This recipe for toasted buckwheat groats has kasha sharing the pot with dried wild blueberries, toasted hazelnuts, and a bit of cream over the top for good measure. If you are using pre-toasted buckwheat groats, often sold as “kasha,” you can omit the first step of toasting them in oil.
I count the minutes each morning. Twenty minutes to prep lunches. Five minutes for the kids to pack them up. Twenty minutes to shovel breakfast in. Five minutes to swap pajamas for school-worthy clothing. Two minutes to brush teeth. Five minutes for coats and shoes. One minute for last-second goodbyes and tying up loose odds and ends. (“No, I have not seen your library book. When did you have it last? What color is the cover? Do you have phy. ed. today? Where are your tennis shoes?”)
Somewhere in the midst of making food for lunches and pushing them out the door I also need to find the time to prepare breakfast (and get my French press started, which helps in ticking off the minutes as my coffee grounds bloom and steep). As water is set to boil on the stove, I crack open the container of coffee and stuff my face in, breathing deep. The strong aroma of roasted beans fills my nose with its distinct smell. The round, creamy scents instantly transport me to my childhood, sitting in my grandma’s kitchen on vinyl-covered chairs, my bare knees and legs swinging back and forth watching her stir breakfast on the stove top. The minutes slow.
I wonder, as I grab jars of things worth putting in small mouths from their shelves, what my children will think of when they reflect back on childhood. Will they remember these mornings, my voice calling out to them to find socks? (“Please. Find. Socks. No, for your FEET.”) Will they remember the constant nagging that they must – MUST – brush their teeth and their hair? Will they think as fondly of me standing over the stove stirring groats as I do thinking about my grandma fluffing eggs and making farina in a big, black pot?
The minutes begin again as quickly as they disappeared, and I’m asking each one to grab the final lunchbox items and place them in the bags, to remember a spoon for aiding in the consumption of the contents of the thermos they just tucked away, and to “please grab this bowl and sit down and eat” as I heap steaming kasha into bowls and toss hazelnuts on top for good measure.
Dried wild blueberries have become one of my favorite indulgences this winter. They whisper of their summer origins with a distinct brightness. They melt into hot cereals, and they are a welcome change to our ever-evolving trail mix concoctions.
Here in the kasha they harmonize their summer scents with the nutty, chewy buckwheat and the smooth cream. The blueberries melt into the sauce a bit, sweetening each bite just enough and removing any need for other saccharine stir-ins. The toasted hazelnuts provide a bit of texture and crunch in the bowl of porridge that I offer up to my children before rushing them out the door each morning.
This is a more direct bowl of kasha than the savory kasha bowl with bitter greens and parmesan I shared last week. It’s easily modified by changing the dried fruit or omitting the stir-ins at the end.
If you are using pre-toasted buckwheat groats, often sold as “kasha,” you can omit the first step of toasting them in oil.