grains

If Turkish Delight were Whole Grain Cereal

Not one for sweets at breakfast, but this whole grain cereal with flavors from afar is exotic and just slightly sweet.candied kumquat pistachio topping quinoa wheat breakfast

 

Quinoa- Farina cereal topped with candied kumquats, toasted pistachios and a drizzle of cardamom rose simple syrup.

 

By mixing quinoa (fair trade, please) and farina you increase the protein in the farina and add some texture without detracting from the smooth creaminess I love. Add the tiniest pinch of salt. Toppings included the candied kumquats and a shake of the sugar-cinnamon-cardamom blend leftover from graham cracker making. A drizzle of simple syrup infused with rosebuds and cardamom.

Mm mm. Great way to start a cold, gray day in February.

Really lovely, delicate flavors and textures.

 

Cardamom-Rose Simple Syrup

Cardamom Rosewater Simple Syrup

This simple syrup was well tested by friends this holiday season. It went well in prosecco, over cake and in gin cocktails. Now I can say that it also pairs well with breakfast.

  • 3/4 - 1 C sugar
  • 1 C rosebuds (organic, dried, for culinary purposes)
  • 1/4 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 C water

Simmer sugar and water together as the sugar begins to melt, add rosebuds and cardamom pods. Stir until sugar has become completely liquid. If it seems thin you can add sugar. I've done this twice, the second time I added nearly a full cup of sugar which would be a 2:1 sugar:water ratio.

Place in a nice, impeccably clean, antique bottle, stopper it and store in the fridge.

I've kept mine a couple of months in the fridge, it's clouded a bit but still tastes fine, no evidence of mold. Here'sAlcademics' take on the question. With some interesting and I think logical, advice on how to keep longer. Me, I'm thinking I'll just make an orange, olive oil cake and soak it with this syrup. Use it up!

 

How would you use Cardamom-Rose Simple Syrup?

The Straight Poop on New Year's Resolutions to Eat Better

I'm often asked what foods one should avoid, whether carbs are evil, and people sometimes assume I eat gluten free (who knows where that came from?!) The simple truth is no true food is really evil and much of the "healthy" advice out there is pure poop. As many of us are thinking about resolutions, it's a good time to separate wheat from chaff. And poop. Speaking of poop, I have decided to make poop the theme of this year's "resolve to eat better" post. More on that in a minute. First, let's review what makes a resolution or any goal succeed or fail. Here's a mnemonic device to help you remember: SMART. How to make your goals and resolutions SMART:

  • S - Specific. Instead of "eat better" try a specific goal: "One meal a week will be whole grain based." It's not so hard. Make whole grain waffles one Sunday (you can freeze and toast for breakfasts later), a pumpkin brown rice risotto for dinner. Bake whole grain muffins on a weekend for grab and go breakfasts.
  • M - Measurable. "Eating better" isn't going to be something you can measure accurately. Make it something you can measure. For example, "eat one meatless meal per week." Easy, especially with the slew of good vegetarian cookbooks out.
  • A - Achievable. This is about setting yourself up to succeed. I could set a goal to exercise 6 days a week. If I were my husband, I might succeed. I am not. I would be more likely to achieve my goal if I said "I will walk three days per week." I could aim for 4-5 but set my lower limit of sloth at three.
  • R - Reasonable. If you grew up like most of us with meat-centric meals, it would be unreasonable to quit carnivorous ways cold turkey, so to speak. How about resolving to buy only pastured, grass-fed beef? Or cage free eggs? Sustainable seafood?
  • T - Time-bound. Goals that are time-bound are more likely to be met. Let's say you have a goal to "exercise more" - sounds nice, right? But isn't it more likely to be achieved if you say "I will walk at least 20 minutes each walk." Or "we will try one new veggie recipe each week."

The Straight Poop

First the bad news. Much of the advice flying around the internet is poop. "Avoid gluten and lose weight" a favorite canard. When people have gluten sensitivity or are Celiacs, of course they must avoid gluten. The rest of us really are better off with whole grains in our diets, and yes, that includes gluten. Those who have experienced weight loss eating gluten-free most likely have done so because they've largely eliminated processed crap from their diet. Do that and you're ahead of the game either way. In fact, most people find that eating whole grains help them maintain more steady blood sugar, a feeling of fullness and an enjoyment in the eating itself from added flavors and textures. All these benefits will help in anyone hoping to lose weight. This is why I don't like the "low carb" craze. It works for some (more for men than women) but I've seen precious few who can maintain it and if you're eliminating foods that could be helpful, which you could enjoy in healthy ways, you're depriving yourself of healthy and sensual dining experiences. Why?

Another pet peeve is the "juicing to remove toxins" craze. Now, fresh pressed juices from organic fruit and vegetables is good, don't get me wrong. Is it a cure for a season of overindulgence? No. Is it a replacement for well-balanced food? No. Read this excellent article  Why Juice 'Cleanses' Don't Deliver - Eat + Run (usnews.com) debunking the juice cleanse. Movement. Another word for poop, of course, but also a concept to strive for. Incorporate movement into your SMART goals. Move to music, walk through the city (see my friend Marc Hurwitz' AMC urban hikes, for some group walks).

Some of us have suffered losses in 2012 or setbacks in our work, stumbled in relationships. "Move through it, learn from it, get over it" is my motto. Obviously, grief takes time and is never a straight line. All of life's losses have something to teach us and movement can help us avoid getting stuck in a bad place. "Get over it", is not to be flip, but to remind myself to laugh. Spend time with a toddler or a baby and have some belly laughs. Watch how they laugh from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes. Go see a funny comedian or watch a favorite funny movie. So get up and MOVE your body.

  • Try standing instead of sitting at the computer. Try doing it one or two days a week to start. Sitting for long stretches, more than six hours a day, can make someone at least 18% more likely to die from diabetes, heart disease and obesity than those sitting less than three hours a day. (read more.)
  • Even getting up every 20 minutes or so can be beneficial. Make scheduled breaks for a walk to get a glass of water versus a break for social networking - seated, online - will be an improvement.

Moving toxins through our system. 

We'd like to eat bad food, drink like fish, and then do something simple like drink a smoothie and believe that will undo the harms. Me too! But it just isn't so. I'm not advocating a monastic lifestyle. Not the girl with the pound of foie in the fridge. Eating all sorts of things and drinking in moderation is okay in my book. Okay, as long as it doesn't become our norm and as long as we keep to the routine of moving, moving. I've over-indulged this holiday season but am trying to walk as often as I can. (doesn't sound like a specific, measurable goal does it? hm...) One of the best ways to move toxins -- or to be more accurate, waste -- through our system is to eat sufficient fiber. Fiber is what "grabs" waste and forms poop which we eliminate. Much good fiber comes from vegetables and grains. More of these are not only more satisfying to cook to eat, to chew, to enjoy; they are also far better at helping your process of elimination.

swirl
swirl
Wall_o_kimchi
Wall_o_kimchi

Another thing which can help is adding probiotic foods or supplements to your diet. Since much of our diet is further in time or geography from its source, we lose some nutrition even if we eat as locally as possible. Especially during the winter months in the Northeast. We also tend to eat less fermented foods here than in other countries. Fermented foods are a rich source of probiotics which are the good bacteria that support gut health. I've been adding Kombucha to my diet, thanks to my sister-in-law's recommendation. I love it and definitely feel it's helping keep the gut happy.  

gut health
gut health

And by "gut" I mean the poop shoot. This is a good scholarly paper on the emerging medical wisdom of the need to address gut health.

← Poop shoot!

Our intestines are where many things - good things -  happen. Absorption of nutrition we take in, regulation of immune function, etc. At the very least, it seems safe to say that eating a highly processed, low fiber diet, leading a sedentary lifestyle both contribute to less than healthy outcomes.

In the end

Here are a few SMART things you can do to improve your eating, your wellness, your enjoyment of life in 2013. These will also improve your "process of elimination" better than any products you might buy, and support all those good things that happen in your poop shoot. 1. Incorporate a whole grain based meal one day per week.

  • Culinate has a great grains guide. Their list includes TWENTY. Pick one for each month and find a recipe that intrigues you, try it out!
  • Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (link takes you to Mussels with Farro post and includes links to book, site) is inspirational. A beautiful cookbook bringing the sexy to whole grains.
  • Grain Mains is another great book for "grainiacs" - including this new staple of my pantry: Whole Grain Waffles. (favorite whole grain sourcing info included in that post.)

2. Make a movement goal. 

  • Try yoga in the privacy of your own home with a DVD like Rodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners. Just 20 minutes in the morning or afternoon or evening is all it takes.
  • Walk more. Try a goal of parking further from the grocery store. Taking two flights of stairs instead of an elevator you normally take for four. In just a week or so you will see improvement. Who can't do two flights of stairs? Okay, start with one.

3. Make it a goal to improve the quality and decrease the quantity of meats you consume.

  • Even if you cannot do it with every meat purchase, make a goal to do it some percentage of the time. Or choose some items that you'll buy organic and give yourself wiggle room on others. For example, these items carry the highest pesticide load: The Dirty Dozen.
  • Grass-fed meats have a lower carbon foot print and better nutritional profile. Choose pastured meats from local farms instead of "cheap" meats that contain antibiotics you don't need. Cows are ruminants and their stomachs are not designed to eat grains. Prophylactic antibiotics are used to keep them from getting sick on the unnatural, rapid-fattening diets they are fed. Don't get me started on horrible feed ingredients that sometimes include downer cows, and more.
  • Eat one meatless meal per week. Meatlovers' Meatless Celebrations is a great book for eating well, even at holiday and special meals. Recipes will satisfy carnivores and vegetarians alike. This is not about "giving up" it's about "adding to" your culinary repertoire.

[Shameless self-promotion warning]

4. Take a class with me to gain more kitchen confidence. Learn to shop, cook, eat, better with a trusted friend by your side in the comfort of your own kitchen.

  • Learn how to avoid marketing influences that lead you away from whole foods, true foods and toward processed. Take me shopping with you and we'll explore how to read labels and choose foods wisely. Which foods are more or less sustainable? Which veggies are loaded with pesticides?
  • Explore adding joy and chew and flavor to your diet through whole grains. We'll cook delicious whole grains you will be excited to incorporate into your regular rotation.
  • Tailor a class or a series to you and yours: cooking with kids; exploring flavors of North Africa; Japanese food you can make at home.
  • To learn more about the kinds of things I can teach you, click on over here.

If you'd like to customize a session, please call! Thanks for sharing this info with your foodie friends.

Homemade Whole Grain Waffle Mix from Grain Mains by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

I am a big fan of hostess gifts, convenience, whole grains, and real food. Can these all be combined? Yes! I am also a big fan of waffles (remember Happy Shiny Waffles and Sunday memories imprinted with a waffle-patterned perfection?) I am delighted to share a recipe that I promise you'll turn to again and again. I think it would make a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. It would be great to bring to a friend or family member. And, trust me, it's fantastic to have on on hand.

Maybe you're thinking "Grains" means dinner and "Mains" certainly leads us in that direction. But why should breakfast be left out? Anyway, haven't you heard of chicken and waffles?

Chicken and waffles

 

In this new book  Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day,  you can indeed find "main course" recipes for breakfast lunch and dinner. I have tried their barley risotto (even with non-dairy substitutions, it was great) and the recipe I'm sharing here is one I think is a great seasonal, convenience: waffle mix!

Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are two of the founding members of the Goaterie. If you're at all curious about exploring the most popular red meat eaten around the world, do have a look at Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese. Award-winning, prolific, funny, these guys have their finger on the pulse of the food zeitgeist and they can turn out a cookbook as quickly as some of us take to decide what's for dinner. In fact, these guys are so prolific they probably will have another book or two done during the time it's taken me to write this review.

Remember Empanadas de Cabrito Medianoche? My midnight goat empanadas were delicious. Make them with this recipe! (If you're on Twitter follow the hashtag #grainiacs and #goaterie for posts, recipes, and news on both grains and goat.)

 This book (click on the cover to buy it now) is well designed for anyone looking to incorporate more grains into their diet. If you don't know your farro from your freekeh, this will give you a good "grains 101" including the difference between various grains and the forms each grain might take on your grocer's shelf. Helpful tables and photos enable you to determine which grains benefit from an overnight soak, which recipes can be made in the event you forgot to soak anything, and substitutions and suggestions accompany most recipes.

The only thing that might have been helpful for newbies in the grainiac group would have been a sources page. Here are some of my very favorite sources:

1. Four Star Farms - Their Triticale berries and wheat flours are superior. The Triticale berries cook up so quickly and are so tender, you'll want to add them to many dishes.

2. Koda Farms - best brown rice (Mark Bittman says "probably the best produced in the U.S." - I agree) and beautiful heirloom varietal Japanese white rice which nothing else compares to.

3. Eden Foods - These bags of quick cooking whole grain flakes can be hard to find in groceries. Luckily, they're easy to buy online. I use the Kamut in my DIY granola, recently called "beguiling" (blushing).

4. Bluebird Grain Farms - another family farm I love. Their Emmer Farro is fantastic.

 

Homemade Waffle Mix

waffle mix cannister

Cornmeal and Oat Waffle Mix

Ingredients:

  • 4 C coarse, whole-grain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 C spelt flour
  • 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking, nor steel-cut)
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C baking powder
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Waffle Mix, Homemade

Directions:

  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a large bowl, taking care that the baking powder is evenly distributed throughout. Spoon or pour the whole kit and caboodle into a large container and seal tightly. Store up to three months in a dark, cool pantry. (Who could keep this hanging around for three months? Please.)

To make three waffles:

  1. Scoop 1 Cup + 3 TBSP of the mix into a bowl. (Puff up your chest and say: "Take THAT Bisquik!")
  2. Whisk in 1 large egg, 1/2 C + 1 TBSP milk (whole, 2% or even fat-free - I used soy), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 TBSP walnut oil (could also use hazelnut or pecan) or 2 1/2 TBSP melted and cooled unsalted butter.
  3. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes while the waffle iron heats. Then make waffles per iron manufacturer's instructions.To make pancakes, thin with additional milk, 1/4 C or so.

chicken and waffles

 

Epilog:

Those pale waffles (above) were a fleeting thing. The waffle iron - which was a lovely surprise that made me SO happy, briefly - had an annoying habit of walking off its perch atop the fridge. Waffle irons are not meant to tumble. We'll be in search of a new waffle iron after the holidays...any recommendations? I want nice dark, crisp waffles.

Until then ... pancakes!

Farmers' Market-Inspired Paella Stuffed Peppers

When the bell peppers at the Farmers' Market look this good, they inspire a request for stuffed peppers. We decided to go with a vegetarian version and I thought why not draw on the flavors of paella - saffron, pimenton, garlic - to create a stuffed pepper reminiscent of the flavors of paella.

 

[ed note: work on outline/structure - is this about improvising? is it about cooking from the market? is it about a stuffed pepper template?]

This could easily be tweaked by the addition of crumbled chorizo and I'll probably do that next time, but right now we're reveling in such gorgeous produce and enjoying our Laurel Hill grains that it wasn't a tough sell to go meatless.

Tonight, we have enjoyed Feeding Celine thought we don't get to do it often enough. We invited her over for dinner again tonight. Working with a loose idea of what I wanted to make - stuffed peppers, green salad with a lemony, dill, garlic vinaigrette, peach cobbler for dessert - I went to the Dewey Sq. farmers' market today to pick up provisions. At the market, I found beautiful bell peppers, gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, no salad greens, peaches not yet ripe.

Since this is a flexible recipe, I thought it was a good opportunity to revisit cooking from seasonal, local ingredients and eating down the fridge, reducing waste. Here's the thing, with good basic ingredients, fresh and local, you can make a healthy and delicious meal in short order. Here's a template.

I soaked spelt last night and put it on to cook this afternoon. While the spelt was simmering, I caulked the kitchen sink, began rewrites on my book proposal and experienced an earthquake. The caulking and the earthquake are completely optional, but I really like the spelt. You can also use grains or rice leftover if you have them on hand.

After the quake, and the market visit, I came home and began preparations.

First, the dessert. Well, opening the wine was really the first step, don't judge, we had an earthquake for heaven's sake!

Okay, so the peaches aren't going to be ready for a couple of days. Zabaglione was my plan B, but we're out of weet Marsala so I decided to try the brownies I'd been thinking of. I discovered I'm out of sugar and very low on the butter substitute I began buying after the allergy diagnosis. Quick trip to Sagarino's for sugar, and then I began on the brownies.

 

I added ground turkey and spelt, soaked overnight and cooked in chicken broth. I sauteed

A simple salad of sliced heirloom tomatoes, chiffonade of basil, drizzle of good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maldon sea salt.

 

Dessert was chocolate chile brownies inspired by Sandra Gutierrez' recipe.

 

Pimp Your Salad

Remember "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" the song from Hustle and Flow? When the news broke of the NH Sportswriter (Go Manchvegas!) who supplemented his dwindling journalism salary by starting a prostitution ring, my first thought was his 'hos were probably freelance writers unable to procure even dime-a-word job. Couple the gray days of the a**-end of winter with the challenge of wringing some pennies from prospects who'd rather offer you "exposure" and maybe you could give a girl a break? I mean, you can't even buy root veg on ten cents a word. Call me cynical.

This is the time of year in New England when even the most stalwart seasonal eaters begin confessing they've cheated on Winter. I'm all for seasonal and local eating but there does come a time when a body needs something fresh, crunchy and colorful. We crave it. Once you get a taste, you want more.

Recently, we've added a couple dishes to the rotation that are, on balance, sensible and delicious, if not totally local or completely seasonal. They involve choices I make with care, but that might raise a few eyebrows. They're not lock-step with the whole eat local, seasonal dogma. So sue me.

Food writers can sometimes find themselves in the enviable (or unenviable, take your pick) position of pushing product. Root vegetables are our winter "local" food. We try to seduce you with new ways to combine, mash, roast or even "braise" them. Don't get me wrong, I love me some root veg. I think rutabagas and celeriac are unsung heroes. While not root veg, winter items include roasted brussels sprouts, kale chips, too. Parsnips in my chicken soup always get a smile. I've been trying to incorporate more grains and expand our "starch" list.

Quinoa has become a steady friend. Packed with nutrition, quick-cooking and adaptable, it is a great place to start. Yay! Victory! Then, the NYTimes runs this story about how Bolivian quinoa farmers are no longer able to afford their staple grain due to increased demand by all those damn locavore Norte Americanos. See how hard it is to do the right thing?

Just now when winter refuses to release its grip, there are a few foods that punctuate the cold, gray days with a tempting taste of sunnier days ahead. One thing I'm very grateful for is the steady stream of Meyer Lemons from the in-laws. I LOVE these guys. (And the lemons are sweet, too). Another thing that helps are the occasional hothouse cherry tomatoes. This week, sugar snap peas appeared at the market and who could resist? Not I.

So, begging your indulgence, and remembering that it can be hard to serve up a fly and seductive meal with yet another root veg combo in the last days of March, I invite you to...

 

PIMP YOUR SALAD.

Start with some small organic Yukon Gold potatoes, scrub and peel if you like or not. Boil or steam, till tender.

Rinse some beautiful Red Quinoa like this one:

Red Quinoa Fair Trade

Alter Eco red quinoa can be found at Whole Foods. It supports the Anapqui Cooperative in Bolivia. Seals on the bag tell us its USDA Organic, Fair Trade, Objective Carbon Zero.

According to other info on the bag:

  • 1,500 farmers benefit from this project and a tree is planted in the Amazon to offset every 465 packages sold.
  • 1/4 C (roughly the amount in the photo above) has 160 calories, 2 gms fat and provides:
  • 3 gms dietary fiber
  • 6 gms protein
  • 2% calcium
  • 20% iron

It's nutty, crunchy, quick-cooking and a one pound package is less than $6.00. At eleven servings per bag, that's about 50 cents per serving of good protein.

Cook it in a ratio of 2:1 water:seed. Bring to boil, reduce, cover, steam.

Make a pistou with herbs and greens on hand - parsley, baby spinach, a bit of steamed kale, couple good sized cloves of garlic, rough chopped, small handful of pine nuts, (some parmigiano reggiano would be good and more authentic in place of pine nuts, but my dairy allergy prevents it.) Buzz up in the food processor with good light olive oil or canola.

Zest and juice one large or two small of those gorgeous Meyer Lemons.

meyer_lemons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop any other fresh herbs you may want to add to salad. I grabbed some fresh dill, chopped up a couple tablespoons worth.

Rinse a handful of Upland Cress, Baby Organic Spinach. Spin dry. Chop sugar snap peas in bite sized pieces. Chop half a shallot.

When potatoes are done, toss with lemon juice, olive oil and shallot.

Add greens, peas, quinoa.

Toss in pistou and gently fold all the green goodness, the crunchy quinoa, zest. Taste. Add more Meyer Lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper to taste.

pimp_salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you go B*******! That is one satisfying, vitamin and protein packed salad. Almost guilt-free. Your body will thank you, your pocket book will thank you, and somewhere in Bolivia a farmer is eating better, too.

A Grain with a Great Backstory

Don't you love a grain with with a good back story?

Kamut - King Tut's Wheat

Diving into the DIY granola craze, I've discovered a new grain with a great history. Okay, so I've made granola at home three or four times and inspired a few Twitter followers to make their own with this Homemade Granola the DIY Delicious Way with a Touch of Chocolate. In my book, we now officially have a "craze."

I noted that the fabulous DIY Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch author, Vanessa Barrington was marvelously "flattered" by the New York Times who ran a DIY Cooking Handbook piece w/nary a mention of the woman who, literally, wrote the book. They should know better. So maybe they were inspired, too. See? It really is a trend!

So what the heck is Kamut? I have to admit, when I saw this at Whole Foods:

I had to buy it! Roasted, good. Cooks in three minutes, good. Eden Organic. Good!

I enjoyed my first bowl as an oatmeal stand-in. Made simply and mixed with some leftover bulgur, and a drizzle of this insanely good maple syrup aged in Bourbon barrels.

Wheat on Wheat - proving that have no issues with gluten.

Yes, I said Bourbon barrel-matured maple syrup. A real treat, if ever there was one. Honestly, I could eat King Tut's dessicated foot with that maple syrup and be happy.

 

Back to our mysterious ancient grain...

The legend is that someone brought back some grains appropriate from some Egyptian tomb and grew it out back here in the states. Originally named "King Tut's Wheat" it is now registered to the enterprising farmers who nurtured it back to a crop we can now all enjoy. Several things make Kamut a great grain for your table.

First, it was most definitely enjoyed by ancient Egyptians, and who wouldn't want to dine like Cleopatra and Tutankhamun? What this really means for us is that this is a wheat that was not bred for modern agriculture, making it nutritionally superior and able to be grown without artificial fertilizers and pesticides. A sustainable super grain! Modern wheat varieties were bred for higher output, resistance to pests, etc. but had to sacrifice nutrition along the way. (See what Nature does? Mess with her and you get something inferior that causes digestive problems and necessitates more and more chemicals, depletion of the soil...well you get the picture.)

Interestingly, there is some evidence that this is better tolerated by those with gluten sensitivity, too. Kamut has 20–40% more protein, is higher in lipids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals than our modern varieties.

Another great grain with a good story is Quinoa. Unfortunately, it seems that we Norte Americanos have grown so fond of this nutritional powerhouse, that indigenous peoples can no longer afford it. The grain (it's actually a seed, but that doesn't sound as nice) that sustained them against all odds, including marauding Spaniards, is now too dear for the locals to buy. I'm hoping we have a nice fair trade operation step up to the plate and fix this unfair situation. I really would like us to enjoy quinoa with out guilt.

One thing I've learned via my support of the Joslin Diabetes Center's Spoonful of Ginger event, is that a bowl of white rice has as much sugar as a can of soda. Asian-Americans are at a much higher risk of diabetes, it seems that our physiology cannot tolerate the influence of the American diet as well as Caucasians can (and let's face it, the standard fare of most Americans could use a little help no matter who the consumer is.)

Since we are definitely kids who grew up loving our bowl of white rice, we have a hard time imagining living without it. As you know I'm a big fan of small steps. Rather than banish our beloved Ba Fan or Gohan - I'm trying to add other grains to the rotation so that we enjoy a broader, healthier variety. A recent experiment cooking white rice mixed with quinoa in the rice cooker, was a hit.

Look at this beautiful bowl:

This even worked well in fried rice the next day.

 

This is really easy and delicious. By adding 1/3 C of rinsed quinoa to the rice, you add protein and replace sugars. It's not perfect but you know what? It's a step in the right direction.

 

If ancient Egyptians joined the DIY craze...

My Kamut granola is cooling, scenting the house with Arvinda's Chai spice blend and Neilsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. I can't wait for breakfast!

Granola fit for a Pharoah

 

  • 1 1/2 C Kamut flakes
  • 1 1/2 C Oats
  • 1 C flaked coconut
  • 1/4 C crushed cocoa nibs
  • scant 1/2 C pepitas
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 C pistachios
  • 1/2 C chopped peanuts
  • 1 C chopped dates, dried cherries
  • 1/4 C wheat germ and ground flax
  • 1 tsp Arvinda's Chai spice
  • 1/2 tsp Neilsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/3 C hexane-free expeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1/3 c honey

 

Everything but the honey and dried fruits gets mixed up and spread out over two cookie sheets. Bake at about 330 for about 10 minutes and toss to ensure it toasts evenly. Bake another 7-10 minutes and remove from the oven. Toss with dried fruit and warmed honey. Cool and resist picking out the toasty coconut flakes.

 

Here's a tip: make any hot breakfast grains sing by dropping a couple drops of really good vanilla in the bowl first. When the hot grains hit the vanilla it's magic.