Archive for December, 2007

Ancient Grains, Ancient Wisdom from
December 27, 2007

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Ancient Wisdom, Ancient Grains

Ancient grains are making a comeback. More and more, I have replaced brown rice, barley and millet with quinoa, teff, and spelt. Rich in protein, amino acids, B Vitamins, calcium and fiber, each ancient grain has its own unique flavor and nutrition profile. Some are also quick cooking (quinoa, amaranth, and teff). Ancient grains expand our choices, and offer new options for diners whose diets demand rotation, not just to escape boredom, but because of food allergies. Ancient grains permit even the most restricted dieter to feast.

Here are 2 delicious recipes from my latest cookbook, Going Wild in the Kitchen. Bon appetit!

Basmati Rice Pilaf with Spelt and Red Wine
This delicious pilaf is nutty and infused with red wine and garlic.

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup spelt berries, rinsed
2 3/4 cups water
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed, drained and set aside
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
2/3 cup coarsely chopped onions
3/4 cup diced celery or celery root
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup red wine (such as Zinfandel or Petite Sarah)

1. Put spelt in a small bowl. Boil ¾ cup water and pour over spelt. Let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Drain spelt and reserve soaking water.
3. Boil 2 cups water in a teakettle.
4. Meanwhile, heat a 4-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, onions, celery and sea salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften and celery turns bright green.
5. Add and sauté spelt and basmati rice for 2-3 minutes, or until well mixed in.
6. Turn off the heat. Add boiling water, along with reserved spelt soaking water to make 2 ¾ cup water, and wine.
7. Resume heat and simmer on low heat for 50 minutes, or until all the liquid’s absorbed.
8. Serve immediately.

Spicy Tomato Quinoa Soup
Quinoa makes a delicious soup spiced with chilies and a touch of cinnamon.

Serves 4

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained and set aside
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons seeded and coarsely chopped cayenne pepper
5 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped red onion
4 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
5 tablespoons seeded and coarsely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 cinnamon stick
5 cups water
1 cup coarsely chopped sweet red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1. Place the oil in a 6-quart stockpot, and warm over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and sauté, stirring for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
2. Add the cayenne, garlic, and onions, and continue to sauté for 3 minutes to mix spices.
3. Add the quinoa and continue to sauté for 3 minutes, mixing the quinoa with the spices.
4. Add the cauliflower, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cinnamon stick, and water. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
5. Add the sweet red pepper. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower and quinoa are tender.
6. Stir in the thyme and sea salt.
7. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.
8. Ladle the hot soup into bowls, and garnish each with cilantro before serving.