Breakfast in Greece can be a very rustic meal wih cheese pies, olives and feta, and crusty bread with honey or marmalade, to fare more familiar to the American palette like scrambled eggs and omelets. Whatever it is, it will be tasty and reflective of what is available from the local area. This includes a variety of grains that can be cooked up and served as a wholesome hot cereal.
When I was a kid, my mom would make oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon, and a sprinkle of brown sugar or a drizzle of golden honey. Occasionally, we would also have Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice on hand. Now, however, it seems that what was old is now new again, and people want more than what’s in the cardboard box. That desire to have less processed ingredients and to get back to a more whole-food diet has created a demand for unique grains with tastes and textures far beyond what I grew up with.
One difference between the smoother textured, creamy cereals and the chunkier, whole-kernel ones is the cooking time. The finer the texture, the easier for the cooking water to be absorbed, and the shorter the time. However, the longer cooking time needed to prepare something like farro wheat comes with the reward of a nutty flavor, chewy texture, and more nutrition. Make a pot-full when you have the time, and savor it throughout the week on those busy workday mornings when time is short.
I like to add dried fruit to the cereal as it’s cooking. This helps plump up the fruit pieces and naturally sweetens the grains without a lot of added sugar. It also makes it a more nutritious meal. Any type of dried fruit will work. I have a dehydrator that does a wonderful job of preserving a lot of our harvest from the summer. In this batch I had raisins, pears, plums, and figs, all from our backyard trees and vines. It’s a great way to enjoy the summer surplus at any time of the year!
Farrow Wheat Cereal Recipe
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup farro wheat (this can be found in well stocked grocery stores, or health food markets)
- 3/4 cup chopped dried fruit, any variety
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts like almonds, pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- salt to taste
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add farro and return to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pot loosely. Farro does not become soft like other grains, but cook it until it is soft enough for eating, about 25-30 minutes. Add water as needed to keep it from scorching.
Once the farro is nearly done, add the honey, cinnamon, dried fruit, salt, and nuts. Allow to cook until the fruit is softened. Turn off the heat, add butter and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot.