Monday, July 23, 2007

Grain cereal with pineapple and maple syrup

I can't believe I'm making a blog entry for this. But, I've also been known to not believe in Santa Claus despite convincing evidence that he does, in fact, exist; so... I will press on.

I put this interesting combination of flavours together today for breakfast. It's probably not original, but since I didn't get it from a book, I'll put the recipe here... just in case:

  • prepare a hot grainy cereal. One of those ones you have to cook for a little while and, preferably, soak the night before. I used 1/4 cup (dry) of Bob's Red Mill 10-grain (available at Loblaws/Superstore, and probably A&P). You can probably use quick oats if you're into that kind of thing, but it doesn't save you much time in this context and won't taste as good. The Red Mill stuff takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

  • while the cereal is cooking, cut a couple of thick slices of pineapple off a fresh pineapple, remove the core and skin, and cut into dice-sized pieces

  • when the cereal's done, put it in a bowl and add the pineapple on top

  • drizzle with medium maple syrup

Pineapple and maple syrup together: excellent. And the hot cereal adds texture and an underlying, dare I say, hearty base to it, and the heat from the cereal brings out an extra dimension in the pineapple.

I'll state again because I think it's important to health, generally speaking: use the real ingredients! You could use quick oats, canned pineapple, and Aunt Jemima syrup, and you'd never know how bad it tasted if you never tried the "real" way. But I don't consider those things healthy. Forget the nutrition labels: how do the ingredients get processed by your body? How has the pre-processing affected its readiness to be processed by your body? How do the processed ingredients interact? Are the nutrients in a state that's readily absorbed by your body? That's what's important, and the label doesn't say.

So: basic, ground cereal. Fresh pineapple. Real maple syrup (preferably the Mennonite stuff from St. Jacobs. I haven't found any better in this area, although I know I'm pushing it by getting this specific). You get complex flavours from the raw, ground grains. You get extra acidity and another layer of taste from the fresh vs. canned pineapple Lovely.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Baby lettuce and grapefruit salad

I'm going to interrupt the regularly scheduled programming with a recipe, based on something I slapped together for breakfast yesterday.

First a bit of a pre-amble... it's great to grow vegetables in the summer. Lettuce is a good one that grows easily in my nook of the bollock, but, being single, it's difficult to go through so many lettuce when they reach maturity without having them bolt and become bitter and culinarily useless. So, I tried a different approach this year.

I picked up one of those half-whiskey-barrels last year for use as a planter, filled the bottom of it with drainage gravel, and the rest with soil. I then scattered about 3-4 packets of lettuce seeds (all different varieties) over the very small surface area provided by the barrel. This is way too much seed. But, what I now have is a dense carpet of baby lettuce leaves covering the barrel, so much so that you can take a salad's worth of lettuce and not really notice that you took anything away. They're almost like mature sprouts. So, with that in mind, the recipe follows.

  • handful of aforementioned lettuce leaves
  • about 3/4 cup of yogurt (homemade, in my case)
  • freshly cracked flax seeds (optional, but why not?; cracked with a grinder)
  • grapefruit (I am using Israeli grapefruit; if you're Arab, find a substitute, I guess)
  • honey


  • wash the lettuce leaves (particularly using my style, because they have soil attached to the roots when you pull them out). Dry them in a salad spinner or some other way.
  • peel the grapefruit, divide into halves, and slice along the width
  • toss the lettuce leaves and grapefruit together
  • grind the flax seeds over the top
  • throw the yogurt on top
  • drizzle with honey

Like I said above, I did this for breakfast. I didn't count the food groups or anything, but it's probably not bad.

As Jamie Oliver would say: genius!

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