There are lots of arguable lists of “super foods” or the “20 best foods you can eat” and I’m all over them, particularly right after the Super Bowl–why not? Any or all of them are probably useful if you’re trying to improve your health; choose one that speaks to you and eat up. Somehow an amalgamated list of “super foods” sits most easily for me to remember lately and I try to eat and serve at least one of them every day. Sometimes, if I eat my homemade granola, for instance, I get several at one time! My list currently looks like this:
I’ve been dreaming about a gluten-free and vegan Thanksgiving dinner for the blog. Not that I truly follow either diet totally (thought I eat vegan quite a bit for health reasons); I simply want the challenge. Either direction is simpler than both together, as anyone who’s tried to make both vegan and gluten-free bread will tell you. While I’ve got several recipes in-process, I thought it might be fun to have more than one entree or main dish. As it was Dinner on the Grounds at First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs — the time when we celebrate our congregation’s giving and commitments — I made this quick brown rice and broccoli dish for the meal. While it might feel like a salad, and perhaps it technically is, I think it’s hefty enough to fill you up for days and feels more like a casserole! This recipe makes a big bowlful and is enough for 12 side servings or maybe 8 as a main dish. Even if you don’t eat gluten free or vegan, you’ll like this healthy and tasty dish. I was very sad to see there was none left to take home.
how you might change it up……
I used currants in the dish, but feel free to substitute dried cranberries for a more festive Thanksgiving table. Raisins or chopped figs or dates would be fine, too; I just like the tiny sweetness of the currants myself. There’s no garlic, though you might add some –no more than a single finely minced single clove unless you cook it with the rice. Minced celery could be an addition to increase the crunch factor. Walnuts or pecans could replace the sliced almonds; toast them in a dry skillet over low flame for 6 or 7 minutes. Could you use white rice? Sure; brown rice has more protein, though, which is a big consideration for a vegan dish. Wild rice would be glorious, I’d think. Carnivores: Throw in a couple of cups chopped chicken or leftover turkey.
This morning I’m cooking a big pot of beef-vegetable soup for Inter-Faith Hospitality Network (IHN), which is a group of local churches that houses and feeds homeless families, as well as helps them find jobs and permanent homes. I’ve been cooking these meals for many years now and not much feels better when you love to be in the kitchen like I do. Dave will go with me and we’re working with the folks from Temple Shalom. This time we have a companion dog, too; I get to bring dog treats!
CURRIED BROCCOLI-ALMOND BROWN RICE SALAD
12 side servings or 6-8 main dish servings
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups brown rice
- Extra-virgin olive oil –can sub canola oil
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 10 scallions, minced – white and green parts
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cooked broccoli florets
- 1 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for garnish
- Red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup dried black currants or 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt
In a medium pot, heat water to boiling; add rice with a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until tender. While still hot, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the cooked broccoli, and almonds. Stir well and drizzle with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.
Stir in currants, curry powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste), crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well. Taste and readjust seasonings, including curry powder. Add an extra drizzle or two of vinegar and/or oil to moisten and season if needed. You might also want to add more almonds or currants to taste; I liked the dish garnished with extra for looks and flavor.
Serve immediately at room temperature. You can also cover the dish well, refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature, and serve the next day. If the rice seems dry, moisten using a tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir well.
(Below: Rosie and Tucker taking a nap while I made the beef stock this morning and granddaughter Piper doing a little dance to her own beat.)
Sing a new song,
|BTW, those are still cherry tomatoes from our garden on November 8.|
While chili is a quintessential American fall meal, it is often eaten as is. Just a bowl. Just a spoon. Just you and your chili.
|Fall in our ‘hood–tiny, dried crabapples against a St. Paul blue sky.|
The chili mostly stands alone, I guess.
Or at least just with chips, cheese, onions, sour cream….or on hot dogs or fries. Ha.
But I like chili in all kinds of ways and with lots of different things. I grew up with chili poured over a burger at the Dog ‘n Suds where I car hopped. My Mom’s “Irish Chili” was full of the quarts of tomatoes she canned each summer. It was a whole lot of tomatoes. College at Western Illinois University brought Chili Frito over at the cafeteria for Washington and Lincoln Halls. I loved it! Why hadn’t I thought of it? As years went on, my chili changed repeatedly. After all, I lived in Europe where they didn’t know from chili. I lived in San Antonio where if you knew beans about chili, you knew there were no beans in chili. (I mentioned that to some Minnesotans once. In concert, they all went, “WHAT???”) I lived with The Silver Palate Cookbook and made their “Chili for a Crowd” forever…well, actually I still it make with variations. Later I moved on to Ina’s Chicken Chili–one of my favorites. In other words, these days I make several different kinds of chili (mostly my own–whatever happens to go in the pot), but one of my favorite chili meals originated one day when there wasn’t quite enough vegan chili to go around…
So I made some brown rice and a little salad. For grins, I put it all in the bowl together. Now I do it all the time. Gives your mouth a break from the heat and provides more whole grains and greens. It also lowers the cholesterol and calories of a chili meal so I can have it more often with less guilt.
|Here’s the base for my vegan chili.|
So here’s how I made this chili with brown rice today…using the leftover Election Day Crock-Pot chili and some brown rice I let cook this morning while I walked the dogs.
|“Come on, Gab. Get the leash and let’s go, huh?”|
alyce’s brown rice and chili with spinach salad
For each serving:
1 cup fresh spinach
1 shallot, sliced
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Drizzle of Olive oil
1/2 cup lightly salted and peppered cooked brown rice mixed with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup chili (I like the chili I just blogged–full of hot Italian sausage and lentils as well as beans, but use any chili you’ve got or buy some Wendy’s chili to take home if you’re stuck.)
1. In a large shallow bowl (a pasta bowl is fine), add spinach to one corner. Top with half of the sliced shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon over the greens and drizzle with oil. Add cherry tomatoes at side.
2. Add rice to one side of the bowl and chili to the other. Garnish with rest of shallots and a few tortilla chips.
brown rice– tips and info……….
|Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook at sea level, but quicker versions are available. Some markets even sell frozen cooked brown rice. You can also make brown rice in your crock-pot and freeze small portions for future use. And, yes, you can make brown rice in your microwave. You don’t save a lot of time, but a few minutes. The directions are on the rice bag.|
As our Power Foods group moves through the 38 Power Foods (click to order book), you’ll gather we’re up to brown rice this week. The main food for over two-thirds of the world’s population, rice is sacred to many people. Rice is a complex carbohydrate high in protein. Did you know Arkansas is the largest rice-producing state in the U.S.? If you were raised by southerners in the United States, you grew up eating a lot of rice. Rice and gravy (or butter), rather than potatoes and gravy, were the standard at my family table. My sister-in-law, who’s Korean, keeps a rice pot hot pretty much 24-7. If her children are hungry between meals, they know where to go without bothering her.
1.00 cup (195.00 grams)
chart courtesy whole foods
Brown Rice is Healthy! As only the hull is removed off brown rice, we have a much healthier grain to eat that actually works against cholesterol in our bodies with its larger component of fiber. You can read all about it here, but you’ll see with just a little bit of research that eating foods like brown rice works toward protecting us against heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, muscle spasms, migraines, and many other things. Tryptophan? But of course. Eat turkey and brown rice and you’re much more likely to sleep well! And best of all, if you’ve ever been on Weight Watchers, you know a cup of brown rice is four points and white is five. Who wouldn’t take the brown? With a few exceptions, I use brown rice instead of white rice for nearly everything. I draw the line (usually) at fried rice, but that’s a VERY occasional meal and I sometimes even use brown rice for that.
(rice field photo courtesy producer’s rice mill)
Leftover brown rice? Make extra. Always. Rice is good food! Then you can…. Add milk and a little sugar for breakfast. Stir into some scrambled eggs with cheese and green onions. Add to a burrito. Stir up a stir fry for a topping. Warm well and add a teensy bit of butter and lots of pepper to eat with cooked squash. Make a patty, fry it up and make a hole in the middle. Crack an egg into the hole. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes. Add to soup or stew. Cook up Thai curry. In fact, there are so many ways to use brown rice that I know several people who just cook up a great batch every weekend and eat off it all week with whatever. The simplicity, cost, and health benefits of brown rice appeal greatly to those who don’t cook much and to those who cook often.
One of the favorite posts on my other blog (Dinner Place–Cooking for One) is “Help! I’ve Got Leftover Take-out Rice and Don’t Know What to Do With It.” Click and check out the recipe; it works just as well with brown rice.
Brown Rice for Breakfast in Colorado Springs:
|Smiley’s…on Tejon in Colorado Springs|
There is absolutely the very best breakfast to be had in Colorado Springs at a tiny place downtown on Tejon called SMILEY’S. Now funky, spunky Smiley’s has all kinds of breakfasts and lunches (as well as incredible baked goods–pie and homemade whole wheat bread for their toast, for instance), but each day they have specials. We’re not talking eggs and bacon. We’re talking lovingly designed, gorgeous breakfasts. One favorite in the fall is a halved acorn squash filled with a mixture of brown rice, cumin, cheese, and scrambled eggs. I’m going to try and fix it for breakfast this morning without a recipe. If I turns out, I’ll add the picture here. (I’m also working on a brown rice dessert for the soup cookbook. Be patient.) photo courtesy smiley’s
Join our blogging group!
I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: Read more about tasty papaya this week at these sites:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
- We’d like to have you as part of the group. Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
|The sun shining on my brown rice.|
Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to Food Bank for NYC
Sing a new song,
all photos copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012 (except where noted)~please ask for permission to use~i’m likely to give it, but like to know where my pics go