Kitchen Basics | Sh*t that save time
We all know that time is rare. Except when you are tiny like a baby chipmunk, you have all the time in the world until you enter your first day at school. By the time you have got to the middle or high school and you just wonder why you’re doing homework at 2 am. Well, because you just spent soo much time doing fun stuff and you saved homework for last.
Then afterwards you get your degree(s), find a job, found yourself a decent guy or girl, get married, have kids and pets (not per se in this order). You have to juggle kids, husband, social life, a pet and .… yourself.
So for those who say: “I” to this part above, I am going to make your life a little easier. Although you do have to demand that someone has to watch the kids. Ow wait, this is not only for those who are having to manage a full household. This article also applies to those with a one-person household (Yes, like me, guilty).
Some of you may call it meal prep but I just call it “Shit that makes things a little easier”. I mean, I get that idea of prepping your meals for the rest of the week. Preparing for one is probably a breeze, but for a whole family is maybe a little bit too much. We are going to prepare just the basics where you can start to build your meal from. I mean, rice, lentils, beans, quinoa, etc. These starch-based and plant-based proteins are perfect to combine with greens, fruits and seeds. All you have to do is cook a big batch of these nooks and grains. Store them in the fridge so that you have them on hand and I will show you the way. 😉
1. Lentils you can find in all kinds of colour and shapes and they are one of the oldest sources of food. The lentil is like its cousin the cute little pea, a rich source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron and B-vitamins, thus making it an important dietary all over the world.
For building a great salad, you might want to use the little DePuy, beluga, green or brown lentils. After cooking, they tend to retain their shape and give your salad a great texture and flavour. For some inspiration, this Wild wild rice salad will surprise you in many ways.
2. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that comes from the Andean plant. Technically a seed, but used as a carbohydrate. It contains all nine essential amino acids and it is a grain that is rich in protein, packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. We learned about this grain just a few years ago, but the Incas were way ahead of us in using this wonder-grain.
This bead-shaped grain is easy to prepare and gives any dish, whether it is soup or salad a nice texture and a slightly nutty flavour. A perfect alternative if you want to try something else than couscous or rice. Rinse before you cook. Bring two cups of water to the boil to one cup of grain, cover, simmer and cook till the seeds doubled up in volume and the germ separates from the seed (Yes, I know what it looks like!). For this dish, I’m going way back to one of my Childhood Memories.
3. Millet is one of those grains that you might find on the label on the back of a birdseed package. It is a little bit the underdog amongst all the other grains but it is actually the sixth most important grain in the world.
Millet is gluten-free, easy to digest and full of goodness. It is also a great source of manganese, it contains a moderate amount of dietary fibre, as well as minerals zinc, copper and phosphorus.
Add into stews, soups, salads to give them more body. Cook the 1 cup of millet with a little more than 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat. Let it simmer away until the millet soaked up all the water. If you notice that the middle of the grain is still hard, add little more water and repeat the process. Turn off the heat and voila!
If you are up for it, replace the freekeh in this Get your Freekeh on recipe.
4. Rice comes in different varieties. From long to short grain, from black to purple and from Asia to Africa. Most common ones that we buy in the supermarket are the white (jasmine, basmati etc), risotto, brown rice and sushi rice. But for example, you also have red, brown and wild rice. I like to make a blend of short grain brown rice, long grain and a wild rice. For you didn’t know: wild rice it’s not a grain! It’s an aquatic grass seed. Indians have been cultivating this food long before since the moment we arrived on their land. It is gluten free, high fibre to fight high cholesterol levels, extremely high in antioxidants (30 times more than white rice), twice as much protein as brown rice and full of amino acid. It is also packed with vitamin B9, B3, phosphorus and zinc. Wild rice looks pretty and works hard for your body.
And with that last thing said, I leave you guys with this seasonal salad! Just a note before you start:
1. If you don’t like kale, replace it with some wild spinach. But leave it raw instead of stir frying it.
2. If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, you might want to replace it with diced apple parts.
3. If you don’t have a wok, find a big skillet. We are going to stir fry the kale.
Seasonal Fall Salad
For 1 big or 2 small portions
1 1/2 cup | 200 gr cooked rice mixture
1 cup | 185 gr cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked Brussels sprouts (in quarters)
2 handful shredded kale
1 tbs coriander seeds (grounded)
1/4 tbs fennel seeds (grounded)
1/3 cup walnuts (roughly chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 small shallot (minced)
1/2 tbs black pepper (grounded)
1/2 tbs coarse sea salt
1/4 cup dried raisins
In a wok, heat up a big knob coconut oil on medium heat, this will later be used as ‘dressing’ along with the kale. When heated add the garlic, shallot, fennel seeds and coriander seeds and keep stirring until fragrant. Add 2/3 of the cup of walnuts and set the rest aside for garnish. Toss around for another minute, add the shredded kale and a pinch of salt. Put on high heat and stir, toss, flip around until the kale tenderises. Turn off the heat and leave to cool down a little bit.
Put the rice, quinoa, sprouts, kale and raisins in a bowl and use your hands to mix it all up. Sprinkle some extra black pepper and salt to taste and garnish with de rest of the walnuts. Feel free to add a little bit more of course.