From the Publisher
“Maria Speck is my whole grain guru. She conjures the appeal and sumptuousness of these wondrous staple foods in a way that makes me want to run to the kitchen immediately and start cooking. Her passion, knowledge, and good taste are reflected on every page in this beautiful book that makes eating whole grains more approachable and inspiring than ever.”
–Ellie Krieger, RD, host of The Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and author of Weeknight Wonders
“Simply Ancient Grains is an ode to bringing whole grains into the modern kitchen, not simply as ‘health food,’ but as nourishing and delicious additions to the home cook’s pantry. The artful recipes make use of unique flavors and textures, weaving together the exotic and the familiar. For the whole grain lover, this book is a trustworthy reference and an inspiration.”
–John Becker and Megan Scott, authors of Joy of Cooking
“Maria Speck brings a wealth of surprise to grains with her vivid sense of color, and her attention to texture and, of course, to taste. All of these elements come into view in an utterly fresh way. What an innovative book!”
–Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Speck simplifies cooking with grains without sacrificing flavor. Her recipes—including minted barley and fennel stew with marinated feta, New England cider mussels with fresh cranberries and bulgur, and walnut spelt biscotti with olive oil—are deliciously nourishing and not to be missed.
–LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW
Other praise for Simply Ancient Grains:
Real Simple says Simply Ancient Grains is "The Ultimate Grain Decoder"
Bon Appétit magazine - a favorite new cookbook
Tasting Table - a best new cookbook
Food Bloggerson Publisher Weekly most anticipated new cookbooks
In this follow-up to Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, Speck shows how busy home cooks can streamline the process of preparing satisfying whole-grain meals. To reduce the long cooking times of such grains as oat groats and spelt berries, she employs several handy techniques (e.g., soaking, parboiling, grinding), which appear in recipes for breakfasts, mains, desserts, and most other courses. Because Speck intends this cookbook for everyday use, she includes a wide range of preparations. Many of her recipes can be made several days in advance, while others can be quickly thrown together. The author notes when recipes can be modified to accommodate dietary restrictions and suggests smart ways to use up leftover ingredients. VERDICT Speck simplifies cooking with grains without sacrificing flavor. Her recipes—including minted barley and fennel stew with marinated feta, New England cider mussels with fresh cranberries and bulgur, and walnut spelt biscotti with olive oil—are deliciously nourishing and not to be missed.
Read an Excerpt
fusilli with tahini yogurt sauce and nigella seeds
Thick Greek yogurt and whole grain pasta are a perfect match in my food heaven—the creamy yogurt enveloping the pasta in an appealing and comforting blanket, thus lightening its rustic look and feel. This pasta with earthy tahini (sesame butter) and a sprinkling of deeply aromatic nigella seeds is my husband’s favorite and has been on our table for years. Its sauce is spicy, with a good amount of raw garlic (use less only if you must!). And it thrives next to grilled steak, burgers, and lamb chops but is just as good with chicken; or serve it on its own, next to a peppery arugula salad. gluten-free option
Fine sea salt
12 ounces whole grain fusilli, rotelle, or other pasta shells (gluten-free if desired)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional; see page 248)
1 or 2 fresh hot red chiles, depending on your preference, seeds and veins removed for less heat
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup plain whole milk or
2% Greek yogurt (do not use nonfat)
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 ⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini
1 ⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ⁄4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt as you see fit and then the pasta, stirring a few times. Return to a boil with the lid on; uncover and cook at a gentle boil until the pasta is al dente, according to the package directions.
While the water is coming to a boil, add the sesame, cumin, and nigella seeds to a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, until the seeds turn fragrant and the sesame becomes golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately scrape the seeds onto a plate.
Cut half of the chile into fine rings and set aside. Add the remaining chile and the garlic to the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Process until minced, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the yogurt and sour cream and blend until creamy. Add the tahini, lemon juice, and salt and process until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
While the pasta is cooking, transfer the sauce to a 12-inch skillet. Gently heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes (do not bring to a boil, as the yogurt will curdle).
To finish, dip a heatproof measuring cup into the pasta pot to reserve 3⁄4 cup cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Add about half of the reserved liquid. Toss vigorously to combine for 1 to 2 minutes, adding a bit more cooking liquid as needed, until you have a creamy sauce. Sprinkle with the seed mixture, the chile rings, and the parsley. Serve at once.
If you don’t like the sharpness of fresh red chile, omit it and sprinkle the pasta at the end with a bit of mild Aleppo pepper (see “Sources,” page 251) or sweet paprika.
Make ahead The yogurt tahini sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead; chill, covered.