Archive for Grains

Kaniwa and avocado salad with orange balsamic vinaigrette

I don’t have the proper keyboard to spell this ingredient correctly (missing the squiggle over the n), but it’s a new one on the supergrain scene here in America. Like most “superfoods”, it’s actually been keeping people in other parts of the world healthy for quite a long time. It’s a lot like quinoa; they are apparently cousins. It’s smaller, though very similar to red quinoa in appearance. Nutritionally, it packs the same punch as quinoa in terms of protein content and vitamins and minerals. I also read today that it’s a good source of quercetin, which might explain why I finally decided to try his new food that’s been in my pantry for quite a while. I do happen to have a little sniffle and quercetin is a natural antihistamine. So, this just might come in handy as we move I to allergy season.

Anyway, we are doing a hot kaniwa cereal at the cafe this weekend, enjoying the unique texture which I’m told is similar to grits. On the savory side, mixed with creamy avocado and the crunch of shredded carrots and cabbage, plus a little bite of red onion and topped with an orange vinaigrette, it’s really a lovely and nutritious spring salad.

I like to soak all of my grains, so I had to strain my kaniwa with a very fine mesh strainer. This recipe is written for soaked grains. However, if you choose to cook without soaking, the benefit of this over quinoa is that it does not contain the bitter saponins and therefore does not elrequire rinsing from a taste perspective.

1 cup kaniwa, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 avocado, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small red onion, finely minced (another good source of quercetin, btw)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut sugar, optional
Pinch salt

Boil the water and add salt. Add the kaniwa, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 7 minutes, stir, then remove from heat and leave covered for another 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the Avocado, vegetables, and dressing. Add cabbage, carrots, avocado, and red onion and stir to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

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Cabbage Rolls

Yum. What a comfortable, deliciously grounding and seasonal dish! I just bought local cabbage from Lucky’s and, along with some Colorado mushrooms and potatoes, this is pretty good local eating for January! There are a million ways to fill cabbage rolls, so feel free to switch up the grains, beans, or anything else about this recipe. Leftovers make great stuffing too, and serving them this way will make it feel like a whole new meal!

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 head of kale, cleaned and shredded
  • a few handfuls of mushrooms, coarsely chopped, any variety
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 large cabbage leaves, kept intact
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoey vegetable broth*

*if you don’t have vegetable broth, just thin some strained tomatoes or tomato sauce with water until it’s brothy, add salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder until it tastes good, and you are good to go!

Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the shallots and cook a couple more minutes, then add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add the shredded kale and cook until it’s just wilted. Put the rice and beans in a large bowl and pour the cooked vegetables into the rice/bean mixture. Keep the pan over medium heat, add the mushrooms, and sprinkle with salt. Cook for a few minutes without disturbing, then deglaze the pan with a bit of the broth and pour that into the rice/bean/vegetable mixture. Add the paprika, salt, and pepper and give it a taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Pour a little more broth into the pan and bring it to a boil. Place the cabbage leaves over the boiling broth, cover the pan, and let them steam for a few minutes until they are flexible enough to roll around your filling. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Now, place one cabbage leaf in a shallow pan, spoon about 1/8 of the filling into the middle, wrap the edges of the leaf around the filling, then flip it seam-side down. Repeat with the rest of the leaves and the remaining filling. Pour the broth over the cabbage rolls and bake for about 45 minutes, or until heated through. Enjoy!

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Savory Millet Risotto Cakes

There are so many bits of good news with this post!  First of all, yum.  Secondly, it’s really not risotto, but just accidentally overcooked millet, that is the basis of this recipe.  Third, since it’s just overcooked millet, it really couldn’t be any easier.  And, of course, finally, you could spice up this very, very, very basic recipe in many, many ways – with herbs and spices, with vegetables, with delicious sauces, and I’m even thinking of a sweet version with coconut butter, palm sugar, and cinnamon.

Of course, it started as an accident.  I soaked millet, then added way more water than usual, and it turned out as mush.  But, mush that was easily formed into cakes without the addition of eggs or cheese or any other binder.  Somehow this brought risotto cakes to mind.  I’ve only had risotto cakes when eating out, because of course they are just a delicious way to use leftovers and I don’t typically make risotto.  These days, since I don’t really eat dairy or eggs, I would have thought risotto cakes, which I do really like, were a thing of the past.  But, just when I was least expecting it, like leg warmers and skinny jeans, they came back upon me!  So, I decided to fry up my little millet mush patties and see what happened and was very pleasantly surprised by their crunchy outsides and creamy insides that would be so amenable to a variety of additional flavors.

While I normally cook millet by adding the grain to boiling water, in this case I’m putting the millet in cold water, then bringing it to a boil before simmering  This will make the millet even that much stickier, because it will develop the starch a bit more.

  • 1 cup millet, soaked overnight
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons ghee or olive oil, plus additional oil for pan-frying.
  • Ideas for optional additions:  caramelized onions, steamed spinach or other finely chopped greens, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, etc.

Drain soaked millet and rinse well.  Put the millet in a small-medium saucepan with the water and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and let the millet sit for about 10 minutes covered, then remove the cover and stir in ghee or oil, and salt to taste, as well as any additional ingredients.  Season to taste.  Allow it to cool until you are able to handle it.  Once it’s cooled down a bit, take large spoonfuls and press the into balls with your hands, then flatten the into patties.  You can cook them right away or refrigerate the patties until you are ready to eat them.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil, then place the patties on the hot oil and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.  Eat immediately.  Enjoy!

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Pan Roasted Shiitakes and Millet

Shiitake mushrooms are millet are, to me, a perfect match.  I haven’t exactly thought about why, but maybe it’s that the earthiness of the mushrooms is complemented by the sweetness of the millet.  Maybe it’s the slight chewiness of the mushrooms against the softness of the millet.  Maybe it’s the colors.  Who cares, really, because they are delicious together.

Both components happen to be grown in Colorado, by the way, so this is a dish that can be done with 100% local produce for most, if not all, of the year.  If you use large, very mature mushrooms, you’ll need to remove the stems, but if you get the baby ones from the Farmers’ Market, you don’t even have to trim them.  Feel free to substitute other kinds of mushrooms if you like – this is also great with a mixed bag of exotic mushrooms.  FYI – the proper way to clean a mushroom is by wiping it with a damp paper towel.  Mushrooms are porous, so if you immerse them in water, they will get water-logged.  That said, for his recipe, I give them a quick rinse and throw them immediately onto the hot pan…

  • 1/2 lb baby shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch leafy greens, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked millet (see this recipe for cooking instructions)
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil for finishing
  • Optional – a protein such as sprouted French lentils, roasted chickpeas, or grilled tempeh

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Give the shiitakes a quick rinse and put them into the hot pan.  Sprinkle with sea salt, cover, and leave them for about 4 minutes.  Move the mushrooms to the side and pour a little olive oil into the space you created.  Add the shallots and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until the shallots are soft, then add the chopped greens and sprinkle with salt.  Spread the cooked millet on top to keep some of that steam in and cook until the greens are wilted.  Turn off the heat, stir in the mushrooms, taste, then adjust seasonings.  Top with the protein of your choice and enjoy!

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Millet and Roasted Vegetables

Since I posted the injera recipe last week, I think I’ll stick this Ethiopian theme through – so next week you can probably expect a recipe for an Ethiopian stew that will bring it all together.  This will give you time to perfect your injera so you can have enjoy the full experience.

I have tried cooking millet a few times in the past and have never quite gotten the light, fluffy texture I’ve envisioned.  It always seemed like it didn’t quite cook through the middle, so there was a bit of a chalky crunch that wasn’t quite right for me.  I have been meaning to give it another try now that I am soaking all of my grains and I find that they cook so much better that way, but just hadn’t gotten to it yet.  I was inspired the other day as I was preparing an Ethiopian stew for lunch for a Kundalini teacher training session.  My new friend Ria, who is doing a fabulous job of helping me with the Market (thank goodness), told me about a yummy meal she had cooked the previous night using millet.  I happened to have a whole bunch of soaked millet ready to go into the dehydrator, so I scooped some up and gave it a try and was so happy that I did.  It was light and fluffy, mildly sweet, and delicious.  I ended up serving it with the stew and it was the perfect compliment.  Even Joshua, who hasn’t been fond of millet in the past and also isn’t partial to green split peas, which were the main component of the stew, devoured it happily.  It was a hit with my teacher trainer friends, as well, so it comes very highly recommended!

In case you aren’t very familiar with millet, it is a little, round grain most commonly used here in the US as birdseed, but popping up more as a crunchy component to baked goods, in granolas, etc.  It can apparently be gray, white, red, or yellow, but I’ve only seen yellow millet.  It is the most easily digested grain, in fact it’s the only grain that is alkalizing to our bodies.  It’s rich in B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.  Cooked, I find it reminiscent of couscous; actually, couscous was originally made from cracked millet (now it’s made from wheat/semolina flour).  It is thought to have originated in Ethiopia and I have read that injera is sometimes made from millet flour rather than teff, but is also consumed as a pilaf grain or porridge in many other cultures.

So, on to the recipe…please note that you’ll need to soak the millet for about 8 hours before you use it in this recipe, so be sure to include that time in your plan.  Also, this may be a lot of roasted vegetables for the amount of millet – I typically taste (read:scarf) a lot of the veggies while they are cooking and/or want to have some for other meals, so I’ll roast a bunch and just use what seems right in the recipe.  Feel free to use any seasonal vegetables.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli (flowerettes and trimmed stalks)
  • three medium sweet potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon berbere spice blend (or a pinch each of cayenne and fenugreek)
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup millet, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup water for cooking
  • a splash of olive oil or a bit of ghee
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower and sweet potato (without peeling) into small bite-sized pieces.  Coat vegetables generously in olive oil and stir in the minced garlic, then  spread them out on a baking tray or trays, more or less in a single layer.  Put them in the oven (no need to wait if it isn’t quite up to 375 yet).

While the veggies are roasting, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the ghee and the onion and cook until the onion begins to brown, then add the ginger, garlic, and spices and cook another minute or so.  Add the water and bring it to a boil.  Rinse the soaked millet and add it to the pot once the water boils, then cover the pot, turn the heat to medium-low, and let it cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.

When the millet is done, fluff it with a fork and replace the cover.  When the vegetables are soft and browned, stir them into the millet.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Enjoy!

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