaked overnight

1 tbsp Za'atar (I used Israeli Za'atar from the incredible Kalyustyan's on Third Ave, which includes wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds, anise, coriander, curcuma, chickpeas, sumac, and fenugreek)

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in the cast iron for 7-10 minutes (feel free to use the oven/toaster oven)

Healthy drizzle of olive oil (I used Zoe, which I first had on a second date in Brooklyn at the restaurant Rose Water. They infuse their Zoe with spices and serve it alongside fresh bread before the meal, and it was so unforgettable that days later I finally had to call and find out what I had eaten. Rose Water graciously answered the phone, unlike the guy, who mysteriously vanished. Worth it for the olive oil!)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

The cauliflower I broke into bite-size pieces and put in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes - roasted cauliflower has such a great flavor that I don't feel the need to put anything on it aside from some sea salt and pepper, especially when its sides are so well-dressed!

 

The other winning combo I adapted from My New Roots - I used Sarah's freekeh recipe and added crispy kale and peas (and red pepper flakes of course).

If what Bon Appetit says is true - that every dish needs salt, sugar, acid AND texture, then peas are my favorite texturizer. They hold a firm consistency and then explode with a satisfying burst between your teeth, and the amazing color they add is such a bonus. Peas are the only produce item I buy frozen. Until I'm a millionaire, I need a backup source of green on hand for those lean times, and peas are cheap, reheat amazingly, are starchy and filling, and one of the best sources of plant protein! I also love them in pasta and over baked potatoes.