Thursday, April 21, 2011
CEIMB: Wheat Berry Salad
This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was her Wheat Berry Salad, chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious. I have to admit, although I was excited to make this recipe and use wheat berries for the first time, I ended up taking a lot of liberties with it. I think in the end, it was probably not even Ellie's salad anymore; it was more my derivative take on it. But I loved it!
I made this as a last-second side dish with a meal I made last week, so I hadn't fully checked the ingredients list before I dove in. Turns out, I didn't really have everything I needed to make it, but I did have close approximations! So, instead of dried cherries, I used dried cranberries. Instead of walnuts, I used some hazelnuts (yum!). I had no lemon juice, so in went a bit of fresh key lime juice and a splash of pomegranate red wine vinegar instead. I didn't even have celery, but I had cucumbers, so I just used some of those. Like I said, it's not really even the original recipe anymore, but it's the same general idea.
Since I have never cooked wheat berries before, I was really unsure about when they were supposed to be done. I followed Ellie's instructions and submerged them in water, and let it come to a boil. However, by the time all the liquid evaporated, the wheat berries were still a little too hard for our tastes. So, I kept dumping more water into the pot and letting it cook off. I probably had the heat turned up way too high; at times I would raise or lower it, but the directions were really unspecific as to whether you should just simmer the mixture, or let it continue to boil. After about two (!) hours, I finally just decided they tasted good, and I took them off the heat. They still had a fair amount of crunchy pop to them, so I was happy with how it all turned out.
Well, obviously I can't speak for Ellie's full, unaltered recipe here, but my version was wonderful! I'm really starting to dig the whole grain/dried fruit/nut combo in a cold salad, and this one was a real winner. The wheat berries were delicious, I thought. I was happy with their texture, and they really felt hearty, bulkier than rice or barley and possibly more filling. I am definitely going to be making this again really soon, but this time I'll have the correct components and I'll do it right!