The award-winning author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, Maria Speck makes cooking with ancient grains faster, more intuitive, and easier than ever before in this collection of recipes, most of which are gluten-free.
From black rice to red quinoa to golden Kamut berries, ancient grains are showing up on restaurant menus and store shelves in abundance. Yet in home kitchens, many fear that whole grains are too difficult and time-consuming to prepare. In Simply Ancient Grains, Maria makes cooking with these fascinating and nourishing staples easy and accessible with sumptuous recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Her family-friendly dishes are Mediterranean-inspired and delicious, such as Spicy Honey and Habanero Shrimp with Cherry Couscous; Farro Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Pine Nuts; and Red Rice Shakshuka with Feta Cheese. Maria’s tips and simplified approach take whole grain cooking to the next level by amplifying the flavor and enduring beauty of these nutritious grains.
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About the Author
Maria Speck is the award-winning author of Simply Ancient Grains, which was selected as a top cookbook for 2015 by the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Sweet Paul, as well as on NPR’s Here & Now. It also won an M.F.K. Fisher award, first prize in the book category. Maria’s first cookbook, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, received multiple awards, among them the coveted Julia Child Award. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post named Ancient Grains a top cookbook, and Cooking Light included it as one of 100 best cookbooks of the past 25 years. Raised in Greece and Germany, Maria has a lifelong passion for whole grains. She is a veteran journalist and food writer and has contributed to numerous publications in both the US and Germany. For more, visit www.MariaSpeck.com
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.
Table of Contents
ancient grains 101
Ancient Grains A to Z
How to Cook Ancient Grains
How to Bake with Ancient Grains
Grain Cooking Table
Pick Your Grains—Menu Inspirations for the Week Ahead
Warming Bowls for Busy Mornings
Brunch, Lunch, and Breakfast-for-Dinner
salads and sides
For Every Day and for Holidays
soups and stews
For Busy Nights and Slow Weekends
From Ancient Grains to Modern Heirlooms
For Busy Nights and Slow Weekends
simple and sweet
Desserts for Every Day and for the Holidays
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I recently fell in love with quinoa, so I was excited to learn new ways to cook it as well as new grains to love. I can't wait to try the Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Beets, Blood Oranges and Pomegranate--I just have to wait for blood oranges to come back in season here! There is a multitude of delectable recipes and interesting history in this lovely cookbook. It contains everything from Lemon Pancakes with Millet and Amaranth to Warm Wild Rice Salad with Herb-Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan (oh, my!), Flemish Beef Stew with Caramelized Onions and Rye, Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Hazelnut Buckwheat Stuffing (yes, I love mushrooms!) and Kamut Shortbread with Hazelnuts. Find something fascinating to cook in any of the seven categories: Breakfast, Slow Mornings, Salads and Sides, Soups and Stews, Pasta, Simply Mains and Simple and Sweet. I this book four out of five as there are multiple obscure and/or hard-to-find ingredients called for that make it more difficult to cook from this book. That is my only caveat with this book. Otherwise, I highly recommend it! I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.