One day I was working out and it hit me- I want to share more healthy recipes on my blog. You may have read my overzealous last post on staying healthy as a food writer, but what if I wrote more about healthy foods, too?
I just got back to Florence after nearly 2 months on the west coast, and man was it inspiring! The west coast is active! People are fighting for things! Food is fresh, delicious and people are doing fascinating things! Florence is too, it’s just kinda slow & limited. I do think Italians on a wide scale take their food culture for granted and industry is stealing it from under their nose.
Although I will say Italy has something I think even the capital of America’s farm-to-table movement can’t touch- and that is a wonderfully rich terroir. Italian soil fosters some of the most richly flavored crops. America (thanks to California, mostly) has bounty, but can you really taste tomatoes playing music to your umami sensory buds the way Italian grown pomodori do?
I am thrilled with Italian ingredients, and no matter how indifferent I become to Italy, my heart will flutter at the sight of heritage varieties of pistachios grown on volcanic soil, or indigenous grapes grown in vineyards who struggle for nutrients deep in the ground to become resilient wines full of story, because irrigation is prohibited or kale freshly plucked from the ground only 30cents a bunch.
So as a promise to myself to be a little kinder to my body with less eating out & less alcohol, I will be posting more healthy recipes suitable for food lovers, designed to be quick & utilize traditional Italian ingredients.
I posted this bowl on instagram and did a poll in stories if you all wanted the recipe, and 99% of you said yes- so here you go!
Italian buckwheat fruit & nut breakfast bowl, cooking & prep time: less than 10 minutes
(serves 1, but you can double or triple the recipe based on your household size)
Add buckwheat flakes & liquid to a small pot, add a little tiny spoon of butter but if you use almond butter, omit butter in this step. If you omit butter, be sure to stir often as to prevent sticking. A small spoon of almond butter can be mixed in to the porridge once it’s cooked & poured into a bowl for a little flavor, fat & protein boost. Cook porridge for about 3-5 minutes, until desired consistency has been reached. If you like a thinner porridge, add more water. If you prefer a thick consistency, add water in 1/4 cup at a time until it absorbs the liquid to your consistency’s liking. Scoop cooked porridge into a bowl, decorate with sliced strawberries, crush pistachios and sprinkle them on and drizzle honey atop, quantity your choice! If you’d like to reduce the quantity of honey but still want sweet, spoon in a drop or tiny pinch of stevia or monkfruit in your warm buckwheat before topping.
A note about the ingredients: Buckwheat is a pseudo cereal grain naturally free of gluten and is typical to the culinary heritage of the Northern Italian Alp regions of Trentino and the Valtellina zones. Called “Grano Saraceno”, buckwheat is the prime flour used to make pizzocheri pasta, an appropriate potato, cabbage, cheese & butter rich pasta bake to warm the ribs of inhabitants near the brittle cold Alps. After digging a bit, I found numerous traditional dishes from the Valtellina with buckwheat flour as a base. Historical accounts trace its origins to China and Siberia, and document its use in Italian cuisine date as far back as the 1500’s and is thought to have been introduced by the arabs, while some accounts refer to the cereal consumed by the Turkish during the Republic of Venice. You may have seen buckwheat flour listed as the base for some Asian noodles, like Japanese soba.The strawberries were organic from Sicily, probably by greenhouse means since we’re in January. If you’d like to eat more seasonally, you can easily replace strawberries with cooked or sliced pears, apples or any preferred fruit of the season.
Pistachios historically originate from the Middle East but in Bronte Sicily, pistachios are prized green gold thanks to a unique soil rich in volcanic minerals. The result is a bold pistachio which is slightly sweet.
I used local raw honey I bought from one of the artisan farmer markets in Florence. In the new age hippy dippy food world, they say eating raw local honey helps build resistance to allergies if change of the weather blooms triggers the sneeze attacks. I’m not sure about all that because in the recent 5 years I started to suffer from seasonal allergies and I eat raw local honey all the time, and honestly don’t think it does a damn thing. What I do think it is beneficial for is bee populations. The more we purchase craft local honey, the more we support local apiculture & beekeepers.
If you’re in Florence, you can find the buckwheat flakes at health food stores like La Raccolta in Sant’Ambrogio, Sugar Blues in Santo Spirito or Naturasi in Campo de’ Marte, I prefer La Raccolta or Sugar Blues as they are more independently operated and Naturasi is a chain, but any will do of course;)
Let me know if you make this or leave a comment if you have any questions about the recipe!
In your healthyish trust,