Thursday, February 27, 2020

Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch with Teff

Teff grains are minute-1/150th the size of wheat kernels. Teff has twice the iron as other grains and three times the calcium. It is the principle source of nutrition for the majority of Ethiopians.

In Ethiopia, teff is usually ground into flour and fermented to make the spongy, sourdough bread known as Injera. In Kansas, the Black Farmers Association is experimenting with teff. Today it is getting more attention for its sweet, molasses-like flavor and its versatility. It can be cooked as porridge.

Teff flour is a very fine speckled flour. Pairing teff with cocoa seems natural. This German Chocolate genoise cake is a whole egg sponge cake, baked in a springform pan as one layer, then sliced horizontally and iced. It tends to have a crumbly, dry texture.

In this muffin recipe, I substituted a chia seed paste for the nutrient void starch and brown rice flour for the white rice flour.

For porridge, toast 3 minutes before cooking.

To cook on stove top, mix 1 part teff with 3 part water and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Teff and Cocoa Sponge Cake

(10 servings)

Sift cocoa in bowl.  Mix with flour.
5 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (not the Dutch processed kind)
1/2 cup teff flour

Combine eggs, sugar and salt in bowl of electric mixer with whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed 5 minutes.  
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat buttery sticks, melt and pour into deep reserved bowl.
3 tablespoon vegan buttery sticks

Remove mixer bowl with whipped egg-sugar-salt mix.  Fold in 1/3 of the flour-cocoa mix.  Repeat with half the remaining flour, then the rest of the flour.  

Scrape 1/4 of the batter into the hot butter.  Fold until butter is completely blended.  Scrape batter over the remaining butter and fold just until blended. 

Pour into 8 inch springform pan with parchment lined bottom.

Bake at 335 F for 30 minutes.  While the cake is hot, run a spatula around the inside of the pan, pressing against the sides of the pan.  

Invert pan onto rack to remove the paper.  Turn the cake right up to frost.

The above cake was sliced in half and iced with a slightly sweetened whipped cream. (1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla)  Topped with pomegranate seeds and juice, this made a delightful Christmas dessert.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch with Spelt

Spelt is a variety of wheat widely cultivated until the spread of fertilizers and mechanical harvesting left it by the wayside in favor of wheats more compatible with industrialization. Spelt can be used in place of common wheat in most recipes.

Spelt is higher in protein than common wheat. Twelfth century mystic St. Hildegard referred to spelt as the "healthiest of grains". Today, the German Abbey she founded still sells spelt products and even spelt liqueurs. In Italy spelt is known as farro grande, or "big farro". 

Spelt and Sausage Soup
To cook, mix 1 part grain to 4 parts water. Soak overnight, then cook 45-60 minutes. 1 cup dry grain yields 3 cups cooked.

 Butternut Squash Flan
Spelt flour is used for quick breads and yeast breads. Spelt has a soft texture and a sweet, nutty flavor.
With its higher moisture content, spelt flour reacts similary to pastry flour, giving cakes a moist texture with less crumb.

Spelt flour has gluten but does not contain gliadin. Yeast bread recipes require more flour than wheat flour. 

Spelt Bread

(1 8 X 4 inch loaf pan-14 slices)

Mix 1 cup spelt flour and dry yeast in bowl of electric mixer.  Dissolve honey in warm water.  Slowly add to bowl of mixer.  With dough hook in place, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, stirring down sides of bowl.
1 cup freshly ground spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
3/4 cup 125F water
3 tablespoon honey

Add 1/2 cup spelt flour, egg, oil and salt.  Beat at medium speed 2 more minutes, stirring down sides of bowl.
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 egg
3 tablespoon 2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Reduce speed to low.  Slowly add additional flour, kneading after each addition for about 6 minutes.
1 1/2 cup spelt flour

Place dough in bowl greased with olive oil spray.  Turn to coat.  Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down.  Turn into greased loaf pan while shaping dough into the loaf.  Cover and let rise until almost double, about 45 minutes.

Bake in 350F oven 25 minutes.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Book Review: The Probiotic Kitchen

I like a book where I'm challenged to try new things and this 2020 book did just that. After seeing the price sticker on a jar of fermented sauerkraut, I decided to make my own. The recipe instructions were clear and the preparation time was little. And I love the result. 

The book has a good review of what to look for on labels before buying-a shoppers' guide. The recipes include both prebiotic and probiotic ingredients. The recipes include a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and recipes with little added sugar. There is a nice assortment of proteins, including eggs, legumes, dry beans, seafood, chicken and pork. The recipes have a nice description and tips for getting the most healthful effect. 

I was reminded to read the label on the yogurt I buy and look for live active cultures-added after pasteurization. I was encouraged to buy raw cheddar cheese, aged for over 6 months. I did buy miso paste and will continue to use it. The recipe tips included adding the miso paste near the end of cooking.

My one disappointment is that the sodium in recipes is high, though there are few processed foods.  I do want to add that the serving of fermented cabbage is only 1/4 cup. I loved that the recipe was a "small batch".

Here's what I tested: 

Fermented Cabbage and Grain Bowl

Drinks and Snacks
Protein Smoothie (made with cultured cottage cheese)

Dressing and Main Dish
 Citrus Miso Salmon

Miso Noodle Soup
(I used my own homemade noodles which have wheat bran-another prebiotic fiber)

 No Bake Cheesecake (made with cultured cottage cheese)

Caramelized Pears (with Maple Greek Yogurt) 

My lunches included melted raw and aged cheddar on my own whole grain sourdough toast.

Thank you Quarto Group for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of an enjoyable read and eating experience!  
More than 100 delectable, natural, and supplement-free probiotic recipes
The Probiotic Kitchen

For optimum probiotic nutrition, it's time to say goodbye to supplements and pills and to bring all-natural, all-delicious, real-food probiotic (and prebiotic) meals into your life.

Mainstream doctors and nutritionists firmly agree that probiotics are essential for everyday health and nutrition. Probiotics add “good bacteria” to the human gut. They work by crowding out “bad bacteria” and by fostering the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal walls. Everyone needs probiotics, just as they also need prebiotics, which make probiotics work. Probiotics also aid in the relief of chronic health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as occasional belly discomfort, and are recommended for a growing range of other uses, like the management of type 2 diabetes. They are generally agreed to have anti-inflammatory properties, too.

Kelli Foster's The Probiotic Kitchen makes probiotic cooking easier and tastier than it's ever been before. As they do with vitamins and minerals, doctors recommend naturally occurring probiotics in real food over artificial supplements. In earlier books on the subject, almost all of the probiotic foods were fermented things like pickles, kimchi, kombucha, and the like. But recent discoveries have greatly expanded the range of foods that now are known to be rich in probiotics. These include cheeses, green peas, and even chocolate, among many others. Foster's enticing and reliable book covers fermented foods, to be sure, but also adds loads of recipes for more familiar and more versatile ingredients—more than 100 recipes in all, each one as delectable as the next.

About the Author
Kelli Foster is a staff writer and editor for The Kitchn, which more than twenty million people visit each month, and the author of Buddha Bowls. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she lives in New York City.

The Probiotic Kitchen
By: Kelli Foster
On-Sale Date: December 17, 2019
$24.99 US · $32.99 CAN · 208 pages · Paperback Book
ISBN: 978-1-55832-989-8
Harvard Common Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

For more information or to request recipes or images from the book, please contact
Todd Conly at 978-282-3511 OR

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch with Sorghum

Sorghum thrives where other crops would wither and die, yet in the US most of the crop is fed to animals or made into wallboard or packing materials.

Just a few miles from our West Virginia home, sorghum grain is milled for flour and the plant is cooked and crushed stalks made into molasses.

Sorghum is gluten free. Gluten free flours work best in batter breads, cookies, muffins and pancakes. Because it's the gluten that forms the structure, gluten free batters bake best in small pans. Muffin tins or one serving cake pans can do the trick.

Sorghum, buckwheat and brown rice flours combine with garbanzo bean flour to make a beautifully colored yeast bread. The gluten free bread rose nicely and, while a bit crumbly, was not heavy in texture.

This sorghum sponge cake has added brown rice flour to hold it together.

Sorghum grain takes 25-40 minutes to cook on stove top. Mix 1 part sorghum with 4 cups water.

In this recipe for Italian wedding soup, I substituted whole grain cornmeal for the bread crumbs in the meatballs and whole grain sorghum for the tiny pasta.  The taste and appearance is equal.  The nutrient density is increased.

Italian Wedding Soup

(Makes 4 cups) 

Mix ingredients in bowl of electric mixer.  Drop by 1 tablespoon scoops onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 375F. for approximately 15 minutes or until interior temperature reaches 165F.
(Makes 40)
8 ounce ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoon whole grain cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme

In a saucepan on stove top, saute vegetables in olive oil until soft, 3-5 minutes.
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Add chicken broth and bay leaf.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf 

Stir in spinach, cooked sorghum and meatballs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat to 165F.
1 cup spinach, stems removed
1/2 cup cooked sorghum

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch with Brown Rice

Whole grain rice is usually brown-but can also be black, purple, red or any exotic hue. White rice is a refined grain, not a whole grain, because the germ and bran have been removed.

The strong flavor and high price of wild rice means that it is most often consumed in a blend with other rices or grains. Wild rice has twice the protein and fiber of brown rice, but less iron and calcium. Rice is one of the most easily digested grains.

Whole grain rice takes 45-55 minutes to cook on stove top. Mix 1 part rice to 2 1/2-3 parts water.

Take care to purchase "Brown" Rice Noodles. To serve, place dry product in hot water for 5 minutes and stir to prevent sticking.

Many gluten free recipes contain rice flour or starch which helps hold the ingredients together. White rice flour is mostly starch. Brown rice flour makes a moist and delicious sponge cake.

Brazilian Beans with Brown Rice

Serves 4

Saute peppers, celery, carrots, onion and garlic in olive oil 5 minutes.
1/4 cup sweet red and orange peppers, seeded and diced
1/4 cup celery with leaves, diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon onion, diced
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add spices. Stir and cook 1 minute. Cancel saute function.
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon coriander

Add beans, brown rice, broth and bay leaf. Lock lid on cooker. Cook at medium pressure for 30 minutes. Release pressure and remove lid.
2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1/2 cup dried black beans
1/3 cup brown rice
1 bay leaf

Remove bay leaf. Stir in molasses, tomatoes, paste, juice and apricots. Heat and stir (I chose the saute function for 5 minutes).
2 tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoon black strap molasses
1/3 cup diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced


Monday, February 17, 2020

It's Millet Time! (Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch)

Millet is the leading staple in India and commonly eaten in many countries. It grows well in dry, warm climates. In the United States, millet is most familiar as birdseed, but it's a shame
to "leave it to the birds".

Millet is a high magnesium grain. It is a great substitute for rice.

To cook mix 2 1/2 parts water to 1 part grain. Cook 25 minutes on stove top. 1 cup dry grain yields 4 cups cooked.

Zesty Seafood Parcels

Up the flavor meter a notch by baking eeafood meals in banana leaves. The leaves of the banana plant, found in Asian stores, impart a tea like flavor to the contents.

Fresh herbs, onion, garlic and lemon also impart flavor. Rather than a specific recipe, choose ingredients by checking the home refrigerator or pantry, using those on hand.

To assemble, layer ingredients on top of the banana leaf:  Cooked grain, fresh herbs, vegetables, raw rish portion and lemon juice. Fold ;up packet. Bake 20 minutes at 375F. Do not eat leaf!

Millet Medley

5 (1/4 cup) servings

Combine millet, water, sugar, vanilla, cardamom and salt. Cook until millet is tender (25 minutes on stove-top) or (15 minutes in counter-top pressure cooker-slow release for 10 minutes).

1/4 cup dry millet
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine with fruit and nut mix. This can be any variety you prefer!
3 tablespoon crushed pineapple, drained
3 tablespoon mango, diced
3 tablespoon dried fruit and nut mix
(This one has apricots, pistachios and walnuts-I chopped in food processor).

Serve hot or cold.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Kamut: Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch

Kamut grain is an ancient variety of wheat berries with higher levels of protein than common wheat and more Vitamin E. Kamut is a nutritious source of iron, fiber, zinc and magnesium. 

Kamut was given its name by Mack and Bob Quinn, a father-and-son team of Montana organic farmers who came into possession of one of the last jars of the seeds in the late 1970s. Through their organization, Kamut International, the Quinns now oversee research and production for a growing worldwide market. As it's trademarked, the wheat has never been altered by modern plant-breeding programs.  

Kamut flour is amber in color and has a smooth, buttery flavor. It is especially good in recipes such as biscuits, challah and sugar cookies as it brings out the flavor of the flour.

Kamut flour has remarkable versatility. This homemade pasta is made with a flour mix containing equal parts of Kamut, whole wheat, all-purpose and semolina flours.

Kamut, Carrot & Raisin Salad

(1 cup)
Bring water to a boil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.  Add Kamut grains. 
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes. 
Drain off any excess liquid.
2 cups water
1/4 cup Kamut grain
Mix carrots, raisins, orange juice, honey, cinnamon, olive oil and nuts with grain.
Refrigerate overnight to develop flavors.

¼ cup carrots, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoon raisins
3 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoon toasted pecans.
Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sprouted Grains: Switch Your Whole Grains Up a Notch

For individuals with wheat sensitivity, less-reactive wheat products can improve quality of life.  Research indicates that germination can effectively alter certain immunoreactive components. While research continues and technologies develop, my baking with sprouted grains begins. Here's how I did my sprouting at home:

Pour warm water over grain berries in a jar to cover. Soak for 8-12 hours.
Cut a piece of cheesecloth the size of the jar opening and secure with lid ring.

 After 8 hours, pour out soaking water and add warm water. Drain and replace cheesecloth.

Invert jar and tilt in a bowl, repeating warm water and draining every 8 hours.

After sprouts emerge, drain berries on absorptive towel.

Complete drying process in cheesecloth lined dehydrator trays.

Grind berries in counter-top flour mill to mix and bake. 

Ezekiel Bread, made with 4 grains and 4 beans (some sprouted) is a complete protein bread on which a Biblical prophet was able to survive for almost a year. (Ezekiel also drank water).

No access to a flour mill? See my recipe on the Stone Soup Blog for mixing purchased flours to produce the same results.