Magazine article Sunset

Go with the Grain

Magazine article Sunset

Go with the Grain

Article excerpt

Grains in minutes? The smallest ones just naturally cook fast. Others are specially treated in processing to make them speedy.

Bulgur (cracked) wheat is steamed. It gets soft enough to eat when soaked but stays chewy when cooked.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a fine, round, high-protein grain, is native to the Andes and was prized by ancient farmers because it grows at high altitudes. It has a slightly bitter natural coating that needs to be rinsed off.

Barley labeled quick-cooking has had its outer hull removed so that moisture can penetrate faster.

Quick-cooking brown rice has been cooked and dried, and needs to be rehydrated. It's ready to eat in three-quarters the time it takes to cook regular brown rice.

Pilaf with Baked Eggs

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes

NOTES: For an interesting grain mix, combine equal parts quick-cooking barley, quick-cooking brown rice, bulgur, and rinsed quinoa.

MAKES: 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2/3 cup finely chopped shallots

1 1/3 cups grain mix or any individual quick-cooking grain (see notes)

2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 cup (1/4 lb.) shredded Swiss cheese

4 large eggs

Roma tomato slices

Salt and pepper

1. In a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof frying pan over high heat, stir butter and shallots often until shallots are lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Add grain mix and stir until grains are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add broth and marjoram, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until grains are tender to bite, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Mix 1/2 cup cheese with pilaf. Using the back of a spoon, make 4 deep wells in mixture. Slide 1 egg into each well. Lay tomato slices around eggs.

4. Bake in a 400 [degrees] oven until egg whites are opaque and yolks have desired texture, about 8 minutes for liquid yolks. About 3 minutes before eggs are cooked, sprinkle mixture with remaining cheese.

5. Use a wide spatula to scoop out pilaf and eggs, 1 at a time, and put on plates. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 413 cal. …

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