mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: maple syrup

millet! . . .

cooked millet with zucchini and onions. . .

cooked millet with zucchini and onions. . .

Well, I’ve been reading about millet for quite some time and even bought some once. I didn’t get around to trying it out though and bought a new batch this week. It’s one of those grains like barley and brown rice that macrobiotic recipes contain every once in a while. It sounded a little bland to me though, cooking it with just plain water.

All the recipes suggested that you dry toast the millet in a pan before

raw millet toasting in the pan. . .

raw millet toasting in the pan. . .

adding liquid to cook it. So, I did that and could smell the little particles moving around the pan that was heated to medium. I made a separate broth with instant dashi and a little soy to use as the cooking broth. After toasting for about 8 minutes, I added the broth, turned the heat down and put a lid on the pot to cook and simmer the millet.

cooked millet, fluffed up in the pan. . .

cooked millet, fluffed up in the pan. . .

millet-3

Meanwhile, I cut up some onion and a medium sized zucchini, stir frying it in a little olive oil until it was cooked through, adding just a little pinch of Maldon salt. I thought this vegetable mixture might go well, served on top of the millet when the grain was finished cooking.millet-2

The other part of our meal consists of roasted butternut squash – cut pieces brushed with melted butter and maple syrup before roasting in a 400 degree oven.

butternut squash glazed with butter & maple syrup. . .

butternut squash glazed with butter & maple syrup. . .

So this is as close to macrobiotic I’m going to get tonight. I’ve been reading that it would be good to cut out all animal and vegetable oils from cooking but haven’t gotten there – at least not yet.

dscn8474All I’m hoping for is that this meal will be satisfying to eat – both with regards to taste, mouth feel and satiety of our appetites. Oh yeah, tasty would be nice too!

Postscript: Our supper was very tasty – and the flavors of the zucchini, millet and glazed butternut squash went well together. We were both pleasantly surprised!

Postscript 2: With about a cup and a half of millet left over, I’m thinking about making millet croquettes for lunch tomorrow: chopped green onion, egg, parmesan cheese, shape into balls and fry in vegetable oil until crispy on both sides.

 

beet greens galore . . . and more!

today's bounty from the Northampton Tuesday Farmer's Market! . . .

today’s bounty from the Northampton Tuesday Farmer’s Market! . . .

After staying close to home most of the summer, I took a drive out to Northampton today and visited the Tuesday Farmers’ Market. The sky cleared as I drove and by the time the market opened, the sun was out, it was dry and fairly cool.

When the bell tinkled to allow people to start selling at 1:30 p.m., I was ready to pay for my gorgeous vegetables from this one stand: an assortment of beautiful beets, a small eggplant, three shallots, a sturdy english cucumber and three tomatoes. I paid for them and then walked across the courtyard to buy a dozen eggs, an assortment of arucauna pale blue green eggs and other organic beauties.

That’s all I bought, skirting the booth laden with fresh-baked breads and avoiding the temptation of buying them or some tarts for dessert all of which sadly contain gluten and tons of sugar!

Once home, I decided to roast the washed beets, covered with aluminum foil in a layer of spring water along with oven-fried chicken thighs that I had rinsed, dried, sprinkled with flour, dipped in beaten egg and rolled in seasoned Panko crumbs. In a 400 degree oven, I figured the chicken and the beets would both take about an hour to bake/roast with our dinner hour planned for a little before six o’clock. (The chicken came out 15 minutes earlier and the beets stayed in fifteen minutes longer!)

As I cleaned up the kitchen counter, I was about ready to chuck the beet greens into the refuse bag when I decided to wash them well under running cold faucet and cut off the stems. That left the greens which I cut into thirds.

beet greens before parboiling. . .

beet greens before parboiling. . .

Looked up a couple of beet green recipes online which had the same formula: toast two cloves of garlic in olive oil, add par-boiled greens, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, squeeze a little lemon on top and serve.

Sounded pretty straightforward to me. My variation on that classic recipe was to parboil the greens first and then saute them in garlic and olive oil. Then, I added a sprinkle of Japanese Marukan seasoned gourmet vinegar and an accompanying sprinkle of maple syrup. Mixed the sweet/sour tastes with the greens and served them hot in a bowl. Yum! The dish had very mellow flavors and would be a great way to cook swiss chard too. I think that parboiling the greens first was an essential step. You couldn’t have a huge pan of fresh greens and expect it to cook down enough to add other seasonings. I drained it well and then gave the greens a couple of chops with a knife before I sauteed it with garlic et al. as described above.

Hey, the beet greens that almost got thrown away smelled like the star of the show! Here’s tonight’s dinner!

oven-fried chicken thighs . . .

oven-fried chicken thighs . . .

oven roasted beets with a little butter . . .

oven roasted beets with a little butter . . .

 

 

 

 

 

beet greens ready to eat

beet greens ready to eat

 

 

For the rest of the week, I’m planning to use the a) shallots with some thickly sliced mushrooms to go with swedish meatball stroganoff with noodles tomorrow night and  b) a small eggplant parmesan for two with mozzarella, fresh chopped tomatoes and hand-grated parmesan cheese. The organic eggs will be soft-boiled for breakfast or made into an omelet with grated Irish cheddar cheese and sauteed baby spinach & shallots later in the week for a quick supper. The cucumber will come in handy added to romaine/kale salads.

Pretty nice food for less than $12 for the veggies and $6 for the eggs, right?

 

 

 

staff of life . . .


Sometimes I can get roiling around in my head about deep life issues. That’s a sure sign to do something else, like cooking. The other day, I bought an oatmeal scone with maple glaze at a local bakery. It was one of the best things I ever ate. I looked it up online and sure enough there was a 1999 recipe for maple oatmeal scones by Ina Garten. As per usual with some of her recipes, the ingredients were so rich I couldn’t believe it: white flour, wheat flour, instant oats, a POUND of unsalted butter cut up into little bits, buttermilk, FOUR eggs, maple syrup.

Since C. was coming out for dinner and staying overnight, I thought it might be a nice treat to make the scones so we could have them with afternoon tea when she arrived. The recipe was a little tricky because, as with pie crusts, it’s important to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients so that the result is little bits of butter still showing. I did this by carefully pulsing the flours with the cut up butter in my Cuisinart and it was perfect. What was harder to do was to mix the dry and the wet ingredients together because the bowl I was using wasn’t big enough to stir everything together. So, I ended up piling the dough onto a board with pastry paper on it and gently mixing it by hand. As you know, handling dough just toughens it (as in making cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning) so I was careful just to turn it over, pressing it together gently to incorporate the dry with the sticky dough. I rolled the dough out and cut it with my old fluted round cutter and baked them in the oven. I made a maple syrup glaze, using less confectioners sugar and more syrup with a tiny bit of vanilla. Sprinkled the tops with oats as Ina’s recipe suggested.

When they were all done, I wasn’t sure it had been worth all that effort, but C. said later she thought they were one of the best things I’ve ever made (which is saying something since I cook a lot.) G. also gave them out to his family and a friend in need down the street. SHE called afterwards to thank him for the scones because they were “so delicious.” So okay, maybe I’ll make them again. The next time, I’ll use a larger SQUARE fluted cutter that I ordered on Amazon. We’ll have them when we get together over the holidays with fresh fruit salad, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese, greek yogurt pancakes with maple syrup. M. (C.’s sister) had sent us the recipe for the pancakes–and C. and I had them for breakfast on Sunday. They’re slightly tangy, super tender and out of this world!

Last week, I had also seen a recipe in a British magazine at Barnes and Noble for homemade ginger ale. It reminded me of the concept of making tisanes in England with scented geranium, lemon verbena and so on. The recipe required cooking equal proportions of honey, chopped up fresh ginger root and water, a half cup of each into a saucepan. I used more ginger root and sliced it up in very fine slivers. Boil for 15 minutes and then let cool. When ready to serve, use a pretty glass (these sweet hobnail tumblers are from Anthropologie,) fill with ice, spoon 3 tablespoons of the strained ginger syrup and stir together with very fizzy club soda. Top with fresh mint.

Although we were planning to have hot Lapsang Souchang tea with the scones, the afternoon was still pretty balmy so we opted for drinking the iced ginger ale with the scones. A nice combination as it turned out. So I thought I’d share these recipes with you today. Enjoy!