Kasha with Red Onion, Sage and Currants
Jerry Traunfeld enjoys using kasha--the toasted buckwheat groats that are a staple in Eastern European cooking (and the general term for all sorts of cooked grains). His trick is to mix the grains with egg whites before cooking them in a nonstick skillet. "It keeps the kasha from getting mushy," Traunfeld says. "I don't know why it works, but it does." Kasha is sold in a variety of grinds; Traunfeld likes the coarse Wolff's brand best (wolffskasha.com). Here, he flavors the nutty grains with sweet currants and earthy sage to make an excellent vegetarian side dish.