Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sweet Brown Rice with Adzuki Beans

Sweet Brown Rice with Adzuki Beans

Sweet Brown Rice, also known as brown glutinous rice or brown sweet rice is a short grain rice that is very sticky when cooked because of its high glutinous content. This rice is popular among Asians in savory and dessert dishes. Sweet brown rice can be purchased from Whole Foods Market or from a health food store.

Here I have cooked up my own version of a Japanese sweet rice with adzuki beans. Dried adzuki beans (also labeled as azuki beans or aduki beans) are best purchased from an Asian food market where it is reasonably priced. Adzuki beans are low in calories and high in soluble fiber. These beans are a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc and also rich in B vitamins. According to Dr. Oz, red beans contains the highest antioxidant of all foods. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with regular sweet rice. The recipe have been modified to be cooked with sweet brown rice. This is a very simple rice dish that is very nutritious and delicious. I can eat this all on its own. You can enjoy this dish as a side dish or eaten all on its own.

1/2 cup dried adzuki beans (3.5 ounces)
4 cups water (32 ounces)
One 3-inch by 2-inch size piece of kombu (0.1 ounce) (Optional)
2 cups sweet brown rice, washed and drained (13.4 ounces)
Cooking liquid from the drained adzuki beans and additional water to measure 3 cups
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash beans well and place in a small pot. Add the 4 cups water and place the kombu, if using, in the pot. Bring beans to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes. I forgot how long I acutally cooked the beans so I recommend checking at 1 hour, 15 minutes and taste one. If the bean is still too firm, let it cook longer. You don't want the beans too soft either. Make sure you cook it on medium-low heat where there is very little bubbling activity in the pot (about 1 or 2 bubbling action at a time). If you cook the beans at too high of a temperature, the beans will not stay whole and the outer skins will burst open.

When the beans have cooked, drained the beans, RESERVING  the cooking liquid. Plunge the beans in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain the beans and set aside. With the reserved cooking liquid, add enough cold water to measure 3 cups of liquid. Set aside.

Place rice in a medium-size pot and add the 3 cups reserved cooking liquid/water and salt. Bring rice to a boil. Give the rice a good stir, cover pot and reduce the temperature between medium-low heat and low heat. Let the rice cook for 45 minutes, undisturbed.

When rice is cooked, gently fluff the rice using chopsticks or a fork. Rice may be a bit wet, but that's okay. Add the reserved cooked adzuki beans and gently stir the beans and rice until combined. Cover pot with the lid and let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Now the rice is ready to serve. Place rice in a seving bowl. Sprinkle the top with some roasted black and/or white sesame seeds and tear up some roasted seaweeds. So delicious!!!

Yield 2 to 4 servings

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chicken with Millet and Vegetables One-Skillet Meal
Adapted from Whole Foods Market

The first time I cooked this dish, I followed the recipe exactly as written on Whole Foods website. The millet was a bit soggy and scorched at the bottom. It was delicious, but the dish did not look appetizing at all. This will not be a good meal to cook for your dinner guest.

The next time I made this dish, I didn't want the millet to scorch a second time so baking this dish in the oven did solve this problem. Replacing the spinach with kale made this dish heartier and added better texture. I also read that if you stir millet during cooking, it will cause the millet to be more creamier rather than fluffy so I added the millet towards the end just when this dish was ready to go in the oven. Adding sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste added another layer of flavor and color to this dish.

I'm thinking that you can also go meatless and just cooking the millet and vegetables all by itself as a side dish, If you haven't try millet, you will love this dish.

1-1/4 cups millet (8.3 ounces)
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, all visible fat removed (about 2:4.8 pounds)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 11.3 to 12.1 ounces)
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced (0.7 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste (1.0 ounce)
1/4 cup extra-moist, julienne sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (0.7 ounce)
One 14-ounce can Swansons brand 33% less-sodium chicken broth and add enough water to measure 2-1/2 cups broth/water (1:4.0 pounds)
1 bunch lacinato kale, thick stems removed and thinly sliced (about 6.3 to 6.7 ounces)
Chopped fresh Italian parsley or thinly sliced chives for garnish (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven.

Place millet in a fine sieve. Wash millet under slow-running cold water, using your fingers to rub through the millet until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain well.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat an oven-proof deep skillet over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Place 4 chicken thighs in the pan and cook until browned on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add more olive oil to the pan and brown the remaining 4 chicken thighs. Set aside.

Using the same skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the mushrooms. Continue to cook on medium-high heat until mushrooms are browned and all liquid released from the mushrooms have evaporated, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes. If skillet becomes dry and looks like it's going to scorch, stir in 1 tablespoon water and proceed with browning the mushrooms. Add the onions to the mushrooms, and continue to cook on medium-high heat until onions are lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Continue to cook until fragrant, about 10 to 20 seconds. Add the chicken broth/water, sun-dried tomato and kale to the skillet. Continue to cook on medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil and kale has cooked down considerably, about 2 minutes. Stir in the millet to evenly distribute the millet. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the millet and vegetables. When mixture returns to a boil, cover and bake for 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with parsley or chives as a garnish, if desired.

Yield 4 servings

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
Adapted from Whole Foods Market

It's good enough to eat for breakfast!

1 cup whole wheat flour (128g)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (3g)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, softened (113g)
3/4 cup light brown sugar (170g)
2 large eggs (104g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups rolled oats (170g)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (184g)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (65g)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.

Place flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-size bowl. Whisk flour mixture with a whisk until well blended. Set aside.

Place coconut oil in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat at medium speed (speed 4) for 2 minutes until creamy. Add the brown sugar and continued to mix at medium speed for another 2 minutes until well blended (on a very cold day, the mixture will form into a large mass. That is OK. Once the eggs are added, the large mass will loosen up). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, stopping mixer to scrape down sides.

On low speed (speed 1), mix in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the coconut milk, starting and ending with flour mixture (i.e., start with one-third flour mixture, then 1/4 cup coconut milk; another one-third flour mixture, remaining1/4 cup coconut milk; ending with the remaining one-third of flour mixture), scraping down sides of bowl after the last addition. (Not necessary to stop mixer between each addition of flour and milk.)

Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts until well combined with rubber spatula. Batter will be very thick. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Invert to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.

Yield 16 bars, approximately 265 calories per bar