Adventures With Buckwheat…

I decided to make another dish from Appetite for Reduction (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz), Sauteed Kasha & Mushrooms with Dill (p.73).

I was going to take many more pictures of the process, like I’ve done in the past, but I ran into some problems and had to stay focused on the dish.

The main problem was that I’d never had Kasha (aka toasted buckwheat groats) before, which meant I had no idea what I was doing. Or more importantly, what to expect.

I’ve been having so much fun in the kitchen lately, with spectacular results, and I trust Isa’s recipes. I own several of her cookbooks and have always loved what I’ve made from them. I figure who else should be my guide to new foods?

I started the kasha like she said in the cookbook (“bring kasha, water, and salt to a boil…lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 min, stirring occasionally”)… but it didn’t turn out quite like I expected. On the kasha box there are pictures of what looks like pilafs, so I expected a more grain-like texture, like couscous or rice. Um…

… that doesn’t seem right. The more I stirred to ‘fix’ it, the worse it got.

Hmmm… I took it off the heat and went to the computer to google kasha. What is this supposed to look like? More grain-like, just as I thought. So I put this lump of goo aside, maybe I can use it in a bread/waffle/pancake/muffin later?

Luckily, there was enough kasha in the box to try a second time. This time, I decided to go a bit closer to the box’s instructions. I omitted the egg (obviously) and used about 1/2 the margarine (earth balance). For the stock, I used my tried and true standby better-than-bouillon-vegetable-base and water. This time I brought the stock and margarine to a boil, then I quickly added the kasha and put the lid on… keeping stirring to a minimum. Lowered the heat and let it simmer 7 min. When the time was up, I decided to use a fork to fluff it, like you would do with rice. Ahhh….

… much better! 🙂

Now I can get back to those mushrooms…

The rest of the dish came together quickly. At first, I wasn’t sure about the taste of buckwheat, but as I continued to taste for seasonings, the more I wanted to taste again. Soon I had to put the lid on before I ate it all out of the pan. 🙂

I served the kasha with a baked sweet potato and broccoli. Yum.

As for that pile of goo? Well, I used my ingenuity to make that work. I looked up buckwheat in several cookbooks, ideas ranged from bread to pancakes… but in every instance I didn’t have all the ingredients to make it work. So I turned to the internet. After perusing through several muffin recipes, I came across this one, Buckwheat Muffins from Run with Sneakers. Not only did it sound tasty, I had all the ingredients on hand, plus how cute is it to name your dog Sneakers? Heehee.

I made a few modifications since my buckwheat had already absorbed some water. I won’t post my ‘recipe’ because, honestly, the conditions I started out with are not ideal. I would suggest, however, going to the source of my inspiration and making her recipe instead.

My modifications included an attempt to reduce the ‘wet’ ingredients in a way that I would still get flavor. I only used 1 banana, I omitted the hemp seeds, I omitted the shredded apple, I used agave (instead of coconut nectar), and I used pumpkin pie spice because I don’t have nutmeg (ok, so I nearly had all the ingredients).

First I added about 1/2 the buckwheat goo (figuring it was about 1/2 cup of buckwheat plus water) to the wheat flours. I combined these with a fork until I had a crumble. Then I added the rest of the dry ingredients (including walnuts and shredded coconut). In a separate bowl, I combined the mashed banana, flax eggs (side note: I blended my flax eggs in a small blender), and agave. I added this wet mix to the crumbled mix. It was a good consistency, but I decided I could add just a bit of applesauce. Then I measured it out with a ice cream scoop into a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Cooked as directed.

They came out really good! Yum.

For the rest of the buckwheat goo, I’m thinking about making those muffins again. Only I think I’ll add about 1 tsp. of canola oil and cook for just a bit longer. The muffins stuck to the paper liners just a bit, and I think just a touch of oil will help with that.

Qs: Have you ever had buckwheat or kasha? How do you handle cooking mistakes?

In general, I do not have a ‘eat all mistakes’ policy, especially if it’s burnt or just plain gross. I think that would stifle my creativity if I felt I couldn’t make a mistake. But I do love the pride you feel when you can ‘fix’ a mistake, it makes me feel so magical in the kitchen. 🙂

Until next time…


One thought on “Adventures With Buckwheat…

  1. Pingback: Stir-fry, Oh How I Love Thee… « The Auspicious Squirrel

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