Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wheatberry Kisir

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can look forward to the following offerings from Sweetwater Farm and Fair Valley Farm:
  • tomato sale ($1.95/lb; $18/10 lbs; $30/20 lbs), with an abundance of varieties including: early girl, big beef, beeefsteak, brandywine, san marzano, Japanese black trifele, new girl, ponderosa del oro, principe, borghese, rebeleski, red pear piriform, sun gold, celebrity, mt. fresh, orange blossom, paragon, polbig, qualit, taxi, and valley girl (feast on salads and make a few batches of sauce for the winter)
  • peppers both sweet and spicy, including: ace, ancho, anthoi romanian, carmen, conchos, czech black, el jefe, flavor burst, italia, jalafuego, lipstick, melrose, numex joe, parker, red rocket, sahauro, serrano del sol, tiburon and yankee bell
  • baby lettuce salad mix and lots of greens
  • Japanese and globe eggplants (delicious in a hearty pasta sauce)
  • zucchini and summer squash (make refrigerator pickles)
  • green beans, yellow wax beans, and romanos
  • cucumbers (combine with tomatoes in gazpacho)
  • a variety of potatoes 
  • sweet white onions, garlic, fennel, and leeks (make a leek and bean soup)
  • fresh herbs, including basil, cilantro, dill, thyme, oregano, and sage
  • tomato sauce and pesto
  • naturally fermented pickles
  • homemade jams
  • a selection of dried beans and grains from Camas Country Mill
  • pastured chicken
  • pastured pork: bacon, pork chops, shoulder roasts, ham roasts, spare ribs, ground sausage and ground pork (try ma po doufo)
  • pastured lamb: ground, stew meat, leg roast, rib chops, loin chops

With the glut of summer tomatoes, you can't have enough ways to incorporate fresh tomatoes into a meal, in soups, salads, tarts, pastas, and grain dishes. My sister, who developed a taste for Turkish food while living in Berlin, recently taught me how to make kisir, a parsley-packed, harissa-spiked salad made with very fine bulgur. Since bulgur is a form of wheat grain (parboiled and dried), I experimented with giving the same treatment to whole wheat berries from Camas Country Mill. And I let some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers sneak in for a complete bowl of grains, fruits, and vegetables. This makes a delicious accompaniment to lamb burgers or roast chicken

    Wheat Berry Kisir

    3/4 cup wheat berries 

    2 Tbsp harissa
    2 Tbsp tomato paste
    1/2 cup olive oil 
    1 small onion
    1 tsp ground cumin 
    2 bunches parsley
    juice from 1 1/2 lemons
    3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses 
    1 cucumber 
    1 pint cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes

    1. Cook the wheat berries by simmering them in 2 cups of salted water over low heat until tender but still firm, about 90 minutes. When they are tender, drain them if necessary, transfer them to a serving bowl, and stir in the harissa and tomato paste. 

    2. Peel and dice the onion. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, and then add the diced onions. Cook until they are thoroughly cooked through but do not let them brown. Add the cumin and cook for one more minute. Then pour the spiced onion oil over the wheat berries and mix.

    3. In a food processor, chop the parsley leaves until quite fine. Scrape them into the bowl with the wheat berries and stir. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or harissa as desired.

    4. Peel the cucumber and chop it into lengthwise into quarters or sixths and then widthwise into 1/4 inch pieces. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes or chop the large tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Fold the cucumbers and tomatoes into the dressed wheatberries. Serve at room temperature.

    Note: to make an authentic kisir, hydrate 1 1/2 cups fine bulgur with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Then  proceed with the recipe above as written for the cooked wheat berries. And exclude the tomatoes and cucumbers if you are feeling like a stickler.

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