Grains for Every Season - Adventures in Cooking

Anyone who has ever visit Rediscovered Books (in Boise and Caldwell) and shopped the cookbook section has most likely met me, Rebecca Gottberg.  I love books.  I love all books.  And I love food (almost all food) and I have a special affinity for cookbooks.  Just ask my family or anyone who has ever helped me move my gigantic collection of them.  They are my pride and joy.  I have really old cookbooks, really obscure cookbooks, really eccentric cookbooks, and a large stash of old favorites for their text, photos, or recipes.  They are all food stained, dog eared, page marked with an array of whatever happened to be handy the day I was perusing them, and all of them are well loved.  I know that I can get recipes and tutorials from the Internet, but there is something wholly satisfying about sitting down with a cup of tea and perusing a cookbook for the next tasty thing to make.  My brother, even as a small child, would read them like a novel oohing and aahhing at the deliciousness within.  Bet that you cannot guess what we love to talk about. 

I love to cook.  More exactly, I love to feed people.  If you have my Book Seller Trading card, you would know that this is my superpower--"Loaves and Fishes", always enough to feed more.  And my coworkers, bless them, are willing to eat whatever I make and share--soup, fudge, charcuterie, quick breads--which I much appreciate.  With no hungry children or hungry children's friends in the picture any more, I am glad to have found an outlet to share my passionate love for all things edible. 

Which leads me to this blog posting.  My co-worker Hanna and I have been majorly in love with Grains for Every Season since its arrival at the store in November.  As I am considering how to integrate more healthy grains and new things into my diet this seemed like a good place to start, Hanna, on the other hand, just likes to eat and make good food.  So our cooking worlds have collided with this book.  We text each other pictures of the recipes from the book and then follow up with snapshots of our own creations.  I must say, even though the cookbook shots are far more professional, the food looks pretty similar (of which I am quite proud).  And the taste.... oooohhhhh... yum!  Who knew that grains could be so incredibly luscious and delicious?  Well, Hanna and I do now.  In fact, she has confessed to me an extreme passion for the Lamb and Bulgar Meatballs in Lemony Yogurt Sauce (page 187) to the point of bringing them multiple days in a row for lunch AND telling me she dreams about them when she is not eating them.  Now THAT is a recipe that has to be on my radar.  

As for me, being from Minnesota makes me a little crazy for some good wild rice dishes and Grains for Every Season does not disappoint.  Granted, my wild rice comes direct from Minnesota via my son, but the wild rice at the store (not the mix of white/brown and wild rice) will fill the bill nicely.  Wild rice is not actually a rice, but is really a grass seed and its harvesting and preparation are time consuming.  But the results are an adventure for your mouth--chewy, earthy tasting, and robust. It pairs nicely for the Baked Wild Rice with Salmon, Artichokes, and Leeks (page 303), the Butternut Squash Stuffed with Hazelnuts, Fontina, and Italian Sausage (page 297), and the Wild Rice with Chicken, Broccoli, Bok Choy, and Garlic-Chile Crunch (which by itself is the condiment that you never knew you were missing) (page 300). Needless to say, I made sure that Hanna got some good Minnesota wild rice for Christmas.

Additionally Grains for Every Season is a gorgeous book with great paper (that holds up well to spills and splashes), wonderful text (reading my way through the all the different grains right now), and accessible recipes and instructions. It also contains fold out sections on Pilafs for Every Season, Grain Bowls for Every Season, Pizza for Every Season, and Stir Frys for Every Season. Once you find the grains that you want to try and add them to your pantry stores, you will find yourself coming back to this book time and time again for the Crispy Quinoa Beet Cakes (page 152) and planning your next foray into Crispy Millet Cakes with Shrimp, Scallions, and Old Bay (page 118).  And if your co-workers are very lucky, there will be leftovers and perhaps a pan of Chocolate Rye Brownies with Cashew Swirl (page 170) to go with them.