Category Archives: grains

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Vegetable Khichuri-Curry or This Thing I Made Up

I first read The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni about eleven years ago.  The most vivid and lasting impression was not of a great story (though it is fair) or of any particularly endearing characters, but of the feeling of having feasted on her words.  I’m pretty sure this woman loves food.  The story, in which the characters travel a vast swath of India, is absolutely saturated with mouth watering descriptions of hot, crispy onion pakoras, creamy mango lassi, dal, sparkling sugared candies, aromatic tea, and on and on.  One of the meals that has a starring role is a khichuri, a meal made in poverty that becomes touched with a bit of magic, and has stuck with me (obviously) until now.

Let me stop right here and say I have no experience with Indian food.  When I first read the book, I’d never even had the Anglo-Indian version, the generic curry.  The Japanese steak house was about as exotic as things got growing up in my household.  I’m calling this recipe a khichuri because the base is a mix of rice and lentils and a curry because I’ve whacked in a load of things like coconut milk, tomatoes, and spices, but it really is just this thing I’ve smooshed together.

I started as I would a risotto: oil, aromatics, and rice, and built from there.  Again, making zero claims to cultural authenticity in either ingredients or technique.  If you are doing an allergy elimination diet similar to mine this recipe is a great option (if you are testing for a nightshade allergy, this is not for you).  I feel like this should be almost infinitely adaptable.  If you try any different combinations, substitute in different ingredients, let me know in the comments.

Have you ever read a book that left you jonesing for a special food?  Another of mine is The Pickwick Papers (Dickens); it always makes me want a picnic with cold chicken and cheese and pickles and things (basically, Feast).  What are some of yours?

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Vegetable Khichuri-Curry

serves 4-6 depending on how greedy you are

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion
  • 1 1/4 C rice (we used brown Basmati rice)
  • 3/4 C green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, cubed
  • 1 large zucchini (courgette), cubed
  • 1/4 C tomato sauce or puree
  • 2 C vegetable stock
  • 10 oz coconut milk
  • 1-2 C spinach leaves
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne (you’ll be surprised how far it goes!)
  • salt
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat oil, garlic and onion until fragrant and onion is releasing some moisture.
  • Turn on hood fan. . .seriously.  Add spices and a generous sprinkle (1/4 tsp or thereabouts) of salt.  Cook off until onions have softened and spices are toasted.
  • Add rice, and stir to incorporate with spiced onion/garlic mix.
  • Add zucchini and tomato, and another 1/4 tsp of salt, and stir, scraping up as many of the good bits stuck to the bottom of the pan as you can.
  • Add veg. stock, coconut milk, and tomato paste, and give it a good stir.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, add lemon juice, lentils, and spinach.  Cook for a final 15-20 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt (or other things) as you see fit)
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

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Happy Herbaceous Grain Salad via One is Hungry

Happy Herbaceous Grain Salad

Hello all!  A very, very late happy New Year to you.  How are you; how is 2015 treating you so far?  We are doing A-okay.  Can we talk for just a moment about the revelation that is January in Tampa?  It is pretty magical.  For the most part it is blue skies, sunshine, and 70 degree days. Here, people take down their Christmas decorations to hang pirate flags and Gasparilla wreathes.  That’s right, this weekend we will experience part one of our first ever Gasparilla!

We’ve been spending our time getting better acquainted with the area, and getting to know some of our fellow. . .Tampons?  :)  What in the world do you call people from Tampa?  Tampites, Tampians, Bay Dwellers?  Anyway, we’ve been meeting people.  We recently had a potluck dinner with two of J.’s co workers and their families.  The food was fantastic and there were littles running amok to keep things lively. Our contribution was a gigantic Greek-ish quinoa salad (if a salad based on a seed that comes from the Andes mountains can be in any way Greek).  Recipe requests were made, so I thought I’d share with everyone at the same time.

Happy Herbaceous Grain Salad

As I said, for the dinner party I made this dish with quinoa as the base.  My intention was to do the same for this post however, my inattentiveness led to a happy accident.  I had grabbed, soaked, rinsed, and drained my quinoa before I realized it was not quinoa at all, but millet. Good news: equally delicious, so I continued on as planned. A quick note if you decide to do millet instead of quinoa, my inadvertent soak and rinse didn’t hurt anything, but usually when cooking millet, I would just toast the dry grain before adding liquid, as in the recipe from this post.

Doing the Allergy Elimination Diet?  By changing the feta into avocado, the pistachios to seeds, and the raisins into chopped grapes (or sulphite-free raisins), you can totally embrace this salad!

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serves 4-6

Ingredients

1  C quinoa or millet

2 bay leaves

kosher or sea salt

1/2 cucumber

1 large carrot

zest and juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons

1 1/2 C tightly packed herbs, chopped ( I used flat leaf parsley, cilantro, and mint.  Basil or oregano would be really nice too.)

3 TBS – 1/4 C golden raisins

1/2- 3/4 C crumbled feta

1/2 C kalamata olives

*banana peppers (I couldn’t find any at the store, but I think they would be fantastic)

Directions

Soak quinoa, rinse and drain.  Place in saucepan with 1 1/4 cups of water, two bay leaves, and 1/4 tsp salt.  Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low.  Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.  Check to see that all water is gone and quinoa fluffs dry with fork.  When cooked, spread in tray or platter to cool.

Quarter lengthwise, and slice carrot and cucumber.  Zest and juice lemon.  Roughly chop herbs.  Pit and chop olives.  Cube feta.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and fold to incorporate.  Taste for seasoning.  I know everyone hates to be told that, but I can’t possibly know how salty your olives or feta are, so you are just gonna have to taste as you go!  Top with chopped pistachios.

*If it will be some time before you serve, consider adding the herbs just before eating.  The acid of the lemon juice and the bruising of being chopped can cause the herbs to change color.

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catching up over chocolate-ginger granola with buckwheat

Hello again.  Given my record of inconsistent posting, it no longer even makes sense to apologize for/explain being away so long; I’m going to assume the privilege of an old friend and pick up where we left off.

We are in Tampa!  We have been living here for two and a half months now, and the change has been really good. In fact, aside from discovering new depths of incompetence in a certain government contracting company that shall remain nameless, and missing a few very dear friends, it has been a great experience.  We are roosting in a sun-filled apartment within walking distance of the bay.  A quick glimpse from our windows would easily fool you into thinking we live in a tropical jungle. windowview Every chance we get we stroll down to the water to watch sting rays, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and dozens of fish whose names we don’t know.  Yep, in case you have been wondering, runners of Tampa, we are that annoying couple walking really slowly, hanging over the balustrade, soaking it all in, while you are pounding the pavement.  Give us time.  We may eventually become jaded to 70 plus degree November days, and seeing the sun glint diamonds off of the waters of the bay. . .but I hope not! doublestingray We spent a disappointing month shopping the local grocery stores to find them filled with really expensive produce that is often already going bad on the shelves, or, alternately, completely under-ripe and flavorless.  I’m not just talking one store, I’m talking every store (yes, I’m talking about you Whole Foods, Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Fresh Market).  We were throwing away a shameful amount of food because it was spoiling before we could use it. In the last two weeks I finally made it a priority to seek out some alternatives; the results were surprising!  There is a farm hidden away on a cul-de-sac in south Tampa where you can get fresh eggs, raw milk, fresh from the hive honey, and so much more, on the honor system.  I want to do a full post on this place soon, but if you are in the Tampa area and want to see for yourself, it is South Tampa Farm at 6101 s. 2nd st. Tampa, Florida 33611. there is a produce wholesale shop that welcomes retail customers (Sanwa Farmer’s Market) and a pretty cute veggie stand just down the road on Swann.

My mom came for a visit and took us to the 5th annual veg-fest, after which we went to a nearby power plant to see the manatees that collect in the heated waters at its base. famvegfest I had a whirlwind day at Disney with one of my very best friends and her kids, and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it more than any of the littles!  I have no shame in being an adult disney lover. . .the magic is real.  Thank you J.S. for sharing the nugs with me; it was wonderful being Aunt Brandy again for a day!

And, finally, I made a recipe I would love to share with you today.  Based on the fantastic Sarah Britton’s Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola, this version is lighter on oil, and has a kick of heat courtesy of my spicy friend, ginger . parfait2

Chocolate-ginger granola with buckwheat

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat (I found this in the bulk bins at whole foods)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 dates, pitted and soaked in 1/4 cup milk of choice or water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a blender combine dates and their soaking milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, ginger, and cocoa powder.  Combine until mostly smooth; thin with extra milk of choice if needed (warm before adding).
  • Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, mixing to evenly distribute.
  • Pour chocolate mixture over dry ingredients and fold until evenly coated.
  • Press evenly onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in oven
  • Cook for 30 minutes, check and turn/stir as needed if outer edges begin to burn.  As sarah b. says, tasting the hazelnuts is the best way to tell when this granola is ready.
  • Cool completely before storing in air tight container.

 

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Black Rice Jewel Box Salad via www.oneishungry.com

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad

For a whole host of reasons, we are not having a Christmas tree in our condo this year.  First, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we only have half a floor.  Second, we are making a long visit home to the land of cotton blossoms for the holidays.  Third, there is a distinct possibility that I am allergic to them (usually that would not be a factor for consideration, but this year, as my doctor put it yesterday, I’m already behind the eight ball!).  Finally, all of our Christmas decorations are in storage, as we eagerly anticipated the possibility of having sold our condo by now.  By the way, yes, the whole losing our floor bit really put a damper on our plans to get this place on the market in a hurry.  On the plus side, we know we will be passing on a mold-free, beautifully re-floored and re-doored apartment to the eventual owners, and that is a nice, cozy feeling!

Because we don’t have any holiday decorations up, my soul has been longing for some traditional seasonal color and sparkle.  Say hello to Christmas on a plate!

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad via www.oneishungry.com

Aren’t the colors gorgeous?  We had a bit of black rice left over in the pantry from the last time we made Broiled Salmon with Spicy Greens and Black Rice, and green beans that didn’t all make it into this fabulous dish.  Tiny clementine segments and small diced red onion are fantastic, but the star on top is the pomegranate seeds.  Breaking into the luscious, glimmering interior of a pomegranate is an aesthetically satisfying experience for me.  You can see why some scholars believe the fruit in the  garden that tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple, but this glorious jewel box of an hundred rubies.

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A light vinaigrette to pull all the flavors together, and your salad is complete.  We had ours with garlic crusted lamb chops; how would you serve it?  Do you have a food that sings “Happy Holidays” to your soul?  Leave a note in the comments below, and tell me all about it!

This recipe is great for those on the Allergy Elimination Diet. IF you are testing for citrus (i.e. have eliminated citrus from your diet) be sure to substitute another fruit or veg. for the clementine slices!  Fresh carrot slices would give the same beautiful color and a fantastic crunch to boot!  This salad opens itself to a world of easy substitution; play around and make it your own.

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad

serves 4-6 as a side

Salad

2 cups of cooked rice, cooled slightly

1/4 of a small red onion, small dice

2 clementines (or carrots), segmented (or slices)

handful of fresh green beans, sliced on the diagonal

pomegranate seeds

Vinaigrette

1 Tbs sherry or red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp maple syrup

2 1/2 Tbs olive oil

Assemble salad. Place vinegar and salt in mason jar or bowl, and agitate until salt has dissolved.  Add mustard and maple, and shake or whisk to combine.  Now add oil, and shake it like a piggy bank!

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Maple-roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon Risotto

Here in mid-November, dark night falls at 5:30 pm.  The quality of the sunlight has changed to a pale, mellow, slanting light from the harsh glare of summer.  Christmas songs keep floating through my mind, to be fought off until the end of Thanksgiving.  I want to cherish each moment, not rush blindly through the holiday season, only to feel exhausted and disenchanted by New Year’s Eve.

In that vein of slowing and savoring, I offer you a warm, cozy meal that combines many of the flavors I associate with  the late fall-come winter season.  This maple roasted pumpkin and crispy bacon risotto is fabulously rich and creamy and meaty tasting.  It is so luscious, indeed, that I recommend serving it with a bright salad (perhaps with orange slices and a pomegranate vinaigrette) to help clear you palate, allowing you to fully luxuriate in each delicious bite.  The colors of all the different elements of this dish are beautiful.  Take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of what you are cooking (you have to look at it anyway, so you might as well enjoy it!). maple-roasted pumpkin and crispy bacon risotto at www.oneishungry.com

If this is your first risotto, and you feel a bit nervous, check out this post where I talk about some of the hows and wherefores of making a basic risotto and why it really isn’t that intimidating.  So, I implore you to try this, in a hearty bowl before the fire, at a small dinner with friends, or maybe even as a new side for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Trust me, your taste buds and sun-starved soul (for those of us in the dark lands) will thank you!  Not sure what to do with left over pumpkin?  Try throwing it in with your morning oatmeal along with some pecans, or pureeing it to add to yogurt or your favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  This really is the meal that keeps on giving!

Maple- roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon Risotto

inspired by Donal Skehan

makes 4-6 (or 7) mains, or many, many sides!

Ingredients

1 small pumpkin, halved, seeds removed (and saved for roasting!), peeled and cubed- this recipe will use roughly 2-2.5 cups of roasted cubes

2 tsp maple syrup

6-8 pieces of bacon

olive oil

4 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 cup of white wine

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 sage leaves

1 small to medium red onion, small dice

2 cups Arborio rice

3 tsp butter

3/4 to1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large pan, lined with parchment, toss pumpkin cubes with maple syrup.  Roast in oven until beginning to carmelize and soften, but not mushy.  Check at 20 minutes.  When done, remove from oven, transfer pumpkin to clean plate and place bacon on parchment.  Return to oven and bake until crisp (even if you are a soft bacon person.  the crispness makes it easier to crumble in the final stage).

In a small pan bring stock to a simmer.  Heat wine separately.  In a large pan over medium heat add one tablespoon of olive oil, and sautee onion, garlic, and sage until onion just begins to soften.  Add pumpkin, and continue to cook until onions are soft and translucent.  Return all ingredients to pumpkin plate.  Return pan to stove; add more oil if necessary.  Add rice, and stir to coat each grain with the fat.  Over medium heat sautee rice until it begins to become translucent and give off a warm, toasty fragrance, roughly five minutes.  Add pumpkin and onion mix back to the pan, and continue cooking for about two minutes, then add heated wine (if the wine is cold it will shock the rice causing the outside surface to flake while the inside remains hard).

When the wine has evaporated, increase the heat to medium high and begin to gradually add the simmering stock,one ladle at a time, stirring constantly from this point on. Before the liquid has completely absorbed add more stock. Continue the cycle of stock and stir for 15 to 20 minutes until four cups of the stock have been absorbed. Taste to see if the risotto has reached a desired level of doneness. If you like yours a bit less al dente, add and cook down remaining 1/4 to1/2 cup of stock. Remove from heat; add butter and parm. regg. and stir till smooth and creamy.  Plate, crumble bacon over each portion, and serve immediately.