Cooking with Grains

Cooking With Grains – Cooking Class and Recipes

As we change our diets from the average American diet toward one that is more health promoting, breakfast is a great place to start! Begin by using a variety of fresh whole grains. These grains are prepared in minutes and are rich in nutrients. They can be cooking while you take your shower, get the kids ready or do 25 minutes on the exercise bike. Then, simply garnish with the broad array of condiments available and breakfast takes on a healthy and exciting new flavor.


Whole grains are nutritional powerhouses: they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. What makes a grain “whole”, is that it has not been processed or refined, thereby preserving its outer fibrous shell and its inner germ, rich in nutrients. Because the bran has been retained, each 1/2 cup serving of a whole grain provides 4-6 grams of fiber. (The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 30 grams). The indigestible outer covering is the source of insoluble fiber, effective at promoting healthy bowel movements and stabilizing fluctuating blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber is known for its cholesterol lowering effect. When unprocessed, whole grains are good sources of selenium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E and selenium.

The germ is where most of the amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are found. Most grains and beans lack the full complement of all eight essential amino acids in high enough ratios to be considered a complete protein source on their own. But when combined with nuts, seeds, beans or legumes, a complete protein is formed. Amaranth, millet and quinoa have more of the amino acid lysine, which most grains are notoriously deficient in, thus making them better protein sources.


Because our culture has tended to overuse wheat, oats, barley and rye, many people are becoming increasingly sensitive to them. It is the gluten portion that is often allergenic. Gluten is the component of these grains which makes them sticky, thus allowing them to be kneaded into breads. Yet, there are many other delicious grains used extensively throughout the world which do not contain gluten. The non-glutenous grains are amaranth, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), millet, buckwheat, rice and corn. Teff, spelt and kamut contain very low levels of gluten and are often more well tolerated by sensitive indiviuals.


Whole grains should be stored in air-tight glass or ceramic containers. If you see little clumps of grain that cling to the glass like static electricity, it is usually the eggs of grain bugs. When mature, they hatch into larva and become tiny moths. Storing the grain is glass jars keeps bugs out. Simply toss any contaminated grain into a plastic bag and discard. Wash and dry the jar well before putting in fresh grain. Once cooked, whole grains can be refrigerated and reheated 2 or 3 days later.


Preparing grains couldn’t be easier. The simple “2:1 formula” is almost universal: that is 2 parts water to 1 part grain. Slightly more water is recommended for drier grains like millet, quinoa and amaranth. (Use pure, filtered water, since it is the substance that will hydrate the grain). The cooking time is usually 25 minutes, but cooking time will vary depending on the level of heat used, the type of pan and whether or not it is cooked covered. Try adding cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and other spices to the cooking water. For dinner grains, try cooking with broth and added spices.


Another popular method worldwide is to create a pilaff, by sauteing spices and veggies, adding the grain and steaming with water or broth and cooking covered. It’s the world of delicious garnishes that makes whole grains fun to have for breakfast. Start with nuts or seeds, which are delicious toasted. Then add a bit of fruit and some sweetener such as real maple syrup or honey. Vanilla yogurt is delicious on breakfast grains, but if you’re trying to eliminate dairy products, soy-milk, rice-milk or almond-milk are all good options.

If you are the type that isn’t hungry first thing in the morning, just put the garnished grain into a plastic container and take it to work for your break. While everyone else is eating donuts, you’ll be vitalizing your brain and putting in some fuel that will last you till lunchtime.

This class will include the use of steel cut oats, amaranth, millet, quinoa and brown rice. Steel cut oats are demonstrated because they are uncommonly used and yet, are richer in texture, flavor, fiber and nutrients than oatmeal or oat bran. Steel-cut simply refers to the blade used to chop the hard, whole grain into smaller chunks, thus allowing for reduced cooking time. (Oats do contain gluten).


Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that was used by the Aztec Indians hundreds of years ago. Like many of these gluten free grains, it has an unusual flavor at first. Make it several times and you’ll notice yourself starting to appreciate its unique flavor and texture. When cooked, it should resemble farina in texture: tiny, round and sand-like.

Quinoa is another gluten-free grain used by the Inca Indians. It is round and tan colored, but cooks into a light, translucent, fluffy grain. It, too, is richer in useable protein and lends itself well to pilaff and vegetable dishes.

Millet is yet another small, round, yellowish grain that has more protein than most. It is cultivated and used around the world. A common technique used with millet is to toast it by light cooking it in a dry pan till golden and then using it as a pilaff or breakfast grain.

Plain long grain or short grain brown rice can be transformed into “rice pudding” with the addition of vanilla, cinnamon, nuts and yogurt. This is the perfect thing to do with left-over rice, but avoid trying it with basmati rice: the popcorn flavor doesn’t work well as a breakfast dish.


Basic Recipes


For amaranth, quinoa, millet and steel cut oats, use:


1/2 cup grain

1 1/2 cups water


They will roughly double to triple in size during cooking, so 1/2 cup of dry grain will feed 2 people easily. Double the recipe for four people or half it for one person.


Try the following combinations or mix or match condiments to your taste:


Steel cut oats: serve with toasted almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup


Amaranth: serve with toasted cashews and flax, blueberries and maple syrup


Millet: serve with sliced bananas, toasted pumpkin seeds and maple syrup


Quinoa: serve with sliced bananas, toasted cashews and maple syrup


For brown rice use:


1/2 cup rice
1 cup water
or
Put any quantity of rice in a small pan and cover with 1 inch water, bring to a boil for one minute, stir with a fork, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, stir lightly once, remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 10 minutes, then serve with toasted almonds or cashews, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla yogurt or other dairy alternative.


Dairy alternatives:


Nuts and seeds:
Rice Dream-vanilla lite – Flax seeds, ground
Edensoy Soymilk-vanilla – Pumpkin seeds
White Almond Beverage – Almonds
Amazaki – Cashew pieces


As we change our diets from the average American diet toward one that is more health promoting, breakfast is a great place to start! Begin by using a variety of fresh whole grains. These grains are prepared in minutes and are rich in nutrients. They can be cooking while you take your shower, get the kids ready or do 25 minutes on the exercise bike. Then, simply garnish with the broad array of condiments available and breakfast takes on a healthy and
exciting new flavor.

Whole grains are nutritional powerhouses: they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. What makes a grain “whole”, is that it has not been processed or refined, thereby preserving its outer fibrous shell and its inner germ, rich in nutrients. Because the bran has been retained, each 1/2 cup serving of a whole grain provides 4-6 grams of fiber. (The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 30 grams). The indigestible outer covering is the source of insoluble fiber, effective at promoting healthy bowel movements and stabilizing fluctuating blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber is known for its cholesterol lowering effect. When unprocessed, whole grains are good sources of selenium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E and selenium.

The germ is where most of the amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are found. Most grains and beans lack the full complement of all eight essential amino acids in high enough ratios to be considered a complete protein source on their own. But when combined with nuts, seeds, beans or legumes, a complete protein is formed. Amaranth, millet and quinoa have more of the amino acid lysine, which most grains are notoriously deficient in, thus making them better protein sources.

Because our culture has tended to overuse wheat, oats, barley and rye, many people are becoming increasingly sensitive to them. It is the gluten portion that is often allergenic. Gluten is the component of these grains< which makes them sticky, thus allowing them to be kneaded into breads. Yet, there are many other delicious grains used extensively throughout the world which do not contain gluten. The non-glutenous grains are amaranth, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), millet, buckwheat, rice and corn. Teff, spelt and kamut contain very low levels of gluten and are often more well tolerated by sensitive indiviuals.

Whole grains should be stored in air-tight glass or ceramic containers. If you see little clumps of grain that cling to the glass like static electricity, it is usually the eggs of grain bugs. When mature, they hatch into larva and become tiny moths. Storing the grain is glass jars keeps bugs out. Simply toss any contaminated grain into a plastic bag and discard. Wash and dry the jar well before putting in fresh grain. Once cooked, whole grains can be refrigerated and reheated 2 or 3 days later.


Preparing grains couldn’t be easier. The simple “2:1 formula” is almost universal: that is 2 parts water to 1 part grain. Slightly more water is recommended for drier grains like millet, quinoa and amaranth. (Use pure, filtered water, since it is the substance that will hydrate the grain). The cooking time is usually 25 minutes, but cooking time will vary depending on the level of heat used, the type of pan and whether or not it is cooked covered. Try adding cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and other spices to the cooking water. For dinner grains, try cooking with broth and added spices. Another popular method worldwide is to create a pilaff, by sauteing spices and veggies, adding the grain and steaming with water or broth and cookin covered. It’s the world of delicious garnishes that makes whole grains fun to have for breakfast. Start with nuts or seeds, which are delicious toasted. Then add a bit of fruit and some sweetener such as real maple syrup or honey. Vanilla yogurt is delicious on breakfast grains, but if you’re trying to eliminate dairy products, soy-milk, rice-milk or almond-milk are all good options.


If you are the type that isn’t hungry first thing in the morning, just put the garnished grain into a plastic container and take it to work for your break. While everyone else is eating donuts, you’ll be vitalizing your brain and putting in some fuel that will last you till lunchtime.

This class will include the use of steel cut oats, amaranth, millet, quinoa and brown rice. Steel cut oats are demonstrated because they are uncommonly used and yet, are richer in texture, flavor, fiber and nutrients than oatmeal or oat bran. Steel-cut simply refers to the blade used to chop the hard, whole grain into smaller chunks, thus allowing for reduced cookingtime. (Oats do contain gluten).

Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that was used by the Aztec Indians hundreds of years ago. Like many of these gluten free grains, it has an unusual flavor at first. Make it several times and you’ll notice yourself starting to appreciate its unique flavor and texture. When cooked, it should resemble farina in texture: tiny, round and sand-like.

Quinoa is another gluten-free grain used by the Inca Indians. It is round and tan colored, but cooks into a light, translucent, fluffy grain. It, too, is richer in useable protein and lends itself well to pilaff and vegetable dishes.

Millet is yet another small, round, yellowish grain that has more protein than most. It is cultivated and used around the world. A common technique used with millet is to toast it by light cooking it in a dry pan till golden and then using it as a pilaff or breakfast grain.

Plain long grain or short grain brown rice can be transformed into “rice pudding” with the addition of vanilla, cinnamon, nuts and yogurt. This is the perfect thing to do with left-over rice, but avoid trying it with basmati rice: the popcorn flavor doesn’t work well as a breakfast dish.



Basic Recipes


For amaranth, quinoa, millet and steel cut oats, use:


1/2 cup grain

1 1/2 cups water


They will roughly double to triple in size during cooking, so 1/2 cup of dry grain will feed 2 people easily. Double the recipe for four people or half it for one person.


Try the following combinations or mix or match condiments to your taste:


Steel cut oats: serve with toasted almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup.


Amaranth: serve with toasted cashews and flax, blueberries and maple syrup


Millet: serve with sliced bananas, toasted pumpkin seeds and maple syrup


Quinoa: serve with sliced bananas, toasted cashews and maple syrup


For brown rice use:

1/2 cup rice
1 cup water
or
Put any quantity of rice in a small pan and cover with 1 inch water, bring to a boil for one minute, stir with a fork, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, stir lightly once, remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 10 minutes, then serve with toasted almonds or cashews, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla yogurt or other dairy alternative.


Dairy alternatives:

Nuts and seeds:
Rice Dream-vanilla lite – Flax seeds, ground
Edensoy Soymilk-vanilla – Pumpkin seeds
White Almond Beverage – Almonds
Amazaki – Cashew pieces


Dr. Sally LaMont practices in Marin County, California and can be reached at (415) 267-7679

Avatar Written by Sally LaMont ND

We Humbly Recommend

Get the Healthiest Newsletter!

Get a dose of Healthy delivered straight to your inbox. Each FREE issue features amazing content that will elevate your Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Your data is never shared with 3rd parties

Introducing

Healthy Shopping

Health and Wellbeing products lovingly curated for you.