Thursday, October 20, 2011

Asian Crunchberries

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Whoa!  Guess what?  I'm back.

Blogging takes a good deal of time and effort.  It's just the nature of the beast.  I can't tell you how many pictures of food I have on my phone from days that I almost got it together enough to share what I'd been up to.  I definitely missed it, and I'm so glad to be back!  But enough talk.  Let's cook!  Wheat berries. Yes, let's cook wheat berries.  I promise it's tasty. 

 This is one of those complete accident dishes that I'll totally do on purpose again soon.  I had just bought my very first pack of rice wraps so I could try my hand at fresh spring rolls.  Gotta get those veggies in.  After literally turning my kitchen upside down and having a mini meltdown when I wasn't able to find them, I was in a funk.  Seriously pouting.  I'd already chopped up a nice array of radishes, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, carrots and avocado into neat little matchsticks and slices and now my beautiful avocado was just doomed to turn brown.  In comes red wheat berries to save the day!  I'd been boiling the heck out of these babies for the last hour or so on the stove to add to salads and wraps during the week.  I'd had them once in a salad at Panera and have wanted to try them since.  They are a really affordable (bulk bin fun), delicious and chewy way to seem like your totes in the know and healthy chic. 

Because I made this in a frenzy of needing to use ingredients, needing Asian flavors (okay wanting), and needing to eat soon, this recipe is going to have a lot of approximations.  Don't let this stop you.  Make your own version and taste and season as you go, fair lad or lassie.  I promise you can't screw this one up even if you were born with hands like Edward Scissorhands.

4 large radishes, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked wheat berries (hard red variety)
1 large or 2 small avocados, diced
2 large carrots, diced or shaved with vegetable peeler
1/2 large cucumber, seeded and diced
handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
two handfuls dry roasted peanuts, roughly crushed
2 whole chopped green onions, white and green parts
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper

1 T toasted sesame oil
juice of 2 limes
2 T tamari or soy sauce (or to taste)
1 T rice wine vinegar
Dash of Sriracha
2 t brown rice syrup or maple syrup
Generous sprinkling of dulse flakes (dried seaweed)

 You can either make the salad and the dressing separately using the ingredients listed above and then combine, or if you're totally into winging it like I did, you can toss all the salad ingredients together, and then season according to taste with the individual ingredients listed above.  Keep tossing stuff in there until it tastes good.  Chill in the fridge until you're ready to eat or serve it.  I'm a sucker for anything that has a bunch of crunch and tangy flavor, and this has it all.  Are you totally weirded out that I have seaweed in my cabinet?!  Me too.  You can enjoy this salad chilled over a bed of lettuce, on its own, or wrapped up in a ginormous collard green leaf like I did for lunch today.  It doesn't get soggy like a tortilla and gives it a lot of eye appeal.  It's totally easy to be a collard burrito pro - check out this sweet tutorial for a leak free and oh-so-chic wrapper.

You could totally throw almost any vegetable in your fridge into the mix here.  The rules are there ain't no rules!  What was your last successful kitchen accident?  Do tell.

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