If you are the type that isn't hungry first thing in the morning, just put the garnished grain into a plastic container and take it to work for your break. While everyone else is eating donuts, you'll be vitalizing your brain and putting in some fuel that will last you till lunchtime.
This class will include the use of steel cut oats, amaranth, millet, quinoa and brown rice. Steel cut oats are demonstrated because they are uncommonly used and yet, are richer in texture, flavor, fiber and nutrients than oatmeal or oat bran. Steel-cut simply refers to the blade used to chop the hard, whole grain into smaller chunks, thus allowing for reduced cookingtime. (Oats do contain gluten).
Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that was used by the Aztec Indians hundreds of years ago. Like many of these gluten free grains, it has an unusual flavor at first. Make it several times and you'll notice yourself starting to appreciate its unique flavor and texture. When cooked, it should resemble farina in texture: tiny, round and sand-like.
Quinoa is another gluten-free grain used by the Inca Indians. It is round and tan colored, but cooks into a light, translucent, fluffy grain. It, too, is richer in useable protein and lends itself well to pilaff and vegetable dishes.
Millet is yet another small, round, yellowish grain that has more protein than most. It is cultivated and used around the world. A common technique used with millet is to toast it by light cooking it in a dry pan till golden and then using it as a pilaff or breakfast grain.
Plain long grain or short grain brown rice can be transformed into "rice pudding" with the addition of vanilla, cinnamon, nuts and yogurt. This is the perfect thing to do with left-over rice, but avoid trying it with basmati rice: the popcorn flavor doesn't work well as a breakfast dish.
For amaranth, quinoa, millet and steel cut oats, use:
1/2 cup grain
1 1/2 cups water
They will roughly double to triple in size during cooking, so 1/2 cup of dry grain will feed 2 people easily. Double the recipe for four people or half it for one person.
Try the following combinations or mix or match condiments to your taste:
Steel cut oats: serve with toasted almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup.
Amaranth: serve with toasted cashews and flax, blueberries and maple syrup
Millet: serve with sliced bananas, toasted pumpkin seeds and maple syrup
Quinoa: serve with sliced bananas, toasted cashews and maple syrup
For brown rice use:
1/2 cup rice
1 cup water
Put any quantity of rice in a small pan and cover with 1 inch water, bring to a boil for one minute, stir with a fork, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, stir lightly once, remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 10 minutes, then serve with toasted almonds or cashews, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla yogurt or other dairy alternative.
Nuts and seeds:
Rice Dream-vanilla lite - Flax seeds, ground
Edensoy Soymilk-vanilla - Pumpkin seeds
White Almond Beverage - Almonds
Amazaki - Cashew pieces
Dr. Sally LaMont practices in Marin County, California and can be reached at (415) 267-7679