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Cook the Book: 'Whole-Grain Mornings' by Megan Gordon


I'm the kind of person who eats the exact same thing for breakfast every morning. I'll go through long phases (very long phases) where I'll only want to eat oatmeal, muesli, granola, or toast—always with yogurt and often with fruit. Right now, I'm in the midst of a 2+ year infatuation with muesli. I know, muesli. But to me, the subtle oaty-ness and comfortingly soft texture is the perfect way to get my stomach ready for a day of recipe testing and eating.

While I am clearly a creature of habit, I am not entirely opposed to trying new things when it comes to my a.m. habits. This is why I was delighted to open up my copy of Megan Gordon's new cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings. Gordon owns her own small but reputable granola company called Marge, after her grandmother, and writes about whole grain cookery on her blog, A Sweet Spoonful. Her cookbook offers a peek into her morning routine in addition to a generous number of recipes for her granola.

Like many popular cookbooks today, Whole-Grain Mornings is organized by season. Yet recipes are categorized less around seasonal produce and more around Gordon's moods and tastes as the year progresses. Of course, fruits and vegetables (of which there are many; Gordon is as likely to prepare savory breakfasts as she is sweeter baked goods) follow a general seasonal pattern, but much of the time, it's easy to whip up a summer dish in January if you choose.

Gordon is quick to mention that, even though she features whole grains in every recipe, Whole-Grain Mornings is not intended to be a health food cookbook. Like Kim Boyce does in her wonderful baking book, Good to the Grain, Gordon uses whole grains for their depth of flavor just as often as for their increased nutrition. There is plenty of butter, olive oil, and maple syrup throughout the pages. Sweet jams and spreads end each chapter.

For lazier morning cooks like myself, there are short, easy recipes and many that can be made ahead of time. For those who like to spend a little time at the stove, or who are planning a leisurely brunch, Gordon includes a plethora of more complex dishes like tarts, souffl├ęs, and grain bowls. It is clear that her recipes are well-tested and precise; just about everything I cooked worked exactly as written. After a week with Whole-Grain Mornings, I can safely say that I've broken my muesli habit (at least for now).

We'll taste a range of breakfast dishes this week, staring with blueberry breakfast bars and a version of Marge's apricot pistachio granola. Then we'll boil a pot of quick tangerine marmalade, simmer a spicy kale and wheat berry-filled shakshuka, and end the week with a savory salmon tart.

Win 'Whole Grain Mornings'

Thanks to the nice folks at Ten Speed Press, we have five (5) copies of Whole-Grain Mornings to give away this week. All you need to do for a chance to win a copy is to tell us about your favorite breakfast dish in the comments section below.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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