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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Rice/Beans/Grains/Seeds

TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Grains As A Soup Garnish

When we have leftover cooked grains—barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, rice, etc.—we start using them the next morning in breakfast omelets. By the time lunch comes, we’re ready to make grain salad.

If we don’t have enough for a salad, we add the grains to soup. They can make quite a handsome garnish, and most grains go with any type of soup.

In the photo, Brazilian steakhouse chain Texas de Brazil topped a mound of rice with a shrimp garnish.

But you can use the grain plain, with a simple sprinkling of green herbs or something equally colorful (halved cherry tomato, sliced jalapeño or bell pepper).

Or, take the occasion to use up leftover proteins to top the grain: bacon, fish, seafood, poultry, steak. It’s a great way to repurpose small bits of leftovers you can’t do much else with.

Vegetarians can substitute a cube of grilled tofu, a cherry tomato, olive or leftover steamed vegetables.

And, you can use leftover beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) instead of the grains.

Whatever you choose, a sprig of green—shredded basil (called chiffonade) or a small basil leaf, rosemary or parsley sprig, cilantro, chives, chopped green onions (scallions) or microgreens–is the final crown on what started out as a conventional bowl of soup.

 

lobster-bisque-rice-garnish-texasdebrazil-230

Turn rice into a base for even more garnishes. First mound the grain in the center of the bowl, then carefully pour the soup around it. Photo courtesy Texas de Brazil.

 
It’s a nice change from croutons.

Here are 20+ more ways to garnish soup.

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Enjoy Tofu Fritters

Some people wrinkle their noses at the suggestion of tofu. It’s bland, they say. But it’s only bland if you don’t know how to cook it. In a good recipe, tofu becomes healthy comfort food.

So today’s tip is to try one of these recipes for tofu fritters—hot comfort food on a cold day. If you decide you like it, great: It’s an inexpensive, lower-calorie and earth-friendly source of protein.

AGE TOFU

Short for agedashi tofu and pronounced AH-gay DOE-foo (in transliteration, tofu is sometimes dofu), these hot tofu fritters have us hooked. Silken tofu is cut into cubes, which are lightly dusted with potato starch or cornstarch and deep fried until golden brown. The result is a crisp outside with a creamy, soft inside.

The tofu is served with a hot tentsuyu broth (dashi, mirin and and soy sauce)—sometimes coming to the table in a pool of broth-like sauce, sometimes with the broth served on the side. The tofu arrives garnished with finely chopped green onion, grated daikon, dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and sometimes grated ginger.

The tofu soaks up the broth, and along with the garnishes, becomes a complex layering of delicate flavors. If you like spicy, you can add shichimi togarashi, a blend of seven spices including hot red pepper (togarishi) and sansho pepper pods.

   

agedashi-tofu-justonecookbook-230

One of our favorite comfort foods: age tofu. Photo courtesy JustOneCookbook.com.

 

This recipe is adapted from JustOneCookbook.com, where you can see the step-by-step preparation in photos. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

RECIPE: AGE TOFU (AGEDASHI TOFU)

Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 1 block (14 ounces) silken tofu/soft tofu
  • 4 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  •  
    For The Sauce

  • 1 cup dashi stock (make it with dashi powder, available at Asian markets or online; use kombu dashi if vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  •  
    For The Toppings

  • 1″ (2.5 cm) piece daikon radish, grated
  • 1 green onion/scallion, thinly sliced
  • Dried bonito flakes or grated ginger root
  • Optional: shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)
  •  

    tofu_fritters-housefoods-230

    Alexander’s Tofu Fritters. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy House Foods

     

    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the tofu by wrapping it in 3-4 layers of paper towels and placing the block on a plate. Place a flat plate on top of the tofu for 15 minutes to squeeze the liquid out.

    2. CUT the green onion into thin slices. Peel and grate the daikon.

    3. ADD the dashi, soy sauce and mirin to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the tofu from the paper towels and cut tofu into 8 cubes.

    4. HEAT 1½ inch of the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C). Coat the tofu with potato starch/cornstarch and deep fry until the cubes turn light brown and crispy. Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.

    5. PLACE the cubes in a shallow individual bowls and top with the garnishes. Pour the sauce into the dish or serve on the side.

     

    RECIPE: ALEXANDER’S TOFU FRITTERS

    This recipe is from Alexander Weiss, season one winner of “MasterChef Junior,” FOX’s hit cooking competition series for kids. Alexander makes tofu fritters with a different flavor profile: smoked paprika, chili flakes and red bell peppers.

    Ingredients

  • Canola or grapeseed oil for frying
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • ½ package soft tofu, patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of smoked paprika
  • ½ cup fresh corn, stripped off the cob (or substituted drained canned/thawed frozen kernels)
  • 3 tablespoons sliced scallions, or chives
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • Optional: dipping sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT 3-4 inches of oil to 325°F in large pot or deep fryer.

    2. CHAR/BURN the skin of the peppers on all sides over a gas burner on high heat. Once done, cover the peppers in a heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to steam. Rub the peppers under cold water to remove the skin. Remove the core, seeds and white membrane and dice into small cubes. Set aside.

    3. MASH the tofu with fork in large bowl. Whisk to smooth the tofu; then mix in the baking powder and flour until well combined. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Fold in corn, peppers, scallions and chili flakes with spatula.

    4. DROP the batter into the fryer using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop or two spoons. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season as needed with more salt and pepper, and serve with a dipping sauce.

    5. DIPPING SAUCE: We whisked the recipe ingredients—chili flakes, paprika and scallions, salt and pepper—plus a spoonful of tomato paste, into plain Greek yogurt.
     
    Find many more tofu recipes at House-Foods.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Green Tea Rice

    If you like green tea, have you ever tried cooking with it? An easy way to start is with this Green Tea Rice recipe from Bee Yinn Low of Rasa Malaysia, a website that features easy Asian recipes.

    The recipe illustrates how green tea is not just for drinking but for adding flavor and nutritional benefits (antioxidants!) to everyday dishes.

    Bee Yinn Low uses Oi Ocha brand’s shincha tea in her cookng. Shincha is the year’s first harvest of green tea, which begins in early April. The young leaves used to brew shincha tea has even more benefits than other green teas, the result of wintertime dormancy. They deliver smooth umami flavor plus four times the amount of the amino acid L-theanine, higher concentrations of catechin antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s also lower in caffeine than regular green tea, with a subtle sweetness attributed to the higher content of L-theanine and the lower content of caffeine.

    In Japanese, “shin” means new and “cha” means tea. The tea is available for only a few months a year, but is still available on Amazon.com and from the manufacturer, Itoen.com. Think it as the summer ale or Beaujolais Nouveau of green tea.

       

    green_tea_rice-rasamalaysia-230

    Green tea rice. Photo courtesy Rasa Malaysia.

     

    oi-ocha-shincha-green-tea-itoen-230

    Shincha green tea. Photo courtesy Oi-Ocha |
    Itoen.

     

    RECIPE: GREEN TEA RICE

    Prep time is 5 Minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 cup cooked steamed rice (we prefer jasmine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup shincha (or other plain green tea)
  • Garnish: thinly sliced scallions
  • Garnish: 1/2 teaspoon toasted white and black sesame seeds
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING the green tea to simmer in a small sauce pan. Add the salt and turn off the heat.

    2. PLACE the steamed rice in a large shallow bowl. Top with the scallions and sesame seeds. Pour the green tea over the rice and serve immediately.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Risotto

    pumpkin-risotto-andrea-watman-230

    Pumpkin Risotto. Photo courtesy Zabars.

     

    The Italian mother of a friend always serves pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin risotto at Thanksgiving, along with the turkey. In addition to combining traditions, they offer a bonus: enticing vegetarian options for people who won’t eat the turkey.

    This pumpkin risotto recipe is from Zabars’ late, great creative director, Andrea Watman. For a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

    Andrea makes the recipe memorable by serving individual portions in scooped-out small pumpkins, but you can go the traditional route and bring the risotto to the table in one serving bowl—or scoop out one larger, prettier squash like a buttercup or kabocha (see the photo below and check out the different types of squash).

    In terms of the pumpkin cut up for the risotto, Andrea suggests that you can use a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, cheese pumpkin pumpkin or butternut squash. (But for pies and desserts, The New York Times’ Melissa Clark tested different pumpkins and squash and gave a hands-down recommendation to butternut or acorn squash. Here’s the full article.)

     

    The risotto can be made as a main course, you can add mushrooms and even sausage meat (for a non-vegetarian version). Andrea’s recipe is easy to make. “Get ready to take a bow,” says Andrea, “because this is a crowd pleaser.”

    Here’s a more complicated pumpkin risotto recipe from Pom Wonderful, which uses pomegranate juice and arils.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN RISOTTO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 small pumpkins (for serving)
  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 cup mushrooms, sliced/diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Garnish: 4 ounces shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Optional garnish: fresh sage leaves, whole or chiffonade
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F.

    2. NEATLY CUT the tops off of the six serving pumpkins; remove the seeds and fibrous strands. Place the serving pumpkins and the pumpkin tops on a baking sheet. Lightly coat the inner flesh with olive oil (we used olive oil spray). Bake for 15 minutes; the skin will begin to wrinkle. Don’t overbake the pumpkins or they won’t hold their shape.

    3. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut up the medium pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibrous strands and peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut into cubes and add to the boiling water. Cook as you would potatoes for mashing, about 20 minutes.

    4. DRAIN well; mash with 1 stick of butter. Do not add salt or pepper.

     

    pumpkin-risotto-berlucchi-61-franciacorta-230sq

    You can use a larger squash such as kabocha (shown) as a serving bowl. Photo courtesy Berlucchi ‘61 Franciacorta.

     

    5. HEAT the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan and sauté the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms until tender. Do not brown.

    6. ADD the rice and stir with a wood spoon until the rice is coated. Then add 1 cup of white wine and 2 cups of stock, stirring continuously (or as often as possible) until all liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining wine and 1 cup more of stock and keep stirring. Once the liquid is absorbed add 1 more cup of stock, stir until absorbed and add the remaining stock if necessary. You want the rice to be cooked but not mushy.

    7. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the mashed pumpkin. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the remaining stick of butter and Parmesan. The rice will be almost creamy. Taste, and if you need to add salt or pepper, do it now.

    8. SPOON into the small pumpkins or a serving dish. Top with pumpkin seeds and optional sage; serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Kimchi Fried Rice

    kimchi-fried-rice-eastandwest-yotelNYC-230

    Enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
    Photo courtesy Yotel New York.

     

    Kimchi or kimchee is a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish, the most common side dish in Korean cuisine. It is also a main ingredient in many popular Korean dishes, such as kimchi stew.

    Kimchi has always been made year-round, but in earlier times it was made in larger quantities during the winter months, when fresh vegetables were few. Like many societies pre-refrigeration, pickled vegetables were a winter mainstay. Here’s more about kimchi.

    In addition to Asian markets, you can now find kimchi at natural food stores, including chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

    This fusion recipe from East & West at Club Lounge combines Korean kimchi with Chinese fried rice with a western fried egg.

    RECIPE: KIMCHI FRIED RICE WITH FRIED EGG

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup kimchi vegetables, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 bok choy stem, chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal olek)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 fried eggs, sunny side up, crispy edges, salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish: julienned green onion
  • Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ garlic in canola oil and add rice. Stir fry rice for 2 minutes, then add kimchi.

    2. STIR fry for an additional minute; then add scallions, bok choy and sambal.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper, and portion into four individual bowls or one large serving bowl.

    4. TOP with crispy fried egg(s) and green onions and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Millet, A Gluten Free Whole Grain

    Today’s tip comes from Bob’s Red Mill, where there’s always something new and delicious to discover. Our recent discovery: millet, a gluten free, ancient whole grain.

    Easily used as a replacement for rice and bulgur wheat with millet in a salad with dates and pistachio to benefit from the whole grain, gluten free and high protein goodness. The nutty sweet flavor is an added bonus!

    Millet, an ancient grain, was first farmed some 10,000 years ago in East Asia. A staple crop in Asia and Africa—then and now—it was revered as one of five sacred crops in ancient China. It’s mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Herodotus and the journals of Marco Polo.

    Millet grows well in poor, droughty and infertile soils, and are more reliable than most other grain crops under these conditions.

    It fell out of fashion in the cuisines of America and Europe, but it’s always been available in health food stores. A small, round, yellow seed, you also find it in natural food stores like Whole Foods Market, and in many general grocery stores.

    Millet has a mild, sweet flavor and cooks quickly, making it a tasty, convenient whole grain for sides, salads and stir fries. Its light flavor enables it to be prepared as a sweet or savory recipe. In addition to fiber, it’s packed with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.

    The most widely cultivated species include, in order:

       

    millet-horiz-bobsredmill-230r

    Millet, a grain to discover. Photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill.

  • Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), what you’re most likely to find in the U.S.
  • Foxtail millet (Setaria italica)
  • Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), also called broom corn millet, common millet, hog millet and white millet)
  • Finger millet (Eleusine coracana)
  •  
    Easy Ways To Enjoy Millet

  • Breakfast: Substitute millet for a bowl of oatmeal; bake raw millet seeds into breads and muffins for a healthful crunch.
  • Salad: Substitute millet in any grain salad; add a scoop as a garnish for a green salad or cooked vegetables.
  • Side: Serve millet with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh-cracked pepper and an optional sprinkle of grated Parmesan. We also enjoyed a side of millet, chopped dates and pistachio nuts.
  •  

    millet-spring-roll-salad-bobsredmill-230L

    Millet salad: Serve it as a side or top with a
    grilled protein. Photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill.

     

    RECIPE: MILLET STIR-FRY

    Use this recipe from Bob’s Red Mill to turn a simple stir-fry into something special, replacing rice with millet. You can add an optional protein (chicken, tofu, etc.).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 5 ounces canned water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING water and salt to a boil in a pot. Add millet and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes.

    2. COMBINE soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and cornstarch. Set aside

    3. HEAT oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli, carrots and water chestnuts. Cook until vegetables are al dente to tender, depending on preference, 7-10 minutes. Add millet and cashews.

    4. POUR soy sauce mix over the stir-fry and cook until the sauce is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
     
     
    MORE MILLET RECIPES

    Here are three delicious recipes from Bob’s Red Mill:

  • Millet Salad, a combination of grain and crunchy veggies (recipe)
  • Sweet Millet Congee with apples and bacon, for breakfast (recipe)
  • Spinach and Lemon Millet Arancini, fun party fare (recipe)
  •  
    Let us know what you think of millet!

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Pastilla, Bastilla, Bisteeya, B’stilla

    pastilla-moroccan-kaminsky-230

    Alluring and delicious. Photo © Hannah
    Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Pastilla, pronounced “bastilla” in the Arabic of North Africa, is a traditional Moroccan dish that crossed the Straits of Gilbraltar from Andalusia, Spain. It is transliterated from the Arabic pastilla, bastilla, bisteeya, b’stilla or bstilla.

    It all means “delicious,” says Hannah Kaminsky.

    Traditionally served as a first course of a special meal, this squab pie with flaky, crêpe-like dough is more often made with chicken these days. Fish, offal and vegetarian recipes are also made.

    In traditional recipes, the meat is slow-cooked in broth and spices, then shredded and layered in the pastry with toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar.

    “I may have never known about the wonders of pastilla, the mysterious pastry with a half-dozen different spellings, if not for the ethereal prose of Fatima Mernissi,” says Hannah. “So inspired by her lavish, unrestrained words of praise, this was my call to action, to secure a literal piece of the pie for myself.”

    Looking for a vegan substitute, she turned to chickpeas, noting:

     
    “Most curious with pastilla is the incongruous addition of powdered sugar right before serving; a light dusting of confectionery snow, frosting a decidedly savory main course.

    “Humbly, I must admit, it does work, tempering the hot, bold and intense spices without turning the pastry into a dessert. Though it could still taste equally delicious without the sugar, for those as hesitant as myself, I must urge you to just give it a shot.”
     
    RECIPE: CHICKPEA PASTILLA

    Ingredients For 3-4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14-ounces) chickpeas (1-3/4 cups cooked), drained
  • 1/2 cup coarse almond meal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8-10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Optional: confectioner’s sugar to garnish
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 6-inch round springform pan.

    2. HEAT 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar; cook for 8-10 minutes while stirring frequently, until lightly golden and aromatic. Add the ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne, cooking for a minute or two longer to gently toast the spices.

    3. ADD the drained chickpeas and almond meal, stirring to combine, before slowly pouring in the broth and lemon juice together. Cook for another minute to heat through and slightly thicken the mixture. It should be thoroughly moistened but not soupy. Season with salt to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.

    4. LAY 1 sheet of phyllo across the bottom of the prepared springform pan, allowing the excess dough to hang over the edges. Lightly brush with the remaining olive oil, and then place another sheet of phyllo on top, turning it slightly so that the points stick out at different angles. Repeat this process so that you end up with 4-5 sheets lining the pan, covering the sides completely.

     

    baklava-wiki-star-230

    This baklava, made in a star-shaped cup, shows the numerous layers of phyllo dough. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

     

    5. SPOON the chickpea filling into the center, smoothing it out so that it fills the pan evenly. If you end up with a bit too much filling to comfortably squeeze in, you can always use leftover sheets of phyllo later, to make individual parcels.

    6. COVER the filling with another sheet of phyllo, brush with olive oil and repeat the same process as before, ending up with another 4-5 sheets on top. Fold the overhanging dough back over the top, smoothing it down as neatly as you can. Give it a final brush of olive oil before sliding it into the oven.

    7. BAKE for 15-18 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pie until it is golden brown (it cooks quickly at this high temperature). Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding. Sift a fine dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top right before serving.

    THE HISTORY OF PHYLLO DOUGH

    Phyllo (FEE-low), fillo or filo is the traditional dough of the Greek, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. It is used for pastries from the sweet, like baklava (with honey and nuts) to the savory, like spanakopita (spinach and feta).

    Phyllo means “leaf” in Greek, and refers to the many tissue-thin leaves (so thin you can read through them) of unleavened flour sheets that comprise the dough. The paper-thin layers are separated by a thin film of butter.

    The earliest form of the dough was made in the 8th century B.C.E. in northern Mesopotamia, when the Assyrians made an early version of baklava, layering very thin pieces of dough with nuts and honey, and baking them in wood-burning ovens.

    The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets is believed to have evolved in the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, based on Central Asian prototypes.

    Greek seamen brought the concept home, and Athenian bakers created phyllo, the leaf-thin layers of dough, as early as the 3rd century B.C.E. Given the labor required, it was served in wealthy Greek households for special occasions.

    The dough (flour, water, oil and white vinegar) was made by gently rolling, stretching or pressing into the ultra-thin sheets. This takes time and skill, requiring progressive rolling and stretching into a single thin and very large sheet. A very large table and a long roller are required, with continous flouring between layers to prevent tearing.

    Machines for producing phyllo pastry were perfected in the 1970s. Today, phyllo is made by machine and available in the freezer section of most food stores, or fresh in some specialty markets.

    In preparation for baking, the dough is brushed with butter or oil; it must be worked with quickly as it dries with exposure to air. It can be cut into sheets and layered in a tin, cut into individual rolls or rolled up as one large roll.

    In any form, it is delicious!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Quick Quinoa “Paella”

    quinoa-paella-kaminsky-230

    A delicious vegetable “paella” of quinoa.
    Photo © Hannah Kaminsky.

     

    Paella is a Spanish pilaf traditionally made with saffron-seasoned white rice and, depending on regional preferences, different combinations of meat and seafood (here’s the history of paella and popular variations).

    Vegetarians can make vegetable paella with tofu. And in this recipe, from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes, you can replace the white rice as well with far more nutritious and quick-cooking quinoa.

    “Every last recipe packed into this carefully crafted text are all worth making, not a single bit of fluff or page-filler to be found,” says NIBBLE contributor Hannah Kaminsky.

    “One recipe that stands out is the deceptively simple Quick Quinoa Paella, an excellent example of author Nava Atlas’s skill for presenting a sound foundation that can be adapted, reinterpreted, and recreated a hundred different ways with equal success.”

    You can add a conventional proteins—chicken, duck, fish, seafood. We happened to have leftover roast chicken, and added some fresh scallops and shrimp.

    But quinoa is the most protein-rich grain, a complete protein with more protein per serving than milk (and perhaps the most nutritious food on earth).

    Prep time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: QUINOA PAELLA

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric or saffron (see note below)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • 2 teaspoons fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (14-ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Optional proteins: poultry, seafood, etc.
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil, broth, or water in a large, deep skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic, bell peppers, and mushrooms, if desired, and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    2. ADD the broth, turmeric, and quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

    3. STIR in the thyme, artichoke hearts, peas, tomatoes, scallions, and half the parsley. Check if the quinoa is completely done; if not, add 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, just until everything is well heated through, about 5 minutes.

    4. SEASON with salt and pepper, then transfer the mixture to a large shallow serving container, or serve straight from the pan. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top and serve at once.

     

    plant-power-230

    Plant Power: delicious vegan recipes. Get it
    on Amazon.com. Photo courtesy HarperOne.

     
    Saffron Or Tumeric?

    As another departure from tradition, Hannah says that you can use turmeric rather than the customary saffron of paella. Saffron is harder to obtain and very expensive; but if you have it, by all means, use it. Dissolve the saffron threads in a small amount of hot water before adding to the recipe.
     

    GET THE BOOK

    Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes,” by bestselling vegan author Nava Atlas, was published last week.

    Pick up a copy and add more plant power to your diet.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Betty Crocker Suddenly Grain Salad

    Betty Crocker Suddenly Grain Salad

    One of the three varieties of Suddenly Grain
    Salad. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

     

    If America isn’t eating enough whole grains, can Betty Crocker help?

    Hopefully, the company’s new and not-yet-mainstream boxed grain salads will do the trick.

    Following the trend of restaurants to whole grain salads—on the advice of healthcare professionals and the government to consume more whole grains—the food giant has introduced Suddenly Grain Salad, a line extension of their Suddenly Salad pasta salad line.

    Each box contains a mix of grains, seasonings and other ingredients such as dried fruits and nuts. It is easy to make, and mess free. You simply boil the grain packets for 17 minutes, then mix with the seasonings and a bit of water and olive oil.

    Then, enjoy the salad warm, room temperature or chilled; as a side dish or as a base for grilled chicken or fish. You’ve got a delicious and nutritionist-approved meal.

    The grain salads are delicious as is, but you can also add raw or cooked vegetables to amp up the salad: bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.

     

    The Suddenly Grain Salad line debuts with three flavorful varieties:

  • Harvest Grains: brown, wild and red rice and quinoa, with cranberries and almonds, and a blush vinaigrette.
  • Southwest Grains: brown rice, quinoa, black beans, corn and red peppers with a chipotle vinaigrette.
  • Tuscan Grains: brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, almonds and a tomato parmesan herb dressing.
  •  
    We were particularly enamored of Harvest grains and Tuscan Grains—which is not to disparage Southwest Grains; we just liked the flavors of the other two better.

    If you have trouble finding them, ask your grocer or look online. After receiving initial samples from Betty Crocker, we reordered them on Amazon.com:

  • Harvest Grains
  • Southwest Grains
  • Tuscan Grains
  •  
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tofu & Tomato Skewers

    tofu-tomato-skewers-nutrition.org-230

    Tasty tofu and tomato skewers. Photo
    courtesy Nutrition.org.

     

    We love mozzarella and tomatoes. Caprese salad is a favorite, along with skewers of mozarella balls with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

    But we’re also trying to eat more vegan dishes, part of our personal commitment to save the planet. (Animal methane is the leading cause of greenhouse gas.) You’d be surprised how delicious a tofu substitution can be. Try this easy recipe from House Foods, which adds a bright herb sauce for dipping.

    RECIPE: TOFU & TOMATO SKEWERS WITH HERB SAUCE

    Ingredients For 10 Skewers

  • 1 package extra firm or super firm tofu
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 10 bamboo skewers
  •  

    For The Herb Sauce

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large shallot
  • ½ bundle Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • ½ bundle cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  •  

    Preparation

    1. WRAP tofu with paper towel and place on plate. Microwave for a minute to remove excess moisture.

    2. PLACE garlic and shallot in a food processor and give it a quick whirl. Add parsley, cilantro and give it another whirl.

    3. COMBINE chopped herbs and add vinegar, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil in a bowl.

    4. CUT tofu in cubes in the same size as the cherry tomatoes. Place two tofu cubes and two tomatoes alternately on skewers. Brush tofu with the sauce and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Brush a couple more times until grill mark is shown. Brush tofu again before serving.

    5. SERVE with herb sauce.

     

    House-Foods-Extra-Firm-Tofu-230

    Use only extra firm tofu so the cubes will hold their shape. Photo courtesy House Foods.

     

    You can also make tofu Caprese salad.

    Tofu is made in a variety of firmness levels, ranging from soft to extra firm, depending on the use. Desserts and smoothies, for example, use soft tofu; grilling requires extra-firm tofu, the texture of which is similar to meat.

    House Foods’ line of Premium Tofu products that are made with non-genetically modified (non-GMO) soybeans grown in the U.S. See all of the products at House-Foods.com.

      

    Comments

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