Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Brunch: Millet, Spinach & Eggs

     This morning I was trying to come up with something other than my standard steel-cut oats for breakfast, but still wanting something more substantial than just fruit, and more exciting than a hard boiled egg.  While packaging up some giveaways for a new client, I'd come across the millet and realized that this could be just what I was looking for, for breakfast this morning.
     Millet is a gluten-free grain.  In the US, we most often see it as a part of bird feed, but this grain was once a staple in Europe and remains so in Africa, China and India.  Millet is an easy to digest grain, containing iron, and a good source of zinc, calcium, manganese and those nerve-soothing B-vitamins.
     A simple, basic way to prepare millet is to toast some in a pan, on the stove-top for about 10-15 minutes (I used 1/2 cup), then add to a pan of boiling water (I used 1 1/2 cups) with a pinch of salt, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes (until all water is absorbed).  Then remove from heat.  To make a sweeter breakfast cereal, you could substitute some of the water for almond milk (or regular milk), and add some raisins or other dried fruit, then top cooked grain with toasted walnuts and some brown rice syrup.  You can also use the millet, at this point, for anything you would normally use cooked rice or couscous for. 
     For my meal this morning, while cooking the millet, (in a separate skillet), I sauteed some sliced mushrooms (about 1 cup) in a little olive oil, then added two large handfuls of fresh spinach, seasoned with a little grey sea salt and ground black pepper, and allowed it to cook for just a few minutes (until the spinach was slightly wilted).  At the same time, I boiled two eggs for just about 5 minutes (I considered making poached eggs, but did not want to clean the pan from that).
     To assemble the final product, I made a nest of the spinach & mushroom mixture in the middle of my plate, filled it with a heaping scoop of millet and topped it off with the boiled egg.  It was a savory, warming, satisfying dish that will become a regular part of our weekend brunches, or even a quick weeknight dinner.
(I think that the cooked millet would also make a great wheat substitute in tabouli, too)

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