Monday, August 28, 2006

Amaranth-Spinach with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Tonight I saw that I had a few Brussels sprouts and sweet peppers needing to be cooked, so I made a simple side dish saute of them along with shallots. A few days ago, I purchased Colgin Liquid Smoke, clearly marked as vegan, and I used it for the first time by adding some to the saute, as well as fresh rosemary.

I wanted to experiment with amaranth, an 8000-year-old grain that is a nutritive powerhouse, including being a great source of calcium, protein, and fiber. It is often used to make slightly sweet cereals and is typically cooked in a ratio of 1 part grain to 2.5 parts simmering water in a covered pan for about 18-20 minutes till the amaranth seeds are just tender. I cooked the amaranth in vegetable broth and mixed in cooked spinach, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a Caribbean hot sauce. I was wondering if we would find it a little bland, but my wife and I enjoyed the dish; the seasoning was just right to check the grain's natural sweetness and I liked how the grain mixed right in to the spinach. I'd like to work with amaranth again in the near future, perhaps combining it in a stew.

We enjoyed how we ate avocado tonight, cubed with heirloom tomato, freshly squeezed lime, fresh oregano, and a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dinner was rounded out with a wheat English muffin topped with vegan "ghee" that my students made last week by clarifying Earth Balance.

I was delighted that Susan of the FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog featured my blog day the before yesterday (Saturday). Unfortunately, though, I wasn't blogging over the weekend. On Friday, we quickly met our good friends who moved today to get some kitchen supplies that they didn't pack; they convinced us to join them for some falafel, salad, and spreads at International Delights, though I was already planning some home cooking. On Saturday, we went to a vegetarian society potluck dinner / vegan chocolate fondue party; I made my "Dilip’s Lime Seitan Sticks" with seitan sticks marinated in organic Baja Lime marinade, as I did on August 7, with fresh home-grown rosemary, fresh lime juice, turmeric and other spices, and organic mushrooms (champignon, abilone, shiitake, shimeji). Yesterday was the surprise going away party with more than 30 people that I organized for my friends who are moving; I arranged raw and cooked appetizers, mango juice, and a wheat dessert for $6, and everybody could order main courses from the menu (I had a spring masala dosa, one of my favorites) at Tower South Indian restaurant.


At Tue Aug 29, 07:48:00 AM EDT, Blogger mipmup said...

i've wanted to try liquid smoke for a while; thanks for the tip on the vegan-friendly version. i read about liquid smoke in cook's illustrated. it came in second in their taste test back in 2003 and "was described as 'sharp and sweet,' flavors [they] attributed to the presence of vinegar and molasses." (wright's hickory-flavored came in first place, though i don't know if it's vegan.)

At Tue Aug 29, 03:35:00 PM EDT, Blogger Dilip said...

Sure thing. This was the first time I tried adding any kind of smoked flavor, and I was pleased. I used very little and am glad that I did - it's strong.

At Wed Aug 30, 12:29:00 AM EDT, Blogger funwithyourfood said...

you can clarify EB?
wow i didn't know that was possible. Makes sense but would never have thought of it.

ps i liquid smoke is a wonderful ingredient. the first time i tried it in a dish i immediately loved it and wanted to know how in the world they got their tofu so tasty.

At Wed Aug 30, 01:25:00 AM EDT, Blogger Dilip said...

Indeed you can clarify Earth Balance. Just bring it to a simmer and spoon off the white flakes that you see till you lose patience - perhaps for 5m or so. I enjoyed the liquid smoke but it's a strong flavor and I don't see using it but once every week or two, or maybe even less frequently. Thanks for your kind comments.


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