Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eat Your Wheatberries

We've been sneaking our wheatberries into places where we'd usually eat rice or quinoa (wheatberry fried rice for lunch yesterday). But I've also been eating them mixed with Greek yogurt, walnuts, and raisins (sometimes with cinnamon and maple syrup), for a better-than-oatmeal breakfast.

As usual, the Internet has more elaborate variations. 101 Cookbooks has a beautiful Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl, featuring
Thin slices of sautéed pears, ruby-hued cranberries, and plump, golden wheat berries are sweetened with generous dollops of maple-sweetened yogurt and finished with plenty of toasted pecans and a sprinkling of dried persimmons, ginger, and dates.
Food Gourmand has another variation on that recipe, with bananas, mangoes, dried apricots, and cherries. And Eating well makes a hot cereal version that sounds more like standard oatmeal.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Sweet Potato Samosas

With the extra wrappers from Chinese New Year dim sum and a lazy long weekend before us, we improvised samosas for Sunday dinner. They were meant to be appetizers, but we enjoyed them so much that we didn't quite get around to the leftover-eating that was supposed to be dinner.

Sweet Potato Samosas

Boil peeled sweet potato chunks until very soft.

Meanwhile, cook some finely sliced onion, garlic, and ginger in oil. When the onion is soft, add garam masala (or other Indian spices) to taste, and fry until fragrant.

Add the drained cooked sweet potato chunks to the pan, and stir together until the potato is roughly mashed. Stir in defrosted frozen peas. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place a small spoonful of samosa filling in the center of a square wonton wrapper. Wet the edges with lightly beaten egg, fold into a triangle, and press the edges to seal.

Deep-fry until delicious-looking. (I would have tried pan-frying or baking these if I were making them myself -- I only deep-fry when I can talk someone else into doing it for me.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Vegetable Borscht

We had beets, so it was time to make borscht. According to James Meek, this was not without geopolitical implications:
What happens to the food that defines a world when that world vanishes? What happened, in particular, to the dish that was once the common denominator of the Soviet kitchen, the dish that tied together the peasant and the cosmonaut, the high table of the Kremlin and the meanest canteen in the boondocks of the Urals? What happened to the beetroot soup that pumped like a main artery through the kitchens of the east Slav lands? What happened to borshch?
(The full article from the Guardian is worth reading for murder, intrigue, travelogue, etc.)

As usual, we got the basic recipe from Epicurious (Beet and Cabbage Borscht), following the reader suggestions to increase the proportion of vegetables to broth, to omit the tomatoes, to add apple cider vinegar as well as lemon juice, and not puree the soup at the end.

A local blogger's Ukrainian-style borscht recipe gave us the confidence to throw in all our accumulated winter CSA vegetables: beets, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, turnips/rutabagas, onions.

(Caution: Housemate Liz insisted to us 1) that she doesn't like borscht, and 2) that borscht is white. These claims seemed so absurd that we were forced to research them. It turns out Liz finds our borscht delectable and that there is a Polish white borscht, which has no beets but which includes such delicious ingredients as "sausage cooking water, fat removed" and hard-boiled eggs.)

P.S. I also made Mark Bittman's whole-wheat muffins with a last, giant, slightly bruised CSA apple to accompany the copious borscht leftovers.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Enigma Sweet Potatoes

These sweet potatoes (served here over CSA arugula and brown rice) were delicious in my lunchbox, but I couldn't quite place the seasoning. The chef was uncooperative when interrogated about the ingredients, though I did get that they were roasted.

Fortunately, Enigma codebreakers, working around the clock, have decrypted the following communique pertaining to Operation: Sweet Potatoes.
... 4 or 5 largish sweet potatoes, half a stick of butter and about that much oil, a teaspoon of liquid smoke, a couple teaspoons of cider vinegar (I think you could double this one -- I couldn't tell if it did anything), cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper to taste ...
It is believed that this intelligence will hasten the replication of the recipe by at least two years.

P.S. The crazies over on the Bitten blog are substituting celeriac for bechamel sauce on lasagna.