Welcome to my first post of 2013! It’s been a busy, busy (yet wonderful) few weeks but as much as I hate to admit it I’m kind of happy to be getting back into my old routines. I am even somewhat relieved that the holidays have passed and I can look forward to catching up on my “honey do list” including actually organizing my office closet, sewing the linen pillow covers that have been cut and ready for the machine for months, organizing the photo folders on my computer, and other riveting grown-up extra-curriculars (when I feel as good now when my house is clean as I did when I was a kid and I got an elephant ear at the fair, I wonder if I grew up and somehow found myself in some twisted opposite-world).
This post is also the first Food Matters Project post for 2013. This week, Gracie chose the recipe, “Hippie Rice,” and how fitting it is considering all of the “diets” I’m sure we are thinking about or actually following through on. It is a good reminder from Bittman that “we are what we eat” and that feeling better (emotionally and physically) and looking better starts with eating better.
My goal this year is to eat mindfully. I do a good job of eating well: eating whole foods and following a mostly plant based diet. But I have my hangups with some junk foods and tend to overeat, especially when I am not being mindful about my eating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a bag of pistachios or popcorn in the car and when I got home realized that half the bag was gone and my car was a mess (followed soon thereafter by a declaration that “there will be no more popcorn/pistachios/other messy snacky foods eaten in this car from this point to as long as we both shall live and into eternity!”). I can get carried away when I’m distracted. So my goal is to eat mindfully, to take my time, to try (I said try, okay?) not to eat in front of my computer, to savor each bite and taste the flavors, to eat more deliberately.
Let’s start with this dish. I used Bittman’s recipe as the starting off point (see Gracie’s blog for the full recipe) but diverged quite a bit based on what I had on hand and what I was in the mood for. My version has interesting flavors, textures, and colors…a perfect dish to enjoy mindfully. Beet greens add color and powerful health benefits. Currants add a hint of sweetness flavor without overpowering. Sunflower and pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) add crunch and depth. A little bit of heat comes in from the crushed red pepper. And orange zest adds a bright pop to finish it off.
This recipe can be modified in any-which-way-you-choose. So don’t get hung up on the exacts. I used my standard grain blend, a mix of brown rice, quinoa, farro, and radish seed, which I had cooked ahead of time and frozen, making this recipe very quick and easy!
To make my grain blend, put 1 cup brown rice in a dutch oven and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil then turn heat to low and let simmer for 25 minutes. Add 1/2 cup farro, 1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup black and/or white quinoa, and 1/4 cup radish seeds (you can use any of these, some of these, or just make the brown rice plain–whatever works for you!). Add more water if needed so the water level is about 1/2 inch above the grains after adding all grains. Cook another 15-20 minutes covered on low heat. Turn off and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing. The radish seeds are my favorite part. they pop in your mouth and are so fun to eat! This makes quite a bit of grain blend so once it is completely cooled I spoon the leftovers into quart-sized freezer bags, flatten, and freeze for future lunches or dinners. Makes things so much easier when I’m wondering what to make for a meal and don’t want to spend 45 minutes cooking rice!
Next, I lightly steamed shredded beet greens. The next time you buy a bunch of beets with the greens still attached, don’t throw them away! They cook up much like swiss chard but I like the flavor even better. Beet greens are also an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin A, making this a vision-boosting, cancer-fighting superfood.
Next I sauteed some onion in a little olive oil, adding the seeds to toast for the last five minutes. I squeezed the juice of an orange into the pan and added about 1 tsp of zest.
Then I tossed all of the other ingredients into the pan (grain blend, beet greens, currants, red pepper flakes, salt), sprinkled it with a little patchoulie (just kidding), and voila, a bowl of righteous grains and veggies was born.
“Hippie Rice” with Beet Greens, Currants, Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds, and Orange Zest; makes 4 servings; takes 45 minutes (with pre-cooked grains will take 20 minutes)
- 1 bunch beet greens, shredded
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup sunflower and/or raw pumpkin seeds (or a blend)
- 2 cups grain blend (anything you want but I make brown rice, farro, quinoa, and radish seeds in a pot ahead of time and freeze in quart-sized plastic bags)
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
- 1 tsp orange zest
- juice of 1 small orange
- Put beet greens in a saucepan with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Bring to a boil then simmer, steaming lightly for about 5 minutes.
- Put the onion in a heavy skillet and saute until lightly browned. Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds and saute until they are lightly toasted.
- Add beet greens, grain blend, currants, red chile flakes, orange zest and orange juice to the pan and stir to heat through. Enjoy!