Recently I traveled to California to witness our oldest grandchild graduate from high school. It is difficult to believe this chapter of his life has come to a close. Watching him receive his diploma I couldn’t help but reflect on his journey thus far and all the adventures we have shared over the years. As an infant I rocked him to sleep and later taught him to swim and ride a bike. Since relocating to Wisconsin he has come on his own to spend a month with us every summer. I am saddened knowing time will no longer permit the luxury of this long summer vacation but the bond we have formed and the memories we created will be there forever Bursting with pride at the fine young man he has become I couldn’t help but shed a few tears as I said goodbye to the “little boy.”
After the graduation festivities we traveled to the majestic Sierra Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area, home of my daughter and her family. Although this time of year is really busy for all, it proved perfect timing. We were fortunate to see our talented granddaughter perform in a production of “The King and I” and watch as our grandson hit the ball that brought his team to the Little League play offs. In addition, we participated in the “Celebration of Learning” where they both presented projects summarizing their studies. My heart is full as I relive these experiences with all of you.
Life is all about learning and discovery and that has always delighted me. Since new beginnings is the focus today I thought I would share my most recent food find, “Freekeh” or roasted green cracked wheat. Freekeh is a process that means “to rub” in Arabic. According to the information on the package, it was created by accident nearly 2000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Rather than sulking over their loss, the villagers rubbed off the chaff and cooked it up. They discovered it had a delicious nutty flavor and thus began the cultivation and use of this ancient grain with the funny name. Much like its cousin, bulgur, it has a tender chewy texture and can be used in salads, pilafs and soups. Available in the ethnic section of groceries or online, try substituting it for the bulgur next time you make tabbouleh salad.
I followed package directions for cooking and here is how it went down:
2 1/2c water or stock
Salt to taste
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.
I cooked it in stock for extra flavor, added toasted pine nuts and chopped scallion and served warm as a pilaf. It makes a great accompaniment to meats or fish. Like a blank canvas, this grain allows you to unleash your imagination, make it your own and turn it into something wonderful. Get your freekeh on!
In closing, I leave you with the notion of family and the need to nourish and cherish the time you spend together. Also, the importance of new experiences and expanding your horizons. Travel is certainly one way to do this, but if you are not able to go, you can take yourself on a culinary journey. Explore other cultures through food. Life is too short for the same old, same old, so bust out! Make everyday an adventure and keep spreading the love, one dish at a time. Until next time, sending love from my kitchen to yours, Jeanne.