Homework #3: It’s millet time!

For my whole grain this week, I choose millet.   This required a shopping trip to multiple stores as apparently millet is something only birds eat.  Preparing the millet was pretty easy – I toasted the grains over for a few minutes, then added water, brought it to a boil, reduced heat to simmer for about 17 minutes and let it sit for 10 more minutes.

Recipe #1 Millet Porridge  (I cooked this one up separately as it involved different millet cooking instructions)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup millet
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup skim milk or 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • dried cherries
  • maple syrup or honey, to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, combine millet, water, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and raisins. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat. Drizzle with honey.

I enjoyed this alternate to my usual cereal – although I don’t know that it would keep well.

Recipe #2  Rainbow Millet Tabbouleh

I have a friend who has a gluten-free, vegan diet, and wanted to try a recipe that he could eat.  Having enjoyed learning about tabbouleh in class, I found a recipe that substituted millet for bulgar.   To make it, I mixed together the following ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups cooked millet
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper,
  • 5 green onions,
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh mint
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil,
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice,
  • 3 Tbs. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper

It’s pretty tasty!

Recipe #3 Fried Millet

I love fried rice, but have never made it. The prospect was certainly less onerous with the  millet already prepared.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 3½ cups cooked, chilled millet
  • 1 (15 oz) can cut baby corn (couldn’t find this so added leftover cucumber)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Tamari sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over high heat. Add the lightly beaten eggs and scramble them. When the eggs are cooked through, remove them from the pan and set aside.  Melt 1 more tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic, carrots, peas, and green onions and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter. As it melts, slightly reduce heat and begin adding the cooked millet, ½ cup at a time. Stirring continuously, fry the millet for about 2 minutes. Stir in the Tamari and fry for an additional minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the scrambled eggs and sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

It seems like millet might not be the best grain to store overnight.  It clumped together oddly while chilling.  I probably would want to experiment with other grains for this recipe.  That said fried [insert grain product here] is a lot easier to make than I thought it would be!

This week definitely forced me to cook differently since I couldn’t just throw together things that could be cooked up quickly.  Since I am preparing meals for just myself, I will have to experiment more to figure out the best balance between saving time with early prep, but still have variety in what I am eating.

Week 2 Assignment – Beets and Rutabaga

When it comes to veggies I usually go for the ones that are quickest to prepare (no peeling, easy to cut, fits readily into a stir fry).  So this week I tried some recipes that required more veggie prep work and methods I do not often use (specifically: mashing and using the oven for something other than cookies) After consulting a chart of seasonal vegetables in MN, I looked for recipes that included:

  • Beets: I like eating them but find their propensity to stain everything intimidating.
  • Rutabaga: I was curious what this vegetable looked like, because it has such a funny name.  Also I like mashed potatoes, and the recipe said that mashed rutabaga is better reheated.
  • Parsnip (bonus!): I unintentionally picked a recipe that called for this (new to me) veggie.

I hate shopping with a profound burning passion – so spending the extra time to track down the new ingredients wasn’t great.  It was kind of fun though to look more closely at produce I usually zip past on my way to my usual items

Recipe #1: Roasted Beets

  • 8 beets
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar  (substituted apple cider vinegar)
  • Juice of 1 large orange

Instructions:

Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler.   Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the vinegar and orange juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

This is my favorite of the recipes I tried. There was beet juice everywhere for pretty much every step, but the spices and vinegar created a unique, interesting flavor –  much stronger than what I normally eat.

Recipe #2: Creamy, Whipped Rutabaga

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds rutabagas (two small or one large vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • black pepper

Instructions:

Heat the butter in a large, heavy 4-quart pot, set over medium heat. When the butter has melted, stir in the chopped rutabaga and the garlic. Stir to coat the vegetables in butter, then sprinkle them with the salt. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the rutabaga is very tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Turn off the heat and remove the lid. Let the vegetables cool for about 5 minutes. Drop the cream cheese into the rutabaga and use a mixer to mash it into the vegetables. Add the olive oil and smoked paprika and mix thoroughly. Taste and add more salt and some black pepper, if necessary.

I lost patience with the mixer I was borrowing from my roommate (and did not really know how to use), so the final product still had some large chunks of rutabaga. Consistency aside it turned out pretty well for a first go at a mashed vegetables.

Recipe #3:  Lentil Soup with Rutabaga

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 large rutabaga, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Cook and stir olive oil, onion, carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga in a soup pot over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften, about five minutes. Mix vegetable broth into vegetables and bring to a boil. Add lentils, dried thyme, bay leaves, and parsley. Reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

I couldn’t find a couple of the ingredients at the store (fennel and golden beets), so I did without.  Most of the liquid boiled off during the 35 minutes of simmering so it was much closer to a stew than a soup.  Filling, but not a lot of flavor.

I ate roughly the same amount of vegetables (and fruits) this week – just different ones.  It can be hard to get through a bulk quantity of one type of vegetable before it goes bad, although certainly some vegetables (like the ones I purchased this week) last longer.

Home Assignment #1

I live with two roommates in a house with a smallish kitchen.  We cook separately, but share a CSA and general baking supplies.  We moved together just a few months ago, bringing independently well-stocked kitchens –i.e. we have lots and lots of spices, vinegars, etc.  My part of the household pantry doesn’t have a lot of “extra” stuff beyond the ingredients I use week to week because there isn’t space.  It reduces food waste but also the likelihood of spontaneously creative meals.

I am still transitioning out of a grad school lifestyle where I spent as little time as I could spare planning and preparing meals. In light of this, I eat roughly the same thing every day.  It makes “meal planning” easy, because I don’t have to think about what to buy at the store – I just make a list to replace the items that I ate during the past week or so.  Cereal and milk for breakfast (+ maybe fruit or yogurt), sandwich for lunch (can switch up the contents or type of bread for variety), and sautéed veggies with either pasta or rice for dinner.   I keep a stash of canned goods and frozen items for when I inevitably run out of fresh stuff before going back to the store.  It does get boring, but when I try new recipes I get tired of cooking very quickly and then end up with a bunch of leftover ingredients for which I have no use.

These are two frequent “recipes” I use – the first what my meals look like when I still have fresh stuff and the second from later in the week.

Meal #1:

olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper

a bunch of vegetables (in this case: white onion, potato, green pepper, mushrooms, and tomato)

pre-cooked chicken sausage

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I was hungry when I started making this meal, so I didn’t make a side of rice or eggs – but that could be nice.  Though single portion meals are great, I would also like to get in the practice of making larger batches of food (for some reason I rarely do this when starting from fresh ingredients).

Meal #2:

1 cup red rice

garlic, onions

1-can whole-kernel corn, 1-can diced tomatoes, 1-can kidney beans

pepper-jack cheese (cut into small pieces from a block and tossed on top of the finished meal)

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I usually cook garlic and onion in some olive oil before adding the canned goods.  I had used up all of my onions, so I threw in the last of my fresh veggies instead (some mushrooms).  I didn’t drain the cans as thoroughly as I sometimes do so meal prep took longer as I waited for liquid to boil off.  I made slightly more rice than I needed for the quantity of vegetables, so the leftovers were less flavorful than the first meal.  I didn’t get the rice stuck to the bottom of the pot!