This week, it was a gallon of milk, deli ham and turkey (Greg had a hankering for sandwiches), four bananas and two yams.
It’s kind of weird, because I haven’t really cooked a lot in the past couple of weeks, but I feel like I have a better handle on what food is actually in my pantry and storage room. Isn’t it amazing how you know what food you have when you interact with it more.
Greg was excited to report that he only ate out for lunch once last week (for someone’s birthday). I am excited to report that I made two of the lunches he took with him–which is a great improvement from zero.
One success of the week was brown rice/red quinoa four ways (one of which was kind of gross). On Monday night, I made this sauteed chicken to serve over rice, so I made a batch of rice/quinoa in the electric pressure cooker. I had seen a recipe on the Chef Brad website where he pressure cooked the grains then added some stuff to make it a breakfast cereal. I figured I could use the plain rice/quinoa for dinner and then find uses for the leftovers.
It was great with the chicken, but since the recipe had called for sweet brown rice, it turned out kind of gross when I tried to make it into cereal. Maybe that had more to do with the fact that I didn’t really follow the rest of the recipe very closely…
There was still a lot of the rice/quinoa left, so when I made pork chops for dinner on Wednesday night, I mixed some of the rice/quinoa with a can of pureed pumpkin, a little chicken broth, milk, and brown sugar. I heated it up and added salt, sage, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and apple juice until it stopped tasting like canned pumpkin. It wasn’t great for eating by itself, but it tasted really good with the pork chops.
And would you believe it, there was still more rice left! I mentioned before that Greg had had a hankering for sandwiches, and the loaf of bread I had pulled out of the freezer was pretty sad looking. I got out my “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” cookbook, and I happened to open it right to a recipe for whole wheat bread with cooked brown rice in it. Serendipity!
I baked two loaves on Friday and another one today–that is really where the whole “5 minutes” part comes in. The recipes are such that you can store the dough in the fridge for several days and just take out enough for a loaf when you need it. It takes 5 minutes to break off a piece of dough from the fridge, shape it, and put it on the pan. Then it takes another 90 minutes for it to rise and yet another 30 to bake.
This is not to say that I don’t love this book, because I really do, but I just feel like it should have and asterisk after the title.
Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day*
*It will actually take much longer than 5 minutes.
But I digress. My point is that this bread made with leftover brown rice and quinoa was really, really good.
It made great sandwiches and great toast–perhaps the two most important bread tests. It also came together pretty easily, and the crust was, well, crusty without being so hard that it hurts the roof of your mouth.
Here is the recipe, with some of my modifications. Next time I try it, I might add some honey for a little sweetness.
Whole Grain Bread with Brown Rice (and Red Quinoa, which makes the nicest specks in your bread)
5 1/2 c whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground hard red wheat berries.)
1/2 c flaxseed meal (Don’t ask me why I happened to have this on hand, because I don’t really know. But it was the Bob’s Red Mill brand.)
1 1/2 T yeast (or 2 packets)
1 T kosher salt
1/4 c vital wheat gluten
3 1/2 c lukewarm water
1 c cooked brown rice (or brown rice/quinoa mix)
Whisk the flour through wheat gluten together. Add the cooked rice to the water and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix (without kneading) until incorporated. Cover loosely and let rest until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top). Can be baked immediately or stored in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a piece of dough the size of a grapefruit. Dust with a bit more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching and tucking under, then shape into a narrow oval and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Let it rest for 90 minutes (or 40 if you are using it right after mixing the dough). When the dough has 30 minutes of resting time left, turn on the oven to 450 degrees and put your pizza stone on the middle rack. Also place an empty broiler pan (or baking dish, cookie sheet, etc.) onto another rack where it won’t interfere with the rising bread.
Just before putting the bread in the oven, paint the top of the loaf with water and slash the top of the loaf with a few parallel cuts. Slide the loaf and parchment paper onto the hot baking stone. Carefully pour about a cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan or baking dish.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned and firm. Cool on a rack before cutting.