Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hello. How YOU doin'?

Wow. What a week. Work was crazy busy, and while I did do a bit of cooking, there was no time to blog. I didn't even really get to visit and read my favorite blogs, and am just jumping in here on the fly today. I'm trying to finish up some projects this weekend, and just needed to give that priority. Of course, before work, there's always family. My oldest daughter needed some time at her work today, which was the perfect excuse for Poppa and Grandma to drop everything and spend the morning with the granddaughters. We visited the park, where the tiny one had her first ride on a big slide. She started out with her sister, but did have a solo venture later. Daredevil that she is, she laughed hysterically when she did a 360 about half way down. Of course, Grandma was right there to make sure no harm was done. The 8-year difference in their ages means that the tiny one is always stretching just a bit beyond her abilities in an effort to copy everything big sister does!

I'm continuing to cook out of Veganomicon, and still really loving it. Earlier in the week, I made Snobby Joes--another lentil version of that old family standby. DH and I both liked this one quite a lot. In fact, DH liked it so much that he took all of it to work before I got to have a proper portion. The night I made it, I hadn't had a chance to eat, and snacked so much before dinner that I wasn't hungry. Of course, I thought I'd get to take it for lunch the next day, but....Oh, well. That's over and done with. I vented to my friends and left him unscathed. Instead of copying the recipe here, I'm going to link to its location at the authors' website, The Post Punk Kitchen. Lots of cool stuff to check out there!

Friday night, I finally had a chance to really get into the kitchen. This Mexican Millet recipe, again from Veganomicon, had caught my eye earlier. Per the authors' suggestion, I served it with Black Beans in Chipotle Adobo Sauce. It made a really nice, comforting combination. I'd never really cooked with millet before--maybe once, in my murky past. Of course, that was my maiden name, so it always felt kind of weird. Like, what if there was a food named Jones or Smith--would you want to eat that? I didn't think so.

The Mexican Millet starts by sauteeing the aromatics, then toasting the grain in the same skillet. Next, broth, spices, tomato paste, and chopped fresh tomato is added, then a half an hour of simmering ensues. I couldn't resist a spoonful right out of the pot as soon as it was done. It had all the soft, almost creamy consistency that I was looking for, with nuances of jalapeno competing with the acidic bite of the tomato.

For the beans, I used Rancho Gordo Black Valentines that I had cooked previously. This recipe calls for canned beans which are enhanced by bay leaves and onion, and simmered for a good hour until they practically melt. This worked just fine with my homemade beans, too. While the beans simmer and soften, onions and garlic are caramelized, then goosed with some chopped chipotle and adobo sauce. Interestingly, this is supposed to be blended to make a sauce. I gotta tell ya', I went looking for errata in the book, because there is absolutely no liquid in this. Despite a good half hour of online searching, I found no recorded errors for this recipe. I did add a bit more olive oil, scooped the mixture into a small bowl, and used the immersion blender to mix it up. As you can probably tell from the pictures, it didn't drizzle. However, it did stir nicely into the beans. I don't know that creating the sauce and spooning it over the beans really does anything more than just stirring it directly into the bean pot, but it does make for a nice presentation. I'm also thinking that the "sauce" would make an awfully good dip stirred into some regular or tofu sour cream.

And last, I just thought this was the prettiest slice of beet ever. I had a bunch of red beets and a bunch of golden beets. I wrapped them all together in foil and roasted them, and as a result, some of the red beet juice stained the golden beats. I'm thinking I need to come up with some sort of alcohol-based vinaigrette for these, and have Tequila Sunrise Beets. For now, I have the slices marinating in a Raspberry Walnut vinaigrette, and plan to top them with some sheep's milk feta and toasted walnuts for lunch tomorrow. I don't know how much I'll be able to post this week, but stop back if you have time. I'll do my best!


LisaRene said...

Cute granddaughters!

I'm intrigued by the Mexican Millet. I have the tendency to forget about millet and would like to start cooking with it more often.

Meg Wolff said...

I agree that this beet is beautiful! At the end of your post you mention that you are looking for a vinaigrette (the one you made sounded nice!). Another easy one I do is to take a lemon and squeeze it over the beets after they are cooked, pickling them.

Michelle said...

Lisa--it had been a long time since I'd had millet, too. It's strange in that it gets soft, but also stays sort of crunchy. Good, though.

Meg, I agree that lemon with beets is also a great flavor. I love the tangy bitterness with the sweet earthiness of a roasted beet.

LisaRene said...

Hello Michelle,

I have "Tagged" you. If you wish to participate, please go to my blog for the rules.