I had high hopes this week for posting about a two-bowl wonder, a baked mix of wheat berries and butternut squash topped with bacon and parmesan. Unfortunately, the steamed butternut squash disappeared in the mass of wheat berries, leaving us with an irresistible bacon and parmesan crust atop a heap of grains and mushy, tasteless squash.
We ate the top third then stashed the remainder in the fridge. The following evening seemed like a good time to get in on all of the “whole grain bowl” fun, to unite our leftovers with a few bright elements — some sort of pickle and a tangy sauce. We would top it all off with soft-boiled eggs and call dinner done. Before starting, I revisited Melissa Clark’s recent piece in the Times to make sure I had my boxes checked: whole grains (wheat berries!), greens (sautéed kale and steamed broccoli), some sort of pickle (yet to be determined), protein (eggs), dressing (yet to be determined).
I had two elements to prep: the pickle and the sauce:
The pickle: I love the pickled carrots and daikon ubiquitous at Vietnamese restaurants, and I happened to have both carrots and daikon on hand, so I pulled out my mandoline and set to work slicing and pickling: 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar. Any number of vegetables could work here — fennel, beets cabbage (whatever you have on hand) — but if you don’t feel like making a pickle, kimchi (which Clark suggests) would be a nice substitute.
The sauce: I love a good teriyaki sauce especially over brown rice — Japanese bento boxes come to mind — and teriyaki sauce is so easy to make at home: soy sauce, mirin, sugar, chicken stock and sake (or sherry or white wine) simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly reduced and syrupy. That’s it.
Before serving, I piled all of my leftovers in a colander to re-steam stovetop. I set the pickled carrots and daikon on the table along with a few bottles of hot sauce. I kept my teriyaki sauce warm. And finally, just before serving, I soft-boiled three eggs — 6 minutes! effortless peeling! — whose oozing yolks along with a sweet-and-salty teriyaki sauce succeeded in tying all of the disparate elements together.
Clearing the fridge of leftovers always feels like a feat. But this — this felt like a triumph.
For the quick pickle: carrots and daikon.
These are the leftovers I had on hand: cooked wheatberries, three stalks of steamed broccoli, and sautéed kale. Any leftovers you have on hand will work in this sort of dish:
This is a good way (thank you, Mama) to reheat all of your leftovers: place them in a large strainer or colander, set it over a pot with an inch of water in it, cover the whole top surface with aluminum foil, and place the pan over high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or so. BE CAREFUL removing the foil to avoid getting burned by the steam:
So, these are the components I used: homemade terikayi sauce, quick-pickled carrots and daikon, re-steamed wheat berries, kale and broccoli, and 6-minute soft boiled eggs.
Two soft-boiled eggs plus lots of hot sauce for Ben:
Leftover Grain Bowl with Teriyaki Sauce, Quick-Pickled Carrots & Daikon and Soft-Boiled Eggs
To read more about the art of assembling a good bowl, read Melissa Clark's article.
- For the teriyaki sauce:
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade, low-sodium if otherwise
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons sake (or sherry or white wine)
- For the quick pickle:
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 small daikon, julienned
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vinegar, such as rice, white wine, red wine, white balsamic, etc.
- gather leftovers:
- any sautéed green or steamed vegetable
- cooked whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, farro, etc.
- eggs (however many you want)
- Make the teriyaki sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine the the stock, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake (or wine) and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until the teriyaki sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
- Make the pickle:
Place the thinly sliced vegetables in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and vinegar. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
- Prepare your leftovers to be re-heated:
Place leftovers in a large strainer or colander, set it over a pot with an inch of water in it, cover the whole top surface with aluminum foil, and place the pan over high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or so. BE CAREFUL removing the foil to avoid getting burned by the steam.
- Make the soft-boiled eggs:
Bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower eggs into water; boil 6 minutes. Transfer eggs immediately to a bowl of cold water to cool.
- Assemble bowls:
Pile re-heated grains and vegetables into bowls. Place pickled carrots and daikon on table along with a few hot sauces. Drizzle teriyaki sauce over everything. Place peeled eggs into bowl. Halve them once they are in the bowl.
Did you make a recipe?
Tag @alexandracooks on Instagram and hashtag it #alexandracooks.
On the subject of whole grains, last week, I made my favorite baked steel cut oats with apple. After mixing the wet ingredients, I discovered I only had about a tablespoon of steel cut oats, and so I used what I had on hand: pearled wheat berries, which ended up working beautifully. Also, I omitted the nuts because I didn’t have any and omitted the cinnamon for no particular reason except maybe that Balzano apple cake has been on my brain. Happening this weekend.
Baked wheat berries with apple: