Ever tried pairing poppy seeds and millet? Poppy seeds are a big thing in this country (we used to be pretty famous for their production), but they´re mostly used as a sugary filling in all kinds of baked goods or as a sprinkle on top of savoury buns and bread rolls. In Czech macro desserts they are often used paired with millet and stewed fruit or some other sweet stuff. This time I wanted to mix them with millet just to make a usual grain sidedish and I must say I like it even though it might need some getting used to! 😀 The poppy seeds do lend a very distinct flavour, which I happen to love..
I mixed millet and poppy seeds in a 1:1 ratio and just boiled them together in a pot of water with a pinch of salt (grain to water was 1:3), for about 20-30 minutes.
As a vegetable dish I first blanched brussel sprouts halves – very shortly, maybe 30 seconds, just until they got bright green. Then I transferred them onto a pan with heated oil and sauteed them, stirring often and with the addition of some black Indian vulcanic salt, until they got a bit of a golden surface. I seasoned them with freshly cracked black pepper. I also blanched a few large chunks of daikon, longer than the sprouts, to bring out the daikon´s sweetness. Delightful simple dish 🙂
Since I try to avoid potatoes for their weakening effect and alkaloid content, I like to make oven fries from all kinds of vegetables, of course, not all of them are suited for this purpose. What works great are pretty much any root vegetables, especially carrot and parsnip. Also sweet potatoes, naturally, because they resemble standard potatoes so much. Also pumpkin, because it´s so high in starch. That´s actually the main criteria: it has to be starchy! 😀
Here I cut up carrot, pumpkin and sweet potato into the shape of french fries and marinated them for a few hours in some oil with salt and ground cumin, lovely, trust me! 🙂 Then I baked them on a tray in the oven, using a parchment paper, and turning them every 10 or 15 minutes to bake evenly. About 180-200°C and 30-50 minutes should work – but every oven is different.
I had the fries with millet cooked together with some already cooked dried chestnuts (yeah, they really were somewhere there!) and gomasio.
This is another brilliant recipe from the Czech cookbook from Dagmar Lužná. I made some small adjustments only. It´s pretty much a usual deep-fried millet croquette, yet the subtle fish flavour coming from the bonito flakes gives it a special exotic touch. I didn´t see bonito flakes (dried flakes of a fish from the tuna family) anywhere here in CZ, I am still using my old ones from Amsterdam. But perhaps they sell them in some Asian specialty shops, who knows…
First you need to cook millet (about 3/4 cup for two people is more than enough) for about half an hour in a 1: 2,5 ratio of grain to water, with a small pinch of salt. I always presoak my grain and then rinse it, but it is not necessary. Meanwhile you can finely grate one large or two smaller carrots, finely mince one smaller onion and one (or two) garlic cloves. When the cooked millet cools down, mix in the grated carrot and minced onion and garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of dried bonito flakes, 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of salt. If the mixture is too thin, you could add some oat flakes to thicken it. Otherwise just make small round balls with your hands and roll them in breadcrumbs (I used glutenfree corn crumbs) and deep-fry your millet croquettes until golden and crispy. Spray them with some shoyu or tamari soy sauce immediately after taking them out of the oil ( I do that with a slotted spoon or special tempura strainer). Keeping soy sauce in a spray bottle is very very handy 😀
I served the millet balls with some pickles and raw green daikon.
How delightfully simple macrobiotic cooking can sometimes be! You don´t always need to go for five or six different small dishes, sometimes less is really more…
I just cooked up some millet until soft (achieved by cooking in a 1:3 ratio of grain to water), adding small chunks of pumpkin in the beginning. After about 20-30 minutes of cooking both can be mashed up with a potato masher or surikogi (wooden pestle), anything that works…Serve with or without gomasio. It´s a really lovely combination, so sweet and nourishing!
As a side I made water-sauteed matchsticks of carrot and kohlrabi, with salt to season and some organic corn kernels thrown in, and a spoon of tahini to add extra flavour and texture.
First of all, sorry for the not appetizing picture, taking pics in the evening light of my dark kitchen sucks :-p
Nonetheless, this dish should not totally escape your attention, as I think it´s really great for those cold days when you just want something soothing, yet not bland!
The thing that looks like mashed potato is a variety of the popular “millet mash” which is usually made with cauliflower. Instead I cooked a cup of millet with a roughly equal amount of chopped parsnip, a pinch of salt and three cups of water, for about half an hour on a low flame and under a lid. Then I mashed it up with a potato masher (actually, I might have used the wooden pestle for making gomasio as I often do! :-D) and seasoned with some fresh cracked black pepper and nutmeg. I topped the mash with shiso leaf powder (shiso is the leaf used when pickling umeboshi plums) – but I think I must have sprinkled it on top after taking the picture 😀
I baked pumpkin with three different toppings: salt only, salt+thyme and salt+ginger juice+cinnamon. Yes, playing around 😀 The pumpkin bakes for about half an hour on 180°C but that really depends on your pumpkin (and oven)!
And I made a lovely stew of sliced cabbage, onion and carrot, simmered gently in a liquid made of diluted white (shiro) miso, apple juice and organic mustard 🙂
This is not really a recipe, just a little breakfast idea 😉
I had some organic unfiltered apple-apricot juice on hand, but you could definitely use just plain apple juice. I usually make my morning millet porridge just with water in a 1:3 ratio, but now I switched the water for above mentioned juice, keeping the same ratio. It was incredibly sweet and delicious, more a dessert than a breakfast porridge! 😀 And so creamy….
I topped the grain with toasted chopped almonds!
Stamppot is THE most traditional Dutch meal of all time and so you can imagine my mostly-macro Dutch boyfriend misses it at times 😀 I promised him that I will try to make a macro stamppot one day – without the potatoes and fatty bacon bits! Finally I got to this experiment a few days ago and we were both pleasantly surprised, my boyfriend even admitted that it does resemble real stamppot (I suppose with a bit of imagination, like always! :-D). Well, try out for yourself…
Start with a classical macro “mashed potato” recipe, that is by cooking millet and cauliflower in a pot with a 1 to 3 grain to water ratio and a pinch of salt, until soft, then mash until smooth with a potato masher or surikogi (wooden pestle) or anything that will do…
Then…add more salt and spices of your preference (I added black pepper powder and ground nutmeg) and mix in a LOT (trust me…it has to be quite green in the end) of leafy greens, I had some beautiful swiss chard from the farmer´s market. You might need to blanche or steam your greens very lightly before mixing them in, but the chard was fine when mixed through the very hot grain. Stir very long until all the greens get soft and well incorporated in the
Top with long cooked caramelized onions (I even added a bit of brown rice flour to mine to create a more gravy-like effect).
Here in Slovenia it´s most definitely asparagus season – on the farmer´s market almost every stand has these beautiful bundles of tall green asparagus stalks, they are apparently very popular. Now I had asparagus only a few times in my life, as in the Czech Republic it´s not a vegetable people would normally use. You can sometimes find it hidden in a soup, and it´s easier to find in a posh restaurant. But here it´s a food of “normal people” 😀 I found out asparagus is not your typical “macrobiotic vegetable” (it seems that it´s a tad too yin), but I wanted to give it a try anyway, so I purchased a small bundle and tried steaming it, baking it under a tin foil with some water, roasting it dry in the oven and woking it with other veggies 🙂 Here are two of these creations.
The first one is asparagus simply steamed with a sprinkle of salt. Served with millet-cauliflower mash (see my recipes for this one – basically it´s just millet and cauliflower cooked together and then well mashed), into which I added a teaspoon of shiro miso for more flavour. I also made a “roots and tops” vegetable dish – one big spring carrot sliced into thin diagonals, simmered one minute with water to cover, then I added its fiber-rich cut up tops and simmered under a lid for a couple minutes more, towards the end adding just half a teaspoon of shoyu.
The other meal is asparagus baked in the oven on 200°C for about 15 minutes, with a sprinkle of salt. For my boyfriend I added also a coating of oil and some extra cracked black pepper. Served with rice/amaranth mixture and the Purple passion stew from Jessica Porter´s book. It´s basically a nishime – a piece of kombu on the bottom of a heavy pot, then rounds of daikon, half of a small red cabbage cut into small chunks, and just about an inch of water. I simmered the veggies for half an hour, covered with a lid. It turns the daikon deep purple, how cool!!
For millet-cauliflower mash (macrobiotic fake “mashed potatoes” :-D) just boil together 1 cup of millet with 3 cups of water, a pinch of salt and one small cauliflower half, for about half an hour, then mash together with a potato masher, or anything else suitable…Sprinkle with gomasio.
I love cauliflower leaves, so I also blanched those.
The Tangy cabbage is a recipe from Kristina Turner´s “The self-healing cookbook” which I am reading at the moment. Just crush one umeboshi plum on the bottom of a small pot and spread it across the bottom, then add 1/3 cup of water and thinly sliced onion (I used a red onion for the contrast colors). Place thinly shredded white cabbage on top of the onion, cover with a lid, and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes. Mix through. The umeboshi gives a really wonderful flavour to this subtle dish!
As a “protein” I made tofu slices simmered in a frying pan under a lid with one tablespoon of shoyu and one tablespoon of lemon juice (for 4 slices of tofu).
In Slovenia I discovered they share my love for topinambours, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, a sort of tubers with a pleasant nutty taste. I like to use them in blended soups (they create quite a creamy starchy texture) – in the soup below I cooked them with a piece of wakame, carrots, sweet potato and butternut squash. I seasoned the soup with rice miso and garnished with parsley.
A couple of days ago I started my recommended dietary regime to clear up my persistent health issues…that means, among other things, going oil-free, for a couple of months. The evening before switching to this new diet I made….fried millet burgers! 😀 Yay! They were awesome…will miss those and similar stuff…
I had some leftover millet into which I stirred some brown rice flour, water and about a teaspoon of psyllium husk (a dietary fiber which helps binding). I seasoned the mix with salt, black pepper, italian herbs (made out of oregano, basel, rosemary, thyme and garlic), fresh parsley and fresh wild garlic (known also as ramsons, a thing you can find at the market here!). I grated a carrot to provide a veggie and then I just formed patties with my hand (the mix should be not too runny so you can create patties, but also not too stiff…just enough) and fried them in rice bran oil, one of my fave oils. Delish!