The conversation started so many months ago. I can’t even remember exactly when. September maybe? Maria and I met for coffee (ok, it was cocktails) after having connected through Twitter. We chatted about our various projects and backgrounds, but, really, we connected over our mutual love for food. At the time of our meeting, I had yet to get my hands on her book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, but the word around town was that the book was amazing. When I told her I hadn’t checked it out, she generously offered to send two copies (one for me and one for a giveaway). When the books came in the mail, I plopped down on the couch and began flipping through. Every single recipe looked right up my alley. Loads of healthy, vegetarian dishes. But some of the ingredients, well, I was a little nervous I’d get my hands on them.
And then, magically, in my CSA box, we received a bag of locally harvested triticale berries (a hybrid of wheat and rye). I had NO idea what I was supposed to do with them, so I sent Maria a message and asked her if there was a way to include them in one of her dishes. She directed me to her leek salad (“This recipe combines both of the cultures I was raised in, Germany and Greece: rye is widely used in Northern Europe while all the flavors of the salad are Mediterranean, orange, fennel, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and haloumi.”) and I was sold. I’d make it that week.
But then I didn’t… not that week nor the next week or month (well, four months) after. Until I got around to it last week… finally. Better late than never, right?
I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, removing the capers and adding in some marinated artichokes and I decided a little chopped up orange peel would add some brightness (I’ve come to terms with my obsession with citrus zest), but, really, the credit goes to Maria for building such a satisfying vegetarian dish.
Oh, and I do have a copy of Ancient Grains to giveaway. You won’t be disappointed. It’s chock-full of information about grains… where they come from, how to cook them, and what to do with them.
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post
Official Rules: This is open to US/Canadian residents only. No purchase necessary. Giveaway will end on March 18th 2013 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
Leek Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes
and Triticale Berries
(Slightly adapted from Maria Speck’s Ancient Grains for Modern Meals)
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup triticale berries or rye berries, soaked overnight and drained
2 medium leks, cleaned and cut into 3/4 inch segments (about 4 cups
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 (2- by 1-inch) strip orange zest, white pith removed
1/4 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, 2 teaspoons oil reserved
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound haloumi cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried crumbled oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1. Prepare the triticale berries by placing the water and berries in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain any leftover liquid and transfer to a serving bowl to let cool.
2. To prepare the salad, bring the leeks, veggie broth and orange zest to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the leeks are soft 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the orange peel and set aside. Drain the leeks and add them to the bowl with the triticale berries. Chop the orange peel into thin strips and add it to the bowl, along with the sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, 1/4 cup mint, fennel seeds, sea salt, and black pepper.
3. Position an oven rack about 6 inches below the heat source and preheat the broiler. Cut the haloumi cheese into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Rub each piece with the sun-dried tomato oil and sprinkle with the oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Make sure both sides are coated with the oil and spices.
4. Transfer the cheese to a broiler pan and broil the haloumi until the slices begin to brown at the edges, approximately 5 minutes, turning once half way through with a spatula. Keep an eye on the cheese as you do not want it to dry out.
5. Transfer the triticale salad to a platter and top with haloumi. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of mint on top and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.