Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Grechka...Say It Again?
Attempting not to be rude (and failing miserably), I couldn't help but stare at a co-worker's lunch one day and try to figure what was on her plate. It looked like an interesting cross between couscous and brown rice. After going through a mental list of grains--flaxseed, barley, millet? I guessed it was quinoa. Risking rudeness, I just asked.
"What is that?"
Gre-ech-ka," she said slowly. (My lovely Armenian friend could have told me it was cheese from a cow on Mars--I had no idea what she was talking about.) "That's what we call it, but I have no idea what it's called in English." Thus began a four-day quest to figure out what the heck she was eating. She looked it up online. Nothing. Her mom didn't know what it was called in English. Finally she brought me a bag to work. "Just combine 2.5 cups of water to every one cup of grechka. Add a little salt and oil and you will be fine."
After some cooking rebellion last night in which I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn't going to cook, I pulled out some salmon to go with the dish that I couldn't pronounce. Another lesson learned: When you're going to make a baked salmon recipe, make sure that you have all the ingredients BEFORE you start. I ended up having to create a recipe after I already pre-heated the oven and thawed out the meat. But never mind.
As the salmon was baking to its crispy best, I followed her directions: "Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil, add the grechka, a tsp. of salt and about a tbsp. of olive oil and bring to a boil again. Reduce to low heat." Of course, no new recipe of mine is complete without its dash of excitement: I didn't know whether I supposed to cover it or not. Calling two coworkers and checking directions for everything in my house that looked like a grain, I decided to cover it and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes. It turned out perfectly: a light but filling grain with its own unique flavor--more filling than white rice, not as boring as brown.
When I first was playing with the idea of cooking grechka, I assumed that it was a classic Armenian staple, and that I was getting a quick but fun introduction into another culture.
It turned out to be buckwheat.
(adapted from Betty Crocker baked fish recipe)
1 pound salmon
1 level teaspoon Tony Chachere
1/4 teaspoon salt
the juice from two small lemons
1 level teaspoon parsley flakes
3 tbsp. melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray rectangular 13 X 9 X 2 dish with Pam and lay salmon inside of it.
2. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter, and add salt, Tony's, parsley flakes and lemon juice once melted.
3. Pour mixture evenly over salmon and pop in the oven for about 18 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork.