Monday, February 15, 2010

Grains and Greens
This has been a very cold winter in Florida. With temperatures hovering in the mid to high 30's in Central Florida, it's a good time to experiment with a variety of grains.

I've found that green vegetables and whole grains combined with an interesting sauce or spices makes a satisfying, nutritious meal. Experimenting with grains that we don't normally use expands our menu repertoire, while having the additional advantage of adding a bigger and better variety of nutrients to our daily meals.

This was a quick and easy one bowl meal. Soba noodles (buckwheat) tossed with asparagus and red onion in a lively, spicy peanut sauce. Add a dusting of minced fresh cilantro to give the cooked dish a lively lift.

This was a meal for one. Increase the amount based on how many will be eating!

Half a red onion, cut in small wedges
Handful of young, tender asparagus, cut in 2" pieces

Sauté over medium heat in a little water until crisp/tender. Add a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Meanwhile, cook a portion of soba noodles in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, rinse and toss with veggies and your favorite peanut sauce. I make a standard peanut dressing using almond butter rather than peanut butter. Remember that peanuts aren't nuts, they're legumes. They also have a reputation for being roasted with mold and contain the insidious aflotoxin.

I posted a green beans and soba noodles dish a couple of years ago based on an inspiration from Heidi Swanson's blog with the directions for making almond dressing.

What I love about a one bowl meal like this is the ease of preparation and the little time it takes to have a delicious, satisfying meal to sit down to. Granted I had the dressing left over from a Thai meal I made the other day. Aren't leftovers fabulous? Even having to whip up a little bowl of peanut dressing, while the veggies lightly cook, is fast and easy.

Notice this dish is oil free. Not fat free, the almond butter is a high calorie food. But it's a good fat and provides the protein that meat-eaters are forever clamoring for.

Lemon quinoa and broccoli are on my mind to make soon. Having browsed through Judith Jones' book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, I'm inspired to work my way through a variety of whole grains, incorporating them into one dish meals with greens. A great project for this chilly winter weather.

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