March 13, 2014

Millet Magic

As you may know, I am quite fond of millet. 

Cultivated in central Asia and West Africa for thousands of years, millet is a small-seeded cereal in the Poaceae family, the largest grass family, which gains its name from the Greek poa, or grass. This family includes all grasses grown for their edible seeds, such as rice, wheat, rye, oats and corn.
Click here for a millet 'polenta' recipe.

Although many of these cereals have become annual crops, researchers like Wes Jackson of the Kansas-based Land Institute are working to develop an agricultural system of perennial cereal grasses “with a yield similar to that from annual crops” (landinstitute.org).

Millet is a nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrate; offers a balance of B vitamins and magnesium to support digestion and balance blood sugar. It is useful in countering the mucus-forming effects of bread/cereal. 
Click here for an apple onion tart recipe with millet.

Some nutritional philosophies, such as Chinese Five Element Theory, tout it as ‘the queen of grains’. Indeed, millet is light, bright, and easy to digest. Incorporate this grain in your summer dishes to dispel heat and rejuvenate the digestive system.

MILLET FRITTERS

You will need:
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 cups finely chopped kale
1 cup finely chopped dandelion leaves 
2 cups cooked millet
3 large eggs
To cook the millet: 
Combine 1 cup dry millet with 3-4 pinches of salt and 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Stir vigorously for a few minutes to start making a porridge, as you would with oatmeal. Once all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and cover until ready to use (or serve).

To prepare the fritters:
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon of the oil, shallot, and sea salt. 
Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and whisk in cornmeal. 
Stir until combined, add the kale and dandelion, return to medium heat and stir for about 5 minutes until cornmeal thickens.
Remove from heat and stir in the millet. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. Allow this mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to release heat.

Meanwhile, oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together eggs and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl.
Add a pinch of salt.
Whisk into cooled millet/cornmeal mixture.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Delicious!
Serve with kimchi or other lacto-fermented vegetables and enjoy spring's coming.


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