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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Grain Flavor - The Long and Short of It

This morning I was out of my beloved flax oil to drizzle into my quinoa with apples and cinnamon. It tasted completely different. Flat. Not my favorite breakfast anymore. It reminded me once again that is the little things that can make simple food go from ho hum to scrumptious. As this is a blog post and not a full on article, I'm not going into depth but, each person must find the right amount of water to grain that makes it good for them.

Generally I like a little more water to give a creamier texture but a dryer grain might have more flavor. Pressure cooked grain certainly does. I am not a fan of steamed grains. They seem pithy and weak flavored to me but if it is all I can get, I'd still take that over not having this incredible staple to eat.

What might have made my breakfast this morning better is a little bit of condiment. Maybe some toasted seeds or one of the many crushed combinations like gomasio. (toasted sesame seeds and sea salt crushed together.) I love sunflower seeds crushed with dulse for example. The slight amount of oil and salt from the condiment would have boosted the sweet flavor of the apples.

Another thing I happen to like is to just slightly overcook my whole grains to get them a little brown on the bottom. Sometimes it comes out crispy but most of the time more chewy and flavorful on those bottom bits. I often am just cooking one portion at a time so I get to make that part just for me. I've heard of families who fight over the bottom rice.

Boiled longer grain rices like Jasmine or Basmati brown rice have a lot of flavor to them. Without flax oil, earth balance or condiments I might make a fun sauce to pour over the grain or mix it in with a scramble of some sort. That would have made a very hearty breakfast to boot.

Additionally to add more flavor to the grain is pile more things in from the start. Grain pilafs are popular and even just some garlic and parsley can be a whole new dish from the plain grain. Squeeze lemon or lime on top for anther twist. One time I cooked millet in orange juice with carrots and onions and it was a big hit.

Play and keep playing. You'll find the ways you like your grains best. You can't beat their benefits and there are so many ways to make them great.

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