Tag Archives: grains

Quinotto, Millotto, Farotto…

QuinottoDSC_5132We love Risotto. Treated like a delicacy in restaurants, it is fast, tasty and satisfying, we serve it quite often, and surely we will bring risotto to the Thanksgiving table.
Traditional recipes ask for peeled round grain Arborio rice. Great alternatives however, are other seeds and grains. I sometimes blend my ‘risotto’ with millet or quinoa, as they cook very fast. Another great thing to try instead of rice is soaked grains, such as Farro, which may cook a little longer. Brown rice, which needs longer cooking, should be made ahead of time, then blended it in the last stage of the risotto.
Pictured is a version of Quinotto, a variation made with quinoa, asparagus and brussels sprouts. See recipe

What are all those grains?

GrainburgerDSC_5082 Oh, I remember Grünkern. Grünkern Frikadellen were the grain burgers of the early generation Birkenstock Vegetarians in Germany. Now on my eternal quest for the best plant based burgers I find that grains make a very ‘believable’ modern burger. Different than those crumbly tasteless early Generation ones… That reminds me to look up the difference of all those kernels: Continue reading

First Holiday Flavors

SconeDSC_5046It is that Pumpkin time again… Leaves are red and yellow, temperatures just shy of freezing point and hot soups are making a comeback. Warm hugs of sugar and pumpkin spices and a warm kitchen are so comforting…  ah, pumpkin scones. When I saw this gluten free recipe I had to veganize it even though I had only sweet potatoes instead of pumpkins. I did not have all of the alternative flours either, if you have a grain container it helps to make quick brown rice or millet flour for part of the recipe. Flavorful, highly recommended and going fast. See recipe.

Calling for better breakfasts

QuinDSC_4325

What’s new? As early as in the beginning of the 19th century, US food reformers called for cutting back on excessive breakfast meat consumption and promoted healthy vegetarian cereals, such as oats, which were considered by most of the public as ‘horse food’. Despite great inventions in the last 100 or so years, not much seems to have changed in eating habits… Continue reading

Old Fashioned favorites

Simple, yet satisfying is split pea soup. Split peas are high in protein and low in fat. They contain some of the highest amounts of fiber, (26 grams of fiber per 100 gram portion,) which helps to make people feel full and satiated. Therefore split pea soup used to be the comfort food at big markets and events (with a serving of Wiener sausages). There are several recipes, of split pea soup, some sweet and pureed, some more country style. I wanted something that cooks in less than an hour and tasted as strong flavored as my mom’s soup, but with veg. bacon bits and sauteed onions instead. This recipe is for the pressure cooker. See recipe

Winter ‘shrooms

New York got hit again.  Just one week after Hurricane Sandy, we were hit by a snowstorm; we were lucky this time. With leaves still on the trees, this early snow could break trees when combined with strong winds. Cleaning up after the hurricane, we found small mushroom buttons sticking out of last year’s leaf mulch. I was delighted to have them confirmed as Blewits (Clitocybe or Lepista Nuda). Continue reading

‘Grain’ of the future

The Incas named Quinoa, the ‘Mother of all grains’, for its high nutritional value; High contents of complete proteins, fiber, magnesium and iron plus a good amount of calcium. The hardy plant that is related to beets, spinach and amaranth, also contains oxalic acid in the stems and leaves. Bitter saponins in the seeds require cooking before consumption.
2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations. Enough reason to give a closer look to this ‘superfood’. How about Sweet potato and Quinoa patties with hot sauce? See recipe

Summer Grain

We love summer. Our CSA has started delivery, music festivals and garden tours invite for picnics on weekends… and we still eat winter kale, time to make some lighter fare. There were the wheat berry salads I used to eat when working in the city. Without shopping for perfect ingredients, and using up some CSA greens, I came up with this nice summer picnic version with flavors of mint from our own supplies. See recipe here

Square meal

Polenta can be eaten as pasta. Even though Wikipedia describes the polenta cooking process as long with high maintenance in stirring, my coarse style farmer variety cooks relatively fast. Early prepared, the polenta has time to settle in the refrigerator and can be used instead of pasta with quite sophisticated sauces. I used a mushroom sauce, inspired by reading the Engine 2 cookbook. If you have leftover wine, it gives nice flavor to the sauce. However you can also just add more vegetable broth. See recipe

Pantry Cleanup

‘Shop your own pantry’ is a campaign to use overlooked food items that you have already at home to save on weekly food shopping–a healthy way to start lent and for us to empty the fridge before our vacation.
Barley, a pantry staple is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Continue reading

Polenta – new and improved


Polenta is traditional Italian peasant food. Before maize was discovered in the new world, any grain was used in the mush, closely related to porridge. Today, modern polenta is made from fine or coarse ground corn and featured in gourmet recipes and restaurants. Polenta is also used as gluten free alternative to pasta or pizza dough. Continue reading

Functional Foods

Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman Triathlete from Vancouver, BC  is also vegan. His early research in the nutritional field has been circling around how to improve performance with nutrition, by minimizing the stress that ordinary and high acidic foods may cause to the body. Brazier moved to a diet that uses naturally ‘functional foods’. Continue reading

Comfort food

Sometimes a healthy version of your favorite Chinese takeout makes a nice dinner… Today I was craving something easy and familiar such as a vegetable stir fry with garlic sauce. And did I mention the asparagus with the broccoli? Asparagus is a true happy food. Besides the legends surrounding the stalks, it is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan plus folate, both necessary for creating mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Enzymes in asparagus are also effective in breaking down alcohol in your system, preventing a hangover… See recipe

Barley Soup for the Soul

Barley as one of the first domesticated grains, was of such high importance, that it was even used as a currency, Probably the first drink developed by Neolithic humans was barley beer. Today, still good for brewing, barley is known as health food, while wheat rules as general purposes grain. When the weather turns, and noses start running, barley soup is my ‘Vegan choice for the soul’ and perfect for the pressure cooker. Here’s the recipe

Better Sweets

Ah Truffles – I have been craving sweets. Lucky if you have a food processor, that can process sticky dry mixes such as truffles. If you are not so lucky, there are ways to trick an old fashioned blender into doing the job. Try to chop everything separately in dry condition and do the soaking and blending part later by hand. Continue reading

Raw Colors at Sunset

The turning leaves let crowds flock to the Rivertowns and upstate NY in the last weekends of October and early November. Our long Sunday hike on trails around Lake Minnewaska gave us many scenic pictures. Lively fall colors were always among my favorites. For a ‘turning leaf party‘ this weekend, I made a colorful sweet root salad, Continue reading

Ancient seeds

Wild amaranth was known by hunters and gatherers throughout the whole Americas. Around 5000 B.C. the plant was domesticated in Mexico together with maize, beans and gourds and independently in other areas of South and Mesoamerica. Even Montezuma paid tribute to this important crop.  I have seen showy red amaranth plants growing wild, or as companion plant in my neighborhood. While the greens are eaten as vegetables, the seeds are harvested at a later stage of maturity.  Continue reading

Wild Things

Beech trees start blossoming after 30-50 years of age. A hot and humid summer can produce an abundance of prickly capsules holding the handsome triangular beech nuts. However not every year. As harvest is never reliable and work intense, beech nuts were never used commercially. Readily eaten by man and beast likewise during lean war times, they were roasted to reduce toxic tannins and processed to cooking oil and lamp oil. Continue reading

Bringing back summer

Grains are the basis of the food pyramid. Although we manage eating beans, grains don’t seem to fit in with anything I grew up with. As if we were to be reminded to: “eat more grains”.
Quinoa in a summer salad, a combination of sweet and savory ingredients makes a lighthearted dish. It’s bright colors feel like a southern party theme, margaritas or an outside occasion for grilling with friends. Although we are used to bold gazpachos and salsas, this salad feels different. You can add some zing with a jalapeno pepper or keep it mild. I will save the recipe for such an event. Today, it was just a nice addition to a warm day in fall.  Get the recipe