For breakfast, I usually have an egg, kraut, and a cup of fruit on top of arugula liberally doused with olive oil and dusted with pecan pieces. Preparing breakfast means dashing to the garden for cilantro for the eggs, basil or marjoram for the salad, and whatever berries the birds haven’t eaten
Every now and then, I’ll prepare a bowl of raw buckwheat groats–maybe because I need something quick or different–mostly because I’m in the mood for something mindful.
It begins the night before. Before bedtime, I’ll pour a cup of hulled buckwheat groats into a 32 oz jar of water. Whenever I pass through the kitchen, I’ll shake the jar, upend it, watch the water and groats swirl. The groats expand overnight, and the water turns a milky mauve color. Buckwheat comes from the rhubarb family, gluten free for those who watch that sort of thing.
In the morning, I dump the water and groats through a strainer, and rinse the buckwheat several times, my hand feathering through the running water and groats as if it’s coarse sand beneath a churning wave.
I spoon the drained groats into the Magic Bullet and add enough Pacific Hazelnut milk to cover the buckwheat and a tablespoon of lemon infused local olive oil. My porridge is also dairy free, for those who watch that too.
I add a spoonful of honey, making it not entirely vegan. I buy honey at the Farmer’s Market, where the keepers will describe at length where the hives are kept and how the bees are treated. Cactus honey is my favorite but rarely available. Buckwheat or avocado honey are fair substitutes.
Lately I’ve dropped in a few basil leaves. I like the subtle green taste it brings.
I then add a small teaspoon of cardamom. It’s my favorite spice. I’ve seen the Cardamom mountains in Cambodia but never found cardamom during visits there. Pepper, yes, but no cardamom. The mountains were the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge and still have working ruby and sapphire mines, 15th-17th century burial jars and log caskets on rock ledges, the Indochinese tiger, the Malayan Sun Bear, Banteng cattle, and Asian elephants. The cardamom in my spice cabinet comes from Guatemala, and I use a teeny wooden spoon (shown here) carved in the Arts & Craft style to measure it.
I pulse the mixture 24 times, but not in an obsessive compulsive way. After experimenting with a dozen bowls of raw buckwheat groats, I’ve found 24 pulses produces the optimally smooth texture of porridge I prefer.
It flows into the bowl. I add whatever seasonal fruit I have on hand (peaches, berries, figs, mango, jackfruit, bananas, apricots, fuyu persimmons, dried cherries, cranberries, raisins), raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, almonds), and seeds (pine nuts, sesame, pepitas, chia). I use a large wooden spoon to delicately fold the fruit, nuts, and seeds into the porridge. The spoon handle is charred at the end where I left it too close to a burner, but I’ll never discard it because I like the way it feels in my hand.
I eat the porridge slowly, the tastes complex and cool, every spoonful variable. It’s not uncommon for me to eat meals before the television but never with a bowl of raw buckwheat groats. Instead I stare out the window, watching the hummingbirds among the morning glories, thinking about the day that sprawls before me.