Thursday, June 21, 2012
KALE SAUTE WITH MILLET
The larger and larger my belly grows, the more and more I am hunting out easy, nutritious meals to feed my family and I. For some ridiculous reason my energy has been sapped yet my motivation stays strong. This makes for quite the volatile mix of emotions [something I am sure my husband would say "Amen!" to - he's been such a trooper]. Mix in a week of 90+ degree days and UGH, UGH, UGH!
Today we actually got a break in the heat [evidence that there is a God and he does answer prayers!] and I actually have a bit more energy than in the past week thanks to some chia seeds, a relatively good night's rest, 70s, a little rain, and a bit of help from "Bep" [ie. my mom]. My initial thought is to spend this little treasure I've been given as quickly as possible knowing that it will most likely disappear after one night of tossing and turning or another few days of potty training. Yet the more wise voice inside [that would be my husband's voice as I have no sense of limitations whatsoever] begs me to take it easy - do a little more than normal but not too much and still "rest" for the most part. This receives one big, heavy, defeating *SIGH*. But I submit knowing it is for the best.
So, back to easy meals. This one has become one of my favorites, especially for lunch. You can make a large batch and have quite a few lunches to go around. I have been dutifully stocking the freezer with such meals knowing that cooking will fall a few notches down the priority list in month or two.
Oh, and I have to give props to my mom for introducing me to using mushrooms in this way. She sauteed asparagus in a similar manner and I was hooked. Thanks mom!
[FOOD OR FUNGUS?]
A word about mushrooms - I generally can't bring myself to swallow them. I think it may be the texture but seriously, gross! Mushrooms are one of those foods that I go back to again and again with childlike faith, desperately hoping that maybe this time I'll think they are delicious.
So why do I continue to work at acquiring a taste for something so small, spongy, and well, weird?
Mushrooms are amazingly effective detoxifiers, especially when it comes to fat in the blood [think cholesterol], pathogens [bad bacteria, viruses, toxins, etc.], and mucus [for example, respiratory infections]. Stronger mushrooms, such as reishi, are highly valued in the eastern countries and believed to increase longevity [meaning good health throughout life]. Mushrooms are high in protein [for vegetarians and vegan, cha ching!] and host a good amount of vitamin B2 and zinc as well.
Reishi mushrooms in particular can be helpful when treating AIDS, leaky gut syndrome, Epstein-Barr, and chronic bronchitis. Need another reason to add them to your diet? They are used to aid sleep, keep you "regular", and lower cholesterol. Taking a reishi tincture is a great way to get these benefits if cooking with them is a bit too much [although mushrooms in general are known in the culinary world to improve the flavor of whatever they are cooked with so I guess you can make the call].
Shitake mushrooms have immune boosting, antiviral, and antitumor properties and work to specifically protect the cardiovascular system. Of course this is of no interest to us Americans as we don't struggle with any of these issues...
In addition to having similar uses as the reishi mushroom, they are also used to treat environmental allergies, candidiasis infections, frequent flus and colds and are rich in vitamins D, B2, and B12 [and we thought we needed to consume obnoxious amounts of fortified foods and supplements to get these rare nutrients!].
If mushrooms give you the willies [something I understand all too well!], I hope you continue to explore ways to get them in your diet. May this recipe be the perfect place to start.
For the millet:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 c. of millet [I love this with millet but you can also use brown rice or quinoa]
1 3/4 c. homemade [or gluten-free] vegetable broth
Rinse dry millet well in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. Heat oil in a medium size saucepan. Once warmed [not smoking], add onion and saute until onion begins to brown [5 - 7 minutes]. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add dried millet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until millet is fragrant and toasted [7 - 10 minutes, it may turn a deep golden or begin to brown but shouldn't burn]. Carefully add broth [it will sizzle and may splatter a little], stir, and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce to low. Do not stir with millet is cooking. Cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
For the veggies:
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and finely chopped [to soak, place mushrooms in water for 10 - 20 minutes to soften, drain] or use mushroom of choice
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 - 4 c. of loosely packed, chopped kale leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
While millet is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium to large cast iron skillet. Once the oil is warmed [not smoking] add mushrooms and saute for 3 - 5 minutes or until mushrooms are deep brown and soft. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Toss in kale and stir. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until the kale is just wilted and bright green. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked millet.