Archive for the ‘Grain’ Category

Ginger Fried Black Rice

I recently discovered black rice and black glutinous rice.  Nutty and fragrant, black rice is similar in taste and texture to brown rice but so much more beautiful.  Black rice is not as “fatty” as jasmine rice, but if you mix equal parts black rice and black glutinous rice, you will achieve the jasmine kernels we are all used to from Chinese restaurants.

With more nutrition than white rice, it’s worth discovering this beautiful grain.

Ginger Fried Black Rice



Serves 4

1/2 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups day-old cooked rice
2 cups day-old black rice (or black glutinous rice)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce
Pepper, to taste

optional: frozen corn, frozen peas, chopped onion, carrots, scallion, ham, etc.


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  2. Raise heat to medium and add rice, sesame oil and soy sauce. Cook, stirring well, until heated through. Add additional salt and pepper, to taste and any additional vegetables, if you wish.

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Popcorn on the Cob


Every year we take Rice Kernel to a nearby farm to pick corn.  Until I had my little fellow, I had no idea you could pop corn directly from the kernel!  This year was Claire’s first trip and our curious little one was all too eager to pull at corn husks herself.  Can’t wait until next year when she can join in the action on ground level.

Ways to Enjoy Popcorn on the Cob….

1. If you don’t mind the mess, keep it on the cob and watch it go in your microwave…

2. For no mess, place cobs into a paper bag. Then place the bag in your microwave for 2-3 minutes and enjoy. (Times may vary.)

3. Another great favorite is to shell the kernels off of the cob and place them into a popcorn popper.

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These bakery-style muffins are so unassuming, but they are decadent and moist with little guilt.  We are lucky to have a bounty of zucchini still, but I would consider buying zucs just to bake a batch.

Whole Wheat Berry Dark Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup milk (reduced fat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini (I like to squeeze a bit of the excess liquid)
1  cups fresh berries
1/2-1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease mufins tins.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl combine the sugar, egg, olive oil, milk, and vanilla. Stir in the zucchini.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined.
  5. Fold in the berries and chocolate.
  6. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on wire rack.

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After we returned from Disneyland recently, Claire caught a cold.  It knocked me out.  And then it knocked out Rice Kernel.  When that happens, one thing is guaranteed: there is an excess amount of fruit in the fridge because my fruit-fiend son goes on a fruit strike.  Many things will keep for days and even weeks.  But not berries.  With a few pounds of strawberries growing weepy, I needed a simple recipe and turned to this strawberry bread first. 

Made like a traditional quick bread, this recipe highlights the ubiquitous summer berry and its natural sweetness.  I made three substitutions: oil instead of butter (we’ve been out of butter for months now and, for some reason, have not bought any), 1 cup of white whole wheat flour and a 1/4 cup reduction in sugar.   Fast and easy, it’s a great recipe to use-up leftover berries.
Recipe here.

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After cheating on my beloved oatmeal for the duration of my secon pregnancy (peanut butter and whole wheat english muffins – with a side of cereal – overtook my breakfast favorite), I’ve been back on the steel cut oats kick in the past month. 

Then, recently, I got my first bout of mastitis (boo) and some accompanying mouth irritation.  Okay, the antibiotics inflammed my gums and I managed to cut up the entire right side and roof of my mouth.  With a slice of crusty bread.  Gross, I know.  Having dealt with a few gum graft surgeries in the past, I knew I’d be on a mushy, bland diet for awhile.  But after a few days of yogurt and ice cream (hey, ice cream can be mushy and bland), I was longing for some flavor.  (And some protein to keep me full so I wouldn’t engulf another pint of ice cream.)  Creamy lentil and chickpea soups came to my rescue first and then, eager to brighten up my bowl of oatmeal, I found this delicious, flavorful, and protein-packed recipe.  It may look bland by color, but it is anything but.  The yogurt alone is delicious with fruit but mixed in the oats, it provides a much more substantial breakfast (or snack).   You could certainly add more pizzaz to the bowl by adding fruit, some pistachios or sliced almonds, or some toaste coconut, as the recipe author suggests.

Cardamom Yogurt, from Pie of the Tiger

Halfway through my morning ritual: always served up in a non-breakable glass bowl, with an extra splash of hemp milk, and, today, a dollop of cardamom yogurt. (The rest of the yogurt is mixed in.)

1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek Yogurt to bump up the protein factor)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or agave, to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  2. Taste yogurt, and add cardamom and maple syrup until it’s sweetened and spiced to your taste.
  3. Allow to rest overnight, if possible. The cardamom will release more flavor as it permeates the yogurt, so take this into account when judging how much cardamom is enough. If you will use the yogurt immediately, the amount of cardamom can increased to make up for the lack of resting time.

Spiced Ginger Oatmeal, adapted from Pie of the Tiger

1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 oz crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk, non-dairy milk, or buttermilk (I used hemp milk)


  1. Put the oats, spices and crystallized ginger in a container with a tight lid. Seal and shake until evenly combined.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the oats and stir to coat evenly with the butter. Continue to stir until the oats are nice and toasted and you can smell the spices, about two minutes.
  4. Pour in the boiling water. Stir the oats well, then lower the heat and leave to gently simmer for 25 minutes, undisturbed.
  5. Add the milk and stir to combine. Let the oats simmer for another 10 minutes. At this point, you can stir them occasionally if you want, but they’ll be fine unattended.

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Pine Nut Barley Salad

Though I rarely hear it from Rice Kernel or FHE, I tire easily of our usual starches: pasta and rice.  Recently, we’ve worked our way through yams and the various colors of potatoes.  But the boys aren’t as big a fans of those as I am. 

When Rice Kernel was about a year old, he often enjoyed semi-pureed beef and vegetable barley stew.  Just right for the winter months (whatever that means in California), this is a hearty grain salad with beautiful colors, crunch, and a toothsome bite from barley.

Pine Nut Barley Salad


1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, scallion, or chives
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (1 large)
1/4 cup corn, frozen
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  1. Cook barley according to directions.  Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water and drain well.
  2. While barley is simmering, cook pine nuts in oil in a heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until nuts are toasted 1 shade darker, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Toss nuts and oil with barley and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper.

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Wheatberry Pudding

Hearty, toothsome, and comforting. A whole-grain spin on a dessert classic.

Wheatberry Pudding, adapted from Real Simple


1/2 cup wheat berries
kosher salt
1/4 cup honey or agave ectar
1/6 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 cups reduced-fat milk (you could use whole milk or heavy cream)
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of groud cinnamon and nutmeg


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the wheat berries, 4 quarts water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender but still slightly chewy, about 1 hour; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the milk until a smooth paste forms. Whisk in the egg yolks and remaining milk/cream.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the first small bubbles start to sputter and the pudding has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow it to boil). Remove from heat and stir in the raisins, butter, vanilla, and wheat berries.
  4. Divide the pudding among 8-ounce ramekins (or transfer to a larger baking dish). Sprinkle with the cinnamon. Serve warm or chilled.  Makes 3-4 servings.

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