Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brown, Red, and Black Rice

Oh, I have so much to learn! First, how to enjoy foods that aren't excessively sweet. Second, how to enjoy foods that are not drenched in dressing or gravy or sauce of some sort.

Okay, this would probably be a good time to confess that I am addicted to the taste of sweet and to condiments! I think many of my food choices were about what I could put either ketchup or mayo or salad dressing or...okay, I think you get the point...on. Honestly, beef and chicken are just foils for sauces and condiments to me. Well, grass-fed beef does actually have flavor and eggs from grass-fed chickens are amazing sans ketchup. But, the commercial stuff? Give me condiments! And dessert--even a fruit salad dessert because I know how to make those taste deliciously sweet!

Okay, now that I have that off my chest... I think I have to get used to fixing tasty food (or perhaps just appreciating the flavor of real food) without relying on sweet or sauce. Or, perhaps I just need to give my creative cooking side time to adjust to new ingredients. Whatever the case may be, my first day's cooking had some hits and some "need improvement" recipes.

Breakfast was -- strange as it sounds to my ears -- soup. Carrot & Radish Soup. Yeah, I know. That's a long way from scrambled eggs and ketchup or even my former "healthy breakfast"--fruit smoothie. But, actually, the soup was tasty!

Carrot & Radish Soup:
4 carrots, in large chunks
4 small radishes including greens, sliced or halved
Few sprigs of cilantro
½ onion, diced
Dash of olive oil

4 cups of water
1/2 tsp miso
1 cup leftover oatmeal
Heat soup pot and add oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add carrot and radish but hold back the radish greens and cilantro. Add water slowly. Bring to boil, add seaweed, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add greens. Simmer a few more minutes. Put contents in blender and puree. Return to to pot. If too thick, thin with more water. Add leftover oatmeal and heat gently. Remove from heat and add miso.
The recipe I modified said the soup will last for 2 days so I plan on having the rest for supper tomorrow night. I used the first radishes we harvested from our garden. This soup was lightly flavored but good. With the miso, there is no need for additional salt. Be sure not to cook the miso as that destroys the probiotics it contains.
Lunch was a serving of the Tomatoes, Beans, and White Rice mother had made. I was just too tired last night to make anything else. Along with that, I had a salad with mixed greens, raw broccoli, onion, buckwheat sprouts, balsamic vinegar, and a dash of almond oil. I also had some of my Daikon Radish & Beet Pickle I mentioned making last week. Oh, is it ever goooooodd!!!
As for supper: I remembered we had some tofu in the freezer so I texted home and asked BJ to take one out to thaw. I also asked him to put some dried mushrooms in soak. Along with the mixed rice I had put in soak before leaving this morning, I had the beginnings of a meal plan--I just wasn't sure what the plan was...

Balsamic Marinated Baked Tofu:
1 package firm tofu
Spring onions
Dried mushrooms, soaked for several hours (save soaking water for soup stock)
Japanese 5 Spice Blend
Balsamic Vinegar

Put tofu cake in a plate, place another plate on top and a few cans on top of that. This will squeeze liquid out of the tofu which in turn helps the tofu absorb other liquids/flavors. Let stand for 15 minutes, draining off liquid periodically. Mix balsamic and spice blend in a pie plate or other container. After tofu has been pressed, slice and put into the balsamic vinegar. Allow to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice onions and mushrooms and place on baking sheet. Top with marinated tofu slices. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or so.
Garlic Brown, Red, and Black Rice:
1 cup Brown Sweet Rice
¼ cup Red Rice
¼ cup Black Rice (“Forbidden” rice)
2 cloves garlic

Mix rice together and cover with water. Allow to soak for 8 hours or so. Drain off soaking water and rinse. Place in pot, add twice as much water and garlic. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to low. If water is absorbed before rice is done, add a bit more water.
Steamed Broccoli:
While rice is cooking, put a steamer over pot with broccoli spears. Cover. Broccoli steams while rice cooks.
Pressed Carrot and Radish Salad:
2 carrots
4 radishes (without the greens)
Spring onion
Sea salt

Use mandolin or knife to cut vegetables small. Add a bit of sea salt and massage vegetables. Place a plat over the vegetables and weight with can. Allow to set for 15 minutes.
That was dinner. The tofu was....okay. I think if I'd fried or sauted the tofu instead of baking it there would have been more flavor and texture. Honestly, I'm still trying to find a way to eat tofu that I like other than Hot & Sour Soup. It doesn't bother me in soup but otherwise...I always take issue with it. But, as tofu dishes go, this was not entirely bad--it's almost worth going into the recipe file. It just needs a bit of tweaking. (The mushrooms and onions were delicious, though.) The rice was in need of more flavor. The garlic just wasn't enough. Perhaps if I'd had some gomashio made up that would have done the trick. I'm not sure. Need to work on it but I have to say that red and black rices--and the brown sweet rice--are more flavorful in themselves than the anemic white rice. The broccoli and pressed salads were lovely. Clean, not overly seasoned so I actually enjoyed the flavor of the vegetables. Nice change actually.
As for tomorrow....I'll go ahead and share tomorrow's menu since it's Wednesday and there won't be an entry tomorrow. Tomorrow is leftovers from today. Here's what I did:
Fruit and Mixed Rice:
Plum, diced (with skin)
Kiwi, diced (without skin)
½ tbsp raw honey
¼-1/2 cup leftover Brown, Red, Black Rice

Dice fruit, add honey and rice. Mix well. Can prepare the night before so it has time for marrying of flavors.
I know, I know. I am supposed to keep fruit and added sweeteners to a minimum. I thought the fruit and honey would go well with the rice. This is for breakfast.
Tofu Wrap:
Leftover Balsamic Tofu
Leftover steamed broccoli
Leftover rice
Spinach leaves
Sprouted Grain Tortilla (Ezekiel 4:9)

Combine tofu, broccoli, small amount of rice (tablespoon or two), mustard, and horseradish. Put raw spinach leaves on tortilla and top with tofu mixture. Wrap.
I took a taste of the tofu mixture--this is a winner. The mustard and horseradish gives it a nice boost. I'm hoping the wrap holds up otherwise I'll be eating it with a fork. We'll see. Dinner is the rest of the Carrot & Radish Soup.

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