Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good eatin's

Lately I've been on a foodie kick.  Translate that to, "I am actually bothering to make interesting food instead of just English muffins for breakfast, PBJ for lunch, and chicken with rice for dinner."

Here are a few of the delicious things I've made lately:

I have wanted to make sprouts for ages, and I heard it was really easy, but it takes an awfully long time for me to go from "want to" to "actually doing it."  I finally tried it with some lentils.

First off, yes, it's ridiculously easy.  You put the lentils in a jar.  Soak them for 12 hours.  Then drain and just rinse them morning and night till they're how you like them -- which takes about a day for little sprouts and a couple more days for long sprouts.  The longer they sprout, the less they taste like lentils and the more like .... hm.  Pea pods?  Raw broccoli?  Something fresh and green, anyway, and it's really hit the spot with my spring fever and, of course, nothing growing yet outside.

The first way I had them was as a salad: sprouts, cucumber, onion, olives, and a mustard dressing.  That was pretty tasty, and the kids kept stealing it.  I'd have added some cabbage shreds if I'd had any, but I was out of almost anything green.

Then I found that lentil sprouts are much better cooked.  Some people steam them, but I gave them a light saute and put them in a pita with kimchi.  That was pretty awesome too.  Soy sauce would have been a nice addition, but Aldi has not had any in a month.  *grumpy face*  I like Aldi's because it's made with just soy and not wheat, meaning John can have it too.

Buckwheat crepes (galettes)

I try to keep buckwheat flour around as an alternate for when I want to make something gluten-free.  In reality, its flavor and texture are so different from wheat that I mostly just use it to make soba noodles.  These are awesome; I just cook them right in chicken soup ... it makes a chicken noodle soup an order of magnitude better than the traditional kind.  Since soba noodles are dense and chewy, they don't fall apart in the soup; and they also give off starch as they cook which thickens the broth a bit.

But this time I went to the cuisine from a completely different place, Brittany, where buckwheat is a traditional staple.  I used this recipe to make crepes, but instead of stuffing them with greens and Gruyere, neither of which I had, I stuffed them with swiss cheese and sauerkraut and they were delightful.  Then for lunch I had them again with eggs, onions, and mushrooms.  I'm not sure which was better!  My philistine children had a couple with jam and then asked for PBJ ... le sigh.

Definitely want to try these again -- especially since buckwheat is so fantastically good for you.  Though I may try a more authentic recipe -- just buckwheat flour and water -- instead of the one I did, which added eggs to make them easier to make.  On the other hand, easy is pretty good, so.... we'll see.

Masa harina 

At Aldi, I got a bag of masa harina (traditionally-made corn flour) in the hopes of expanding my gluten-free repertoire.  I cannot describe how tired I am of rice and potatoes, night after night.  I think the kids are tired of them too, and that's why they keep not finishing their dinner.

The Maseca website has oodles of recipes.  On Tuesday night, I made tamale pie, which everyone devoured.  It was hard keeping back anything for John's lunch!  And it's really quite easy to make -- just my usual meat, tomatoes, and corn mix seasoned with cumin, plus a little corn batter baked on top.

Then on Wednesday I really knocked myself out and made gnocchi.  They were quite delicious and a good texture ..... though they took forever to make, and in the end I wished they tasted less like corn.  So I don't know if that's going to join the regular rotation.

I also made corn pancakes on Sunday morning, which were tasty, though I was wishing for maple syrup.  They were just like regular pancakes in texture, but that corn flavor is pretty distinctive. 

This morning, I made corn tortillas and then huevos rancheros out of them.  This was absolutely delicious, but the kids were impatient with how long it took to make them, then refused to eat them when they were done.  And then they ate mine.  KIDS!  I learned a trick for rolling out tortillas, which I've never had success with before: I folded my Silpat baking sheet in half and put the ball of dough in the middle.  Then it was easy enough to roll them out without sticking or cracking.  For lunch today, I'm going to fry up the rest of the tortillas I made for tostadas.

After that I think I might give corn a little break .... that's kind of a lot of corn!

I have it in my mind that on my dream farm, I'd like to grow an heirloom variety of corn and also buckwheat -- both grains that grow well where I live, and which are easy to harvest by hand.  So perhaps recipes like these might come in handy!

I've always felt that I couldn't eat interesting food because interesting food uses unusual, expensive ingredients.  More and more, I'm discovering that isn't so.  I might buy one new ingredient and get half a dozen new, delicious recipes, or even find new uses for things I've always had.  And there's a lot to be said for googling "what to do with _____" or "______ recipes" when you have something that you want to use, and no clue where to start.  That's how I found most of the recipes here.

Making new things is work, and it's a bit of a risk because the results might not taste good.  (I didn't even tell you about the dosas I made, because they really were not good at all.)  Or the rest of the family might turn up their noses at something you spent an hour making.  But when it does work, it's pretty exciting!  And I get to eat food that is not boring.  That's really what this is all about. 

Have you made anything exciting lately?


Alaina said...

I love the Silpat idea! I will have to try that soon. Sadly, my cooking experiments have been nonexistent lately (darn business trips and lack of acceptable person to hold the 3 month old). I really wanted to get into eating more fish this Lent, since we usually do 2 meatless days a week, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

Sheila said...

Must be hard to spend any time in the kitchen at all, under those conditions!

Would there be interest in a post of all my meatless recipes? My kids are really picky about fish -- scratch that, Marko is -- so I've experimented a lot on Fridays.

Alaina said...

Yes! I always enjoy hearing about new recipes.

Sugar Coater said...

Yes, interested in the meatless recipes, please and thank you. :)

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