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Archive for Rice/Beans/Grains/Seeds

TIP OF THE DAY: Cooked Grains At Breakfast

Poached Egg With Whole Grains

Eggs On Rice

Baked Eggs In A Rice Nest

Poached Egg Grain Bowl

Top: Our most recent whole grain breakfast: poached egg, red rice, baby arugula, sautéed cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (photo courtesy InHarvest). Second: We’ve also eaten our poached egg with leftover white rice and veggies (photo courtesy Gardenia | NYC). Third: You can bake the egg atop the cooked grain instead of poaching it, as in this saffron rice nest (photo courtesy American Egg Board). Bottom: A poached egg with quinoa, broccoli rabe and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

 

We’re not tooting our horn after all that Valentine candy, but we’re still holding on to our new year’s resolution to eat a healthy breakfast.

We miss the bagels and cream cheese, the cheese danish, the cinnamon rolls, the weekend pancakes dripping with maple syrup. How long we’ll miss them we can’t predict, but so far, we’re still on the wagon*.

Thank goodness, because it’s National Hot Breakfast Month, and we wouldn’t want to let a food holiday down.
 
OUR NEW GO-TO BREAKFAST

We recently featured a grain bowl for breakfast (bottom photo). We’ve been eating lots of them.

We really enjoy the combination of grain, egg and veggies for breakfast; and we especially like the opportunity to use leftover grains and veggies in a most delicious way.

All we need to do is poach the egg; although we’ve skirted that too, by using peeled, hard-boiled eggs that we pick up at Trader Joe’s. (Slice or halve them and heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds.)

The recipe in the top photo was developed by Mike Holleman, a corporate chef with InHarvest Foodservice, a supplier of premium grains to restaurants and other food operations. He used red rice along with more familiar items.

Just put together these ingredients, and hold off on Chef Mike’s creamy salad dressing in favor of a light toss with lemon or lime juice and olive oil:

  • Poached egg (or baked or other style if you can’t poach well—until you pick up an egg poacher or poaching pods)
  • Baby greens and other salad fixings
  • Optional: cooked veggies
  • Whole grain (see the list below)
  • Garnish: fresh herbs (substitute dried herbs)
  •  
    LIST OF WHOLE GRAINS

    Most of us already eat grains for breakfast, in the form of cold cereal or porridge. Here are grains usually used as lunch and dinner sides, that can be part of your whole-grain breakfast.

    If you have leftover beans or lentils instead of whole grains, use them!

  • Amaranth
  • Barley (but not pearled barley)
  • Buckwheat (kasha)
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Chia/Salba®† ‡
  • Corn (whole grain corn or cornmeal, yellow or white—not grits†)
  • Farro (emmer wheat)
  • Flaxseed‡
  • Grano
  • Hemp‡
  • Kamut® (khorasan wheat)†
  • Millet
  • Oats (oatmeal, Whole or rolled oats)
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Rice: black, brown, red, wild
  • Rye (whole)
  • Spelt
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Triticale (a barley/wheat hybrid)
  • Whole wheat
  •  

    HERE’S MORE ABOUT WHOLE GRAINS.
     
    ____________________
    *The idiom “to be on the wagon” refers to heavy drinkers who are abstaining from alcohol. To fall off the wagon is to end one’s sobriety. The phrase evolved from an expression used in the early 20th-century American temperance movement, “to be on the water wagon” or the water cart, which meant that the person was sober, drinking water instead of alcohol. A horse-pulled water wagon or cart was used to hose down dusty roads. The phrase has evolved to encompass other addictions or compulsions. [Source]

    †Salba is a trademarked name for chia, Kamut® is a trademarked name for khorasan wheat. Grits are refined and are not whole grains.

    ‡These are whole grains that are used as seeds, due to their tiny size. Use them as a garnish, not as a base grain.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Americanize Fried Rice

    To celebrate the 2016 Chinese New Year, a holiday that runs through February 13th, here’s a fusion idea: a fried rice fusion of Chinese and American ingredients.

    For the home cook, the beauty of fried rice is that it is very adaptable. Like chow mein, it’s perfect for those nights when you’re cleaning out the refrigerator and want to get rid of leftover meat and vegetables.

    As a side dish, fried rice is an alternative to steamed rice. The most basic dish consists of rice, chopped green onions and eggs, stir-fried in a wok with some oil, and optionally seasoned with soy sauce or sauce.

    Fried Rice becomes a main meal by adding meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables. At Chinese banquets, fried rice is often the last dish of the main meal, served right before the dessert course.
    The oil may be seasoned with aromatics such as garlic before the rice and other ingredients are stir-fried together in a wok. Other

  • Meats often include beef, chicken, or pork; and lobster and shrimp on the seafood side.
  • Popular vegetables include bean sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, corn, mushrooms and green peas.
  • Seasonings include chiles, spices and soy sauce or oyster sauce, plus aromatics such as onions or green onions and garlic.
  •  
    HOW DO YOU “AMERICANIZE” FRIED RICE?

    You forge a path by combining anything that appeals to you—not just traditional Chinese ingredients, but your favorites from any of the world’s cuisines.

  • What’s in your fridge or pantry is unique to you. We found black beans, chicken sausage with apples, ham, hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables (including sweet gherkins), prosciutto and turkey. We even added orzo, tiny pasta shaped like grains of rice.
  • Add nuts and dried fruits. Almonds or cashews, dried apricots or prunes are a nice touch. Cashews pair well with canned pineapple chunks. “Trail Mix Fried Rice” works, as does this recipe for Pork Fried Rice with Dried Apricots & Pistachios.
  • Veggies can be the biggest “Americanization”: In addition to the popular Chinese ingredients), look at American produce. Cauliflower and roasted root vegetables go nicely. We added uncooked grape tomatoes at the very end of a recipe, and liked the freshness. Fennel and radicchio add a gourmet touch. Don’t rule anything out—with the possibility of beets, which can “bleed.” Kale fried rice, anyone?
  •    

    Chicken Fried Rice

    Shimp Fried Rice With Brown Rice

    Top: Chicken Fried Rice with diced chicken and proscuitto and chiles from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook. Second: Shrimp Fried Rice made with brown rice and dried apricots, from CalRice.org.

  • Use your favorite source of heat, from chopped jalapeños to sriracha sauce. Anchos and chipotles (smoked jalapeños) add smoky flavors. Default to fresh-ground black pepper or cayenne from your spice rack.
  • Instead of using leftover white or brown rice, try saffron rice or a more exotic rice, such as black or red rice (here are the different types of rice). You can try any leftover cooked grain, from couscous to quinoa. It won’t be fried rice, per se; but it will be good!
  • Consider a sauce or gravy. Fujian rice, a popular dish in China, is served with a brown sauce.
  • Pick an interesting garnish. In China, popular garnishes include fried shallots, cilantro, parsley, sliced chiles, or carrots carved into flowers or other shapes. We especially like cilantro and parsley, as well as fresh basil. Fresh herbs bring brightness to the dish. But you can forge that path with other garnishes. We’ve used strips of pimento as well as citrus zest (any citrus works) and sliced black olives.
  •  

    Ginger Fried Rice With Fried Egg

    Pineapple Fried Rice With Edamame

    Top: A twist from Spice Market in New York City. Leaving out soy sauce keeps the rice white. It’s topped with a fusion concept: a fried egg and crushed panko bread crumbs. Bottom: Pineapple Ginger Fried Rice from Whole Foods Market incorporates Japanese edamame, miso, brown rice and cilantro.

     

    FRIED RICE HISTORY

    While the exact origins of fried rice are lost to history, it’s believed that it was invented sometime during China’s Sui dynasty (589-618 C.E.) in Yangzhou (Yangchow), an eastern coastal province. Yangchow Fried Rice is still the standard by which all other Chinese fried rice dishes are judged, the rice tossed with roast pork, prawns, scallions and peas.

    Thanks to Rhonda Parkinson of ChineseFood.About.com for these tips on cooking fried rice.
     
    THE SCOOP ON FRIED RICE

    The key to making good fried rice is to use rice that has been previously cooked. Day-old rice is fine, but rice that is two or three days old is even better. Older rice is dryer, ensuring that the dish will be neither wet nor mushy. Long grain rice, which is fluffier and less sticky than other types of rice, is ideal.
     
    Cooking the Eggs

    There are two main techniques, and either is fine:

  • Scramble the egg and mix it in with the rice during the final stage of cooking.
  • Fry the beaten egg and cut it into strips to use as a garnish. We’ve happily substituted tamago, Japanese egg custard, for this.
  •  
    Cook The Ingredients Separately

    Each of the ingredients in fried rice is cooked separately and combined in the final stages of cooking. This is to maintain the distinct flavors of each. Simply remove each ingredient from the pan after you cook or heat it and set it aside while you cook the others.
     
    Choosing The Seasoning

    Some cooks use only a pinch of salt, believing that the flavor should come from the stir-fried ingredients. Others season the dish with soy sauce or oyster sauce. Thick soy sauce gives the rice a dark color. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

     
    You Can Freeze Fried Rice!

    Just reheat the frozen rice in a frying pan, or microwave it with a bit of broth (whatever you have—beef, chicken or vegetable).

     
    No Wok Required!

    Finally, you don’t need a wok! A deep skillet will do. We use this teflon-coated “wok pan” with a handle. We vastly prefer it to a conventional wok.

      

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    RECIPE: Pork & Apricot Fried Rice

    If you’re a fan of pork fried rice, how about whipping up a batch of Pork and Apricot Fried Rice for the Chinese New Year?

    This recipe is from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann, who serves it as a light lunch with just add a salad. You can play with the recipe and substitute other grains.

    You can roast a pork loin just for this recipe, or roast one for dinner the day before and make enough extra to use in the fried rice.
     
    RECIPE: PORK & APRICOT FRIED RICE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings
     
    For The Rice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  •  
    For The Pork

  • 1½ tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1½ pounds boneless pork loin, cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Garnish: ¼ cup pistachios, toasted (substitute chopped or sliced
    almonds)
  •  

    Pork Apricot Fried Rice

    Dried Apricots

    Top: Pork and Apricot Fried Rice from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann. Bottom: Dried apricots for the pork fried rice. Photo by Olha Afanasieva | IST. Have extra apricots? They’re one of our favorite snacks. You can turn them into candy by dipping them halfway in melted chocolate. Set them on wax paper until they dry.

     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the rice: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice looks chalky, about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple juice, water, apricots and salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is below the surface of the rice and tunnels form in the rice. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook until the rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

    2. COOK the pork: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork with the salt and pepper. In batches, add the pork chunks to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

    3. ADD the garlic, ¼ cup of cilantro, celery, scallions, soy sauce, sherry vinegar and ginger to the skillet. Stir-fry until the celery is tender, about 3 minutes.

    4. RETURN the pork to the skillet. Add the rice and stir-fry until well mixed, 3 to 5 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with the pistachios and the remaining 1/4 cup of cilantro and serve hot.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bibimbap, A Korean Classic For The Lunar New Year

    We love bibimbap (bee-bim-BOP), a signature Korean dish. It’s a variation of our currently trending rice bowl. The word literally means “mixed rice”—rice mixed with several other ingredients.

    We’ve written about bibimbap previously, but for the eve of the lunar new year (this year, it’s Sunday, February 7th), it’s especially appropriate. It’s what Koreans traditionally eat on their new year’s eve.

    It also happens to be Super Bowl Sunday; if your friends are foodies, this is a good dish for a crowd.
     
    WHAT IS BIBIMBAP?

    A bowl of warm white rice is topped with seasoned vegetables*; sliced beef, chicken or seafood; and a raw or fried egg. The yolk of the egg (or the entire raw egg) binds the ingredients when they are mixed together.

    Chile paste, fermented soybean paste or soy sauce are served as condiments. After the ingredients are blended each individual diner, condiments added at the table.

    For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so that adjacent colors complement each other.

    The recipe below, from Good Eggs, requires 15 minutes of active time, and a total of 35 minutes. It doesn’t require you to be handy with a knife: Instead of thin slices of beef, you use ground beef.

    If you like bibimbap as much as we do, you can experiment with other grains. Quinoa bibimbap with kale, anyone?

    RECIPE: BIBIMBAP RICE BOWL

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 2 cups of sushi rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons of mirin (rice wine†)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, plus a little more for seasoning
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, shaved thinly
  • 1 bunch of scallions, both green and white portions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Raw or fried egg for each serving
  • Optional: other vegetables as desired
  •    

    Bibimbap

    Bibimbap

    Top: Bibimbap served with a raw egg at Kristalbelli | NYC. Bottom photo: The ingredients mixed together. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.

  • Optional: chili paste/red pepper paste (gochujang), sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds
  • ____________________________________
    *Commonly vegetables used include bean sprouts, julienned cucumber, julienned or shredded daikon (Japanese radish), julienned zucchini, nori (dried seaweed), shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms or whole enoki mushrooms, and spinach. Diced tofu, either uncooked or cooked, can be added.

    †Mirin and saké are both called “rice wine.” Both are fermented from rice; mirin has a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content (as an analogy, thing of sweet and dry vermouths. If you have saké but no mirin, make a substitute by adding a half teaspoon of sugar to the saké, and warm it slowly to dissolve the sugar.

     

    Bibimbap

    Dolsot bibimbap, bibimbap served in a very
    hot stone bowl (our favorite way to enjoy
    bibimbap at restaurants). Photo courtesy
    Souschef.co.uk.

     

    Preparation

    1. RINSE the rice a few times in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Add the rice to a pot and cover with water. Let it soak for 20 minutes, then strain it again. Add the rice back to the pot and add 3 cups of water. Bring the rice and water to a boil, uncovered. When the water reaches a rolling boil…

    2. TURN the flame to low, cover the pot and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it steam for 10 minutes with the cover on. After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork: It’s ready. While the rice cooks

    3. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the meat and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down and add the soy sauce and mirin, and stir. Cook for another 5-6 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Remove from the heat.

    4. SERVE: Spoon some rice into a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds, a splash of mirin and a little bit of soy sauce. Top with beef, cilantro, scallions, radishes, cilantro and a spoonful of kimchi.

     

    BIBIMBAP HISTORY

    Bibimbap was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year, to enable households to use up all of their leftovers before the start of the new year. All of the leftovers were put in a bowl of rice and mixed together.

    Use up your leftovers, or buy fresh ingredients. Or plan a party: Like paella and other rice main dishes, bibimbap is a good dish for a crowd.

    Of course, bibimbap can be made from scratch with chosen ingredients. Each region and each cook has a preferred mix of ingredients.

    At Korean restaurants you can get dolsot bibimbap (stone pot bibimbap), served in a stone bowl so hot that the ingredients sizzle. The raw egg cooks as soon as it’s mixed in.

    Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom can be coated with sesame oil, which makes the bottom of the rice cook to a crispy state, like the soccorat at the bottom of the paella pan.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Eat More Legumes

    Spring Chopped Salad

    Prosciutto Salad

    Top: A chopped salad with spring peas. You
    can substitute sugar snap peas, or any other
    legume. Photo courtesy The Foster’s Market Cookbook. Bottom: This creative salad wraps
    leafy greens in prosciutto, with a side of
    cannellini beans in vinaigrette.

     

    Nutritionist advise that we eat more legumes. But most people don’t know what a legume is, so here’s an overview:

    WHAT ARE LEGUMES?

    First, some food trivia: Peas are not green vegetables, but legumes, a botanical category that includes beans, peas and lentils.

    They are ancient foods that have been eaten for more than 8,000 years. Man the hunter-gatherer began eating legumes as soon as he created vessels to cook them in.

    Back then, in the Neolithic Era, agriculture and permanent settlements evolved as nomadic hunter-gatherers realized the benefits of stable communities. As they tilled the earth, legumes were among the first cultivated crops.*

    Legumes used to be called “wonder foods,” now they’re “superfoods.” Versatile, they are used in soups, stews, salads, side dishes, dips/spreads and more (bean burgers and lentil cakes are yummy!).

    They’re also a good source of protein and fiber, low on the glycemic index, and can be a fat- and cholesterol-free substitute for meat.

    EATING MORE LEGUMES

    Nutritionists recommend that we consume up to three cups of legumes a week. They are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and are inexpensive, too.
     
    Eliminating The Gas

    Some people shy away from beans because they are gassy. But there’s a solution for that: Just soak the beans for several hours or overnight in cold water and change the water several times, including right before you cook them. This helps to rinse away the indigestible complex sugars that create intestinal gas.

    Even with beans cooked elsewhere, or those from a can: The more often you eat beans, the more your system accommodates them without digestive incident. You can get there in just three weeks of eating beans. [Source]
    ____________________
    *The first cultivated crop is believed to be figs, followed by wheat and barley, grapes, olives, sugar, tea, rice and sesame.

     
    Where To Start

    There are more than 4,000 cultivars of beans in the U.S. (and many more worldwide). See our Bean Glossary to discover some of them.

    Beyond supermarket beans, take a look at heirloom beans. These are varieties grown from old strains, and have more flavor, better texture and a beautiful appearance. Due to lower yield, more demanding growing requirements or other factors, these strains have been passed by by large-scale commercial growers.

    Many heirloom varieties have been rescued from extinction by dedicated specialty growers. For a beautiful bean selection, check out:

  • Rancho Gordo of Napa Valley (our review).
  • Zursun Beans of Twin Falls, Idaho.
     
    Their heirloom beans are sold in specialty food stores and online. They’re one of our favorite gifts for cooks.
     
    Finally, here’s a tip to help you eat more legumes in general:
  • Create a meal-planning calendar with your online calendar system (Google Calendar is free).
  • Map out the weekly food categories you want to include, from Meatless Monday to baking and weekend cooking projects. Add the word “legumes” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for example. The calendar software can block out the whole year for you. Then, as you come across interesting recipes, fill them in on particular dates, along with the URLs or other sources of recipes.
  • Incorporate all forms of legume recipes. For example, instead of hummus make white bean purée, which is also delicious as an appetizer on crostini.
  • And of course, use the calendar planner for all other foods as well.
  •  

    RECIPE: LENTIL, OLIVE & ARUGULA SALAD

    This is one of the many ways in which legumes can be combined with other ingredients for fresh, tasty results. This filling salad is both hearty and flavorful. The lentils give it a nice heartiness, and two different types of olives give it a briny punch.

    If you don’t like olives, substitute something you do like: cherry tomatoes, pimento, sliced gherkins, whatever. Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 cup of beluga or green lentils
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup castelvetrano olives, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. RINSE the lentils in a sieve, then add to a pot with 2 cups of water, a few pinches of salt and a bay leaf. Bring the lentils to a simmer over medium heat and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. If all of the water is absorbed before the lentils are fully cooked, add a bit more along the way. When the lentils are done, set them aside in a mixing bowl. While the lentils cook…

    2. HEAT a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan until hot; then and add the red onions. Cook the onions for 5-7 minutes, until they’re translucent and starting to brown. At this point, add the carrots and turn the heat down to medium.

    3. COOL the carrots and the onions together for 5 minutes, until they’re tender but still a bit crunchy in the center (overcooking is worse than undercooking, so take them off the heat sooner rather than later). When the carrots and onions are done, add them to the bowl with the lentils. Add the olives, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, add a few pinches of salt and stir gently.

    4. COOL the lentil mixture. When it has cooled completely, gently combine with the arugula. Add more lemon if you like, plus salt and pepper to taste.

     

    Lentil Arugula Salad

    Salmon With Beluga Lentils

    Calamari & Beans

    Top: Lentil and arugula salad from Good Eggs | San Francisco. Center: Salmon with beluga lentils from Gourmet Attitude. Bottom: Grilled calamari atop heirloom beans and avocado cream (think puréed guacamole lightened with cream or yogurt), with dressed vegetables, from Bestia | LA.

     

      

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