Wednesday, February 24, 2010

why am i excited today?

i'm excited today for a few reasons:
1. I'm starting a new contract with an old client
2. I'm loving the research for the GMO post that will be out before the end of the week
3. I found some great new whole grain mix type things that are totally easy for me to use and not very expensive.
4. I'm getting a box from Pure Cafe RAW food - can't wait to gobble it up and review...
reasons I'm not excited:
1. little man's eczema is getting worse
2. I'm about to have a ton of work on with no more hours in the day than I had before!
3. I have the challenge of making a gluten free, low calorie, sugar free yellow cake with chocolate icing.
One thing about whole grain - it means a LOT of chewing. This is great for kids who need practice with this, it doesn't go down in one big gulp like yogurt, gooey oatmeal, or other almost liquid breakfasts. It must be masticated. My 5 year old would make many Macrobiotics proud - he chews and chews and chews - the down side? It takes him forever to finish his breakfast.
Typically I'm a "from scratch" cook. But seeing as I love organic whole grain, I am very busy and I have an efficient rice cooker I decided to pick up these Heartland Harvest whole grain mixes at the weekly Farmer's Market. I like them. Actually, I love the breakfast cereal ones:
Sunburst Citrus Oats (uses whole oats not rolled)
Sunrise Almond Rice
Apple Millet Porridge

What's great to me is that I don't have to think about making up some new way to dress up grains. Of the breakfast cereals, the Millet and Apple was by far the favorite - I even used it to make cornbread muffins the next day! The muffins stayed moist and delicious for 5 days after - so good. We had the Sunburst Citrus Oats next and they ate that one without too many complaints - the toddler thought it was rice and good thing he likes rice. The 5 year old ate it up. The Sunrise Almond Rice was good, but not as good as the other two. I chopped up some fresh apple and added it for more taste. 
It was a very chewing experience.
I picked up two soups. I've only tried one:
Split Pea
Cuban Black Bean
Believe it or not, I'm a practiced split pea maker and have even won recipe contests for it. Their split pea did nothing for me - it was okay - but tasted like every other split pea I've had - better than canned but not better than what an exceptional split pea should taste like - however it was from a bag - so what can I say? i'd love to share that split pea recipe - but guess what? I can't find it...I will keep looking and will re-construct it if I have to...
I love black bean soup - even better black and white soup - and that's just what i'll do this weekend - but i'll have to figure out a way to do it dairy free - perhaps - cashew cream?
I'm going to share a cleaned up recipe for the BEST black and white soup ever - from Brigetown Grill - I used to eat this stuff weekly with my homies in ATL.

The original recipe calls for milk and Velveeta – sorry kids – could NOT do that!
Hands on time: 25 minutes Total time: 4 hours and 25 minutes  Serves: 6
For the soup
1 pound dry black beans, picked through and rinsed (you can soak them overnight if you wish it to cook faster)
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped 
1 clove of garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ tsp cumin
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons oil
5 cups water 
For the cream
2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)
1/4 cup sliced jalapenos (drained if canned), or to taste 
2 teaspoons unpasteurized miso
1/8 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 roasted garlic bulbs (slice off top of garlic bulb, put on little bit of olive oil, wrap in foil – throw in 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes)
1/2 cup water, then add water as needed Instructions:
In a large stockpot, combine black beans, onion, green pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, sugar, oil and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, or until beans are very tender. Check every hour to be sure water is not evaporating; if necessary, add water. Transfer soup to a food processor and puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings if necessary. 
In a food processor, puree jalapenos, cashews, water, and squeeze the roasted garlic in there – it should have the consistency of thick soup. Drizzle in the olive oil until it is emulsified.
Serve 2/3 cup of the soup and 1/3 cup of cream. Sprinkle with cilantro (coriander) – try some grilled bananas for dessert!

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