Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Jul 3, 2012

Whiskey Wheat Berry Salad

Libations used: 1/2 cup whiskey
Libations left over: make yourself a drink while those wheat berries are cooking...
I'll be honest.  I hadn't been eating particularly healthy during the month of June because of the LA Film Fest.  Meals consisted of sliders and crispy tuna scarfed down between events.  Now that I'm finally home and have a chance to cook, I was craving some whole grain salads.  Lo and behold, the lovely folks at 101 Cookbooks figured out a way to incorporate booze into a wheat berry salad.  I now heart them.  This bright salad has a slight sweetness because of the whiskey and sugar soaked raisins, and then is balanced out with some spicy goat cheese sprinkled on top.  Instead of adobo sauce, I used All Spice Cafe's Chipotle Garlic Sauce (I loooove their sauces, and they're made just blocks away in Venice).  Throw in some arugula or spinach to really amp up those power grains and you've got yourself a hearty meal or an awesome side dish to pass around at potlucks and BBQ's.

Whiskey Wheat Berry Salad - serves 6
  • 1 lb wheat berries, cooked
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1 Tbs cane sugar
  • 5 oz goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp adobo or chipotle sauce 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 big handfuls of butter lettuce, spinach or arugula
  • Scant 1 Tbs fresh oregano, cilantro or basil
- Cook the wheat berries (check the side of the package for instructions!) and set aside.
- Place the raisins in a small bowl, add the whiskey and sugar and let them soak for a couple hours or overnight.
- When the raisins are done soaking, drain out the whiskey and save for the dressing.
- Mix the adobo or chipotle sauce into the goat cheese until fully incorporated.
- Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, 3 Tbs of the whiskey and a couple pinches of salt together.
- Just before serving, gently toss the dressing with the wheat berries, raisins, pine nuts, greens and a few pinches of salt.
- Sprinkle with the goat cheese and herbs, and toss a couple of times.