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Archive for the ‘Whole Grains’ Category

There is a reason that street foods are eternal and craved relentlessly; they’re just damned good.  When you load your diet with legumes, you’re always after new ways to be creative with them.  In my opinion, the queen bean is without a doubt the garbanzo.  Call it ceci, chickpea or Bengal gram, it’s still the reigning sovereign of many vegan’s diets and a favorite of omnivores the world over. 

Here I celebrate and pay homage to panelle, a Sicilian street eat that is traditionally served as a simple sandwich filling on a bun.  One of the reasons that I love panelle so much is because, when pan-fried and warm,  it has that contrasting textural thing going on with the crispy edges and a velvety soft interior.  It is, hands down, a great sandwich.

Panelle [Chickpea Polenta]

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Directions:

Slowly add broth to the flour while whisking to avoid lumps.  Add in the oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring the entire time.   (It does not need to boil and shall spit molten chickpea lava at you if you do let it boil, so be careful.)  It is going to be very thick once finished but you want it to have that consistency because you want a substantial texture for a sandwich filling.

Transfer panelle to a non-stick pan and tamp down with a spatula. (I used a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil.)  Place into the refrigerator until chilled solid.  Invert onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.  You can either pan fry in oil (as is traditional) to crisp it up or do as I did and simply give a quick spray of olive oil to each slice and place in a pan until the sides are golden.

As always, my predilection for the savory-sweet combination shines through here.  I like to add a nice slather of apricot jam to my panelle sandwich, though it’s entirely up to you how you wish to assemble your own masterpiece.

 

[This slightly-modified post/recipe was originally published at VelvetPark last year.  I wanted it here, on my personal blog, because it is one of my favorites and I felt it was important to include it here in my collection/index.]

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This is a simple and delicious rice dish that’ll become a favorite.  It has wonderful flavors and a variety of textures that keeps it interesting until the last bite.  It also just happens to contain some ingredients that are powerful antioxidants/anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, chile peppers, and ginger.

 

Lime Rice

[Serves 4]

Ingredients:

1 cup brown basmati rice

⅓ cup raw cashews

¼ cup yellow split peas

2 spring onions, sliced

1 T fresh ginger, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 T unsweetened dried shredded coconut

½ tsp turmeric

Juice and zest of one lime

1 dried chile [I used a Chile de árbol]

2 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

Rinse rice and split peas under running water in a colander.  Drain well and transfer to a heated pot on the stove over medium high heat.  Add the chile pepper.  Stir frequently until the rice begins to dry and pop.  Add water to cover by a couple of inches.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Drain in a colander.  Reserve the chile pepper.

Return the pot to the stove and add the coconut oil.  Sauté the onions, ginger, garlic and finely diced reserved chile pepper for a couple of minutes.  Add the turmeric, dried coconut and lime zest.  Add the cooked rice and peas, cashews and lime juice.  Stir until the rice is well coated.

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The New Black

…is an ancient black.  Forbidden rice not only has all the nutritional goodness you find in brown rice such as a high fiber content and B vitamins, it’s also packed full of anthocyanins.  Bite per bite the rice contains more of these antioxidant flavonoid pigments than blueberries.  It’s satisfyingly chewy in texture like my beloved short-grained brown rice and tastes wonderful.  We have rice or grain bowls for meals on a regular basis and usually steam some kale and another vegetable [carrots in this example] and then add a wonderfully flavorful sauce to the mix.  Bowls also make fantastically easy and filling lunchbox meals.  Here is a quick and tasty gingered carrot sauce that’ll flavor up any bowl or steamed vegetable.

 

 

Gingered Carrot Sauce

Ingredients:

16 oz carrot juice

2 T sake

1 T light miso

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

2 tsp freshly minced ginger

1 T cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

Directions:

Reduce the carrot juice by half over medium heat.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add the cornstarch slurry a tablespoon at a time, allowing the sauce to come to a simmer in between additions until you achieve the consistency you desire [1 T of the slurry was perfect for me].

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This soup will play with your tongue in an amazing way.  The raw tahini [still rich in calcium because the seeds were unhulled] is an integral component that adds a luxuriant richness to the broth.  It has become one of my favorite soups to make because of  its compelling  flavors, wonderful texture and, importantly, because it’s so easy to make.  It literally takes 5 minutes to whip up this soup broth.  I know that come summer, when we’re out hiking and biking all day long, this raw soup broth will be a lifesaver when it comes to time and a meal that we’ll look forward to often.

Silken Tahini Miso Soup 

This soup broth can be kept raw if unheated and enjoyed at room temperature or cold.

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

½ cup light miso [I use South River miso products because they’re beyond fantastic.]

¼ cup raw tahini [Artisana makes an outstanding raw tahini.]

¼ cup soaked almonds [Soak for at least 4 hours in filtered water; overnight is fine.]

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 ½ T nama shoyu

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 lemongrass stalk

½ inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove

1 cup baby spinach leaves

½ cup zucchini, diced

½ cup carrot, diced

½ cup diced red bell pepper, diced

*sprouted wild rice, optional [Simply soak wild rice overnight in filtered water and then drain.  Place into a nut milk bag and rinse twice daily for 5 days.]

Directions:

Place the soaked almonds, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, red pepper flakes and garlic into a blender along with 4 cups of filtered water.  Blend until smooth.  Strain through a nut milk bag or fine cheesecloth into a pot large enough to accommodate the soup.

Whisk in the raw tahini, miso and nama shoyu until homogenous.

[At this point, you have a lovely raw, silken and incredibly flavorful soup.  If you dig completely raw vegetables, then simply add the diced vegetables and serve as is.  I prefer to have some of  the vegetables quickly blanched to give the carrots a slightly softer texture and to remove the raw squashy flavor of the zucchini.]

Into a pot of simmering water add the diced carrots.  Set the timer for 2 minutes.  At the one minute mark, add in the diced zucchini.  Drain and place into a bowl of ice water to quench the cooking.  You want the vegetables to maintain their crispness and not continue to cook.

Into each of two bowls, place ½ cup of spinach leaves, ½ of the diced red bell pepper and ½ of the blanched vegetables.  Pour half of the soup [warmed on the stove top or room temperature to maintain the raw state] over the vegetables and serve immediately.

As an optional ingredient, you can add in some sprouted wild rice for a nice textural contrast while still keeping it raw.

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I’m not a baker, which is odd considering how many years I spent working in laboratories weighing and measuring precise amounts of reagents to incorporate into an experiment.  Thing is, when it comes to food, I really just like to wing it.  I take a bit of this and a bit of that and toss them together to make something that tastes really good.  I’d heard that Essene bread was really easy to make and basically just required mashing together some sprouted grain and then tossing it into the oven to bake.  Sounded like just the kind of baking I might enjoy;  there was truth in that notion.

This bread is amazing, in my book.  Not only do you get the goodness from using sprouted grains which changes the entire chemical nature of grains making them more digestable and lower in gluten, but the texture was exactly what I love in bread:  Hearty and moistly chewy inside and crunchy and crusty on the outside.  That little hit of saltiness from the sea salt I sprinkled atop each loaf really brought out the contrasting flavors of all the grains as well.

I’ve been  making raw dehydrated breads and they’re very nice, but these slow-cooked loaves were meant for dipping into a gorgeous stone crushed olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic and herbs and savoring each bite, slowly.  It is especially good when served warm, fresh out of the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

Sprouted Multigrain Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups grains per loaf [You could use wheat alone if you would rather.  I used a multigrain mix called Amber Waves from Sprout People that contains 11 different grains and pseudograins.]

2 chopped dates per loaf [optional]

Coarse sea salt [I used Pacifica Hawaii Salt's Blush Lava that we picked up when we were in Kaua'i this past January.]

Good quality olive oil [Bariani is a gorgeous stone-crushed and unfiltered olive oil that has become our olive oil of choice.]

Directions:

Sprout grains until the sprouting tails are about ¼ -inch long or, basically, as long as the grain itself. [Since I used a multigrain mix, I used the wheat berry as the indicator grain rather than checking each individual type of grain.  This took two days after an initial overnight soak in filtered water.  Depending upon the grains you choose and temperature of your home, the length of time may vary.]

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Rinse the sprouts and let drain until somewhat dry.  Transfer to a food processor and process until you have a sticky paste.  Transfer to a large clean surface and knead for @10 minutes.  [This dough is really sticky and I found having a dough scraper on hand was really helpful.]

If adding dates to the loaf, now would be the time to incorporate and knead them in.

Form a long loaf about a foot long and place in the oven on a non-stick surface.  [I used a Silpat sheet.]  Lightly daub some olive oil onto the tops of the loaf/ves and sprinkle a few pinches of large crystal sea salt atop.

Bake for @ 3 hours.  The bread will be moist, sweet and chewy inside and crusty and golden outside.

 

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This is a quick Mexican-style rice that we like to wrap up in a whole wheat tortilla with some seasoned pinto beans and avocado slices.  It beats the pants off that quick yellow rice that comes in a foil package on so many levels.  It’s also a great way to take leftover plain rice and morph it into an entirely different meal. 

 

Green Chile Rice

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, medium dice

1 green bell pepper, medium dice

2 cups cooked brown rice [This is a great use for leftover rice]

3T diced green chiles [I used roasted canned chiles, like Ortega for this]

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp annatto seeds [These give the rice a beautiful yellow color and distinctive flavor]

¼ cup Bill’s Best Chik’Nish Vegetarian Seasoning

1 lime

1 T neutral oil [I use rice bran oil]

Optional garnishes:  cilantro, lime wedges, radishes, green onion, jalapeno pepper

Directions:

Add the annatto seeds to the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Stir the seeds around for a couple of minutes, keeping them in the oil.  Remove the seeds from the pan and discard.  Add the onions and bell pepper.  Sauté until softened.  Add the garlic and chiles.  Cook for another minute or so.  Add the rice and Chik’Nish seasoning.  Mix well to combine.  [If your rice is leftover it may have dried out a bit in the refrigerator.  If this is the case, just add a little bit of water to moisten it back up.  I’d start with a tablespoon at a time until it’s soft again.] Squeeze the lime juice over the rice and serve hot.

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What are we thankful for this year?  For many things.  We are thankful for the presence of one another.  We are thankful for the fortune that those we love are healthy.  We are thankful that we have been graced with the ability to make better choices than at any other point in the past,  and that these choices have led to more compassionate lives with the prospect of a more healthful future.

Wild Rice and Millet Stuffing

I’ve always made a bread-based stuffing for Thanksgiving in the past but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to do that this year.  Instead, I wanted to make something earthy and, to my mind, far more wholesome and sustaining.  It also happens to be gluten-free, which gives those with gluten intolerances another option for holiday dressings.  I thought the combination of wild rice and millet would make a beautiful duo when melded together with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This dish set the tone for a gorgeous holiday meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

1 cup millet

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup hazelnuts

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

6 cups vegetable stock, divided

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add the millet to a hot pot and toast for a couple of minutes.  [You will hear the seeds beginning to pop when they’re ready.]  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the millet is light and fluffy.  This should take about 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil and add the wild rice.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Place the bite-sized pieces of beet and the quartered Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.  Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and add the celery, shallots, leek and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the fresh herbs. [I like to tie mine together with kitchen twine so that removing the stems isn’t a hassle.]  Add the hazelnuts and dried cranberries and mix well.  Add one cup of vegetable stock and reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the millet is ready, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Drain the wild rice when ready, if necessary, and add to the bowl with the millet.  Mix in the contents of the pan, removing the herb stems.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, gently fold in the roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

I served this in a roasted pumpkin.  If this is how you’d like to present this dish then you will need to get a medium-sized pumpkin and cut a round out of the top.  Clean out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.  Place the hollowed out pumpkin and the top you removed on a baking sheet.  Place into a 400°F oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin has softened.  Remove from the oven and place upon a plate.  After that it’s just a matter of filling the pumpkin with the stuffing and serving it at table.

 

 

 

Tempeh, Walnut and Roasted Pear Loaf

Roasted pear purée was the key to giving this loaf an amazing seasonal flavor and moist texture.  The ingredient list reads like a Who’s Who of healthful botanical phytochemicals, polyphenols and antioxidants as well as omega-3s.

Ingredients:

16 oz tempeh

4 pears, divided

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

8 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 T fresh rosemary, minced

1T  fresh thyme leaves

4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut 3 pears in half and core.  Place them upon a baking sheet and roast for an hour.  Thirty minutes into the roasting time, add the garlic cloves [wrapped up in some aluminum foil with a small bit of olive oil].

Sauté the leek, shallot, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the herbs and mix well.

Place the tempeh into a food processor and blend until well crumbled.  Add to the sautéed vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

Remove the pears and garlic from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted pears and garlic into the food processor and blend until homogenized.  Add to the tempeh mixture on the stove.  Add the flax meal and bread crumbs and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Core the remaining pear and cut into slices.   Line the bottom of a oiled loaf pan with them, overlapping each piece with the previous one.   Spoon out the loaf mix atop the pear slices and fill the pan.  Press down with the back of the spoon to compress the contents well.

Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool slightly and then gently invert onto a serving plate, pear side up.

 

 

Persimmon and Cranberry Gravy

I served this over some steamed green beans with roasted chestnuts [pictured above] as well as spooning it over the tempeh, walnut and roasted pear loaf.  This tart, tangy and sweet gravy tastes wonderful with savory dishes.

Ingredients:

3 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 persimmon, peeled and cut into a large dice

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of one orange

1 T while balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cranberries

Sea salt

Directions:

Place the apple juice, vinegar, garlic, persimmon, orange zest and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce volume by half [~20 minutes].  Add reduced contents to a blender and blend until homogenous.  Return gravy to the pan and add the cranberries.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped [~10 minutes].  Season to taste with salt.

 

Raw Pumpkin Custard

The notion of a raw pumpkin pie has been tugging at my brain for a long time now.  Thing is, I wasn’t in the mood for a high caloric raw pie crust full of nuts and dates and such things after having such a large meal, so I opted to simply make the filling.  It’s all anyone ever really eats anyway, right?

Ingredients:

a small sugar pumpkin [mine yielded ~2 cups peeled pumpkin flesh]

one young Thai coconut [mine yielded ~1.5 cups coconut meat]

coconut water from the Thai coconut

6 medjool dates, soaked and pitted

¼ cup almond meal

4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 T fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

½ vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Suggested garnishes:  raisins, almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, citrus zest, freshly-grated nutmeg, cinnamon

Directions:

Seed and peel the pumpkin [I reserved and roasted the pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish].  Cut into a medium-sized dice.  Set aside.

Hack into the coconut [Great how-to video here], reserving the coconut water and flesh.  Set aside.

Add the pumpkin, dates and coconut flesh to a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the coconut water to aid the blending until you get a thick but smooth consistency, remembering that you can always add more liquid but can’t remove it.

Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds with the back of a paring knife.  Add to the food processor along with the other spices.  Blend well.  Add the almond meal, ginger,  lemon zest and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth.   Add agave syrup to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

The almond meal will help to thicken the pumpkin pudding just as the coconut water will loosen its consistency.  You can adjust this to your tastes as you wish.

This is really nice served with a ginger cashew cream like the one I made here, and garnished with raisins, zests, nuts and seeds.

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