A perk of being a food photographer, you ask? Having an excuse to sit on the couch with a lap full of cookbooks finding recipes to photograph is a perk I enjoy from time to time. This recipe is adapted from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook by Lynn Alley.
I gathered many ideas from this cookbook; interesting ingredient combinations, unique use of spices and many breakfast cereal recipes such as this one. Since I do not own a slow cooker/dutch oven/crockpot at the moment, the recipes themselves aren’t as useful to me. Yes, I could go spend $20 on one, but after trying this particular recipe in the crockpot I borrowed from my sister, I’ve decided I’m fine with adapting slow cooker recipes for normal stove use instead.
You might think wheat berries is an odd choice for breakfast. Well, the popularity of grains has gone up significantly in the past year or so. I’ve seen restaurants with breakfast polenta, breakfast risotto, grits, oatmeal, quinoa and yes, wheat berries. They’re all delicious, by the way. I’ve never been a huge oatmeal fan, but when you dress it up with fresh berries, cheeses, and spices, I’m all for it.
All you really need to take from this post is that you can use grains as the base, add spices and toppings and voila, breakfast is reborn. The original recipe didn’t include any spices to be mixed into the wheat berries, only added on top. It was pretty bland, so I changed the recipe to include a good heap of spices. Also, the recipe said to cook on low overnight for 8 hours. At 6 hours I checked it and it looked done, but I decided to trust the recipe and let it cook another half hour before checking it again. It was starting to burn on the sides at 6 1/2 hours and was probably done at 5 1/2 hours. I’d say check it every half hour after 4 hours, at least the first time you make it. Once you know what to expect from your crockpot you can change the recipe to read the appropriate time for your equipment.
1 c hard wheat berries
4 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c fresh ricotta cheese (For a homemade ricotta cheese recipe, click here. )
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp sugar (or brown sugar)
Pulse the wheat berries briefly in your blender or food processor, just enough to crack them into pieces, not powdered. (As you can imagine, this is very loud. Your cat might go tearing out of the room.)
Place the cracked wheat, water, salt in the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low, about 4-6 hours. When done, mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Dish up servings of cracked wheat, then top each with a scoop of ricotta, and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Other suggested toppings: Honey, Jam, Fresh Berries, Cocoa Powder, Sliced Banana, Fresh Cream, Shaved Chocolate
While in Yachats, Oregon, I had this wonderful Hot Quinoa topped with berries, syrup, cinnamon and butter at the Green Salmon cafe. My love affair with breakfast cereal began.