Saturday, July 25, 2015

Curried Millet with Assorted Greens and Mushroom Pate

A lot's happening on this plate, thanks to a fridge full of prepared side dishes, condiments and snacks. With a stockpile of cold items like this, dinners are assembled in a flash. The only hot dish is the Curried Millet, augmented by Tofu-Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, 30-Minute Kimchi, Tamari-Preserved Shiso Leaves, Marinated Broccoli Rabe, Cherry Tomatoes from the garden, Mashed Chickpea Salad and Mushroom Pate.

An ancient Korean condiment of shiso leaves marinated in tamari (or soy sauce). The saltiness of the tamari enhances the unique flavor of shiso and lends the leaves a chewier, more toothsome quality. They'll keep for 5 or 6 days refrigerated and any leftover tamari, deeply redolent of shiso flavor, is a real treat sprinkled on rice or sliced tomatoes.

One of the richest and smoothest vegetable pates we know, our Mushroom Pate can be served with any type of food, at any time. Even breakfast! Try a couple of tablespoons smeared inside an omelet or spread on crispy bread for a cheeky take on the British breakfast classic, Mushrooms on Toast.

CURRIED MILLET

Heat 1 T. vegetable or mustard or coconut oil in a saucepan over a high flame. When the oil is very hot but not yet smoking, add 1 t. black mustard seeds. Immediately cover the pan and wait for the seeds to pop, shaking the pan now and then. It should only take about 30 seconds and you'll hear the seeds popping less and less. Quickly remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Toss in 1 onion (diced small) and cook for a couple of minutes. If you need to, add a few more drops of oil. Now add 3/4 cup millet and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, until you can smell the nutty aroma of the grain.

Add 1 t. ground turmeric, 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, 4-6 cardamom pods (cracked), about 1/4 - 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes. Stir to coat the millet and onions with the spices and then pour in 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and quickly reduce heat to the lowest setting. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed and the millet is tender. Some of the individual grains will retain a pleasant crunch; that's millet for you!

Remove from heat and throw in 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries and 1/4 cup minced cilantro. Cover again, let rest for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve hot or very warm. A true favorite side dish at Cafe Drake HRV, the millet can be served as the starch component of any sort of meal.



SHISO PRESERVED IN SOY SAUCE (QUEN-NEEP)

Begin by washing and drying very well 14-16 large shiso leaves. A salad spinner is most helpful here.

Shake well in a jar with a lid, 3-4 T. soy sauce, 1 T. sesame seeds (ground into a powder), 3 T. slivered scallions, 1 T. crushed garlic, 2 T. sesame oil and 1 t. brown sugar.

Now, in a small bowl with a lid - or a glass Tupperware container - begin layering the shiso leaves on top of each other, sprinkling a bit of the seasoned soy sauce on each leaf. When you reach the top leaf, pour any remaining sauce over all and press the leaves down to submerge. The shiso won't be covered completely but it will release its own liquid over the next few hours.

The shiso will keep for at least 3 or 4 days, tightly covered, in the fridge. Use any leftover soy sauce as a dip or for seasoning vegetables or rice.


15-MINUTE MUSHROOM PATE

We'll start with 2 1/2 - 3 cups of diced mushrooms, any kind you like and that includes plain old white button 'shrooms. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a skillet and saute 1 1/2 cups chopped onion until soft and browned. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes, just until the mushrooms are soft.

Transfer the skillet contents to a blender and puree until smooth. You can add up to 2 T. water if needed.

Now add to the blender 1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds ( you should probably do this before you start the recipe, or not), 1 t. tamari or soy sauce, a pinch of sea salt and 2 t. nutritional yeast. Blend until you get a thick and largely smooth texture. Chill and serve cold, with toast points or crackers. This makes an exceedingly easy and impressive starter if plated with crostini, sweet pickles and a tiny dab of grainy mustard.

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