It took a long overdue (albeit very short) trip to the gym to flip through a few of the food magazines I'd been stockpiling. I am so behind that I was reading December issues, which were all holiday themed, and then we swiftly get into the healthy January issues and then back to somewhere in-between come February. I was dog-earring and reading some of the recipes word for word just to learn. I remember when I was first figuring out how to cook and I would read through a Bon Appeitit or Gourmet like a novel. Even if I didn't want to cook a pork loin or master a cheesecake, I would read the recipes just because I wanted the knowledge. Flipping through those magazines and soaking in some new perspective reminded me how much I love the craft of preparing a meal (yes, I'm aware I was at the gym, slowly burning off a single piece of toast while I was reading but that's besides the point). I've become much less efficient with Curran around and cooking for fun falls towards the bottom of my list in the course of a day. I allow that to happen... and so does the teeny person who has a thing for electrical sockets but I think there is a compromise.
I picked up a bag of buckwheat groats in an effort to try something new. It took me a couple times to figure them out but I'm a fan. Naturally gluten free, pretty quick cooking, full of magnesium and has a texture that Hugh referred to as "steel cut oaty rice". Maybe this isn't news to you but like I said, we've been in a rut over here. I bagged a gorgeous chartreuse romanesco and a couple of leeks that didn't look nearly as fresh but I didn't care because I love them. It felt so nice to not necessarily have a plan, but to just cook and move with the confidence that at the end, it would in fact be edible. Simple, colorful, wholesome and maybe not something you'd find in a glossy magazine, but dinner in a fasion that got away from me.
BUCKWHEAT BOWL WITH ROASTED ROMANESCO // Serves 2
I made a more moderate portion here but this could easily be doubled if you're feeding more or prefer leftovers. I actually prefer the buckwheat at room temperature or cooled, I was getting a super fermented flavor when they were warm. If the groats are toasted, it's sold under the name 'kasha' and that will work fine here as well. You should be able to find one or the other in the bulk bins of your local health food store. I know romanesco can be hard to find and nubs of cauliflower will do well in it's place. Don't be shy with the olive oil. You'll miss out on the caramelized, toasty edges otherwise and end up with rubbery vegetables.
- 1 large romanesco (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 2 leeks
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. Dried Italian Herbs
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- soft goat cheese, for topping
Preheat the oven to 400'.
With the romanesco, cut the florets away from the core. Leave the smaller ones intact and halve the large florets. Toss them onto a baking sheet. Clean the leeks and discard the tough dark green parts. Slice them into 1" coins and add them to the baking tray. Drizzle on the olive oil, nutmeg, herbs, pepper flakes, sea salt and toss well to coat. Make sure all the outsides of the vegetables are covered. Roast in the upper third for 30-35 minutes until the edges are browned.
While the vegetables roast, prepare the buckwheat. Rinse it well in a fine mesh strainer and drain. Bring the water to a gentle boil and add the buckwheat. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes until just softened. If groats start to get mushy turn down the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then drain well. Into a mixing bowl, combine the drained buckwheat, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, chives, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
I throw my walnuts onto the baking sheet to toast in the last 5ish minutes of roasting or you may toast them on their own if you prefer. Assemble your bowl with the herby buckwheat, a big heap of the vegetables and garnish with a handful of toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.