Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: It’s All About the Grains
Three recipes using healthy grains from our addiction recovery diet
I remember when I started cooking that there were just three possible heavy-duty sides to stews: Rice, pasta or potatoes. But, as with anything else, things come and go in seasons and in trends and the multitude of options has grown exponentially in the last few years. Until then, of course I had heard about buckwheat from my husband’s polish heritage but that was about as far as my adventures would go.
Let’s leave pasta and potatoes aside for the moment and concentrate on the advent of the many faces of grains.
I am sure that most of you grew up with the orange packages of Uncle Ben’s promising each grain to be separated and perfectly cooked. I was such a klutz at making sushi because I could not comprehend that you would purposefully make grains of rice to stick together, this is how strong Uncle Ben’s had me conditioned.
Since then, my knowledge has somewhat improved with the exposure that I have received and the numerous books on the topic. Many ancient grains have resurfaced only to gain in popularity and health benefits but all have a structure in common that is worth learning about. Do we really know what the benefits of whole grains are?
Whole grains are unrefined grains that haven’t had their bran and germ removed by milling. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.
This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.
Examples of whole grains include:
- Brown rice
- Bulgur (cracked wheat)
- Oats, including oatmeal
- Wild rice
It’s not always easy to tell what kind of grains a product has, especially bread. For instance, a brown bread isn’t necessarily whole wheat — the color may come from added coloring. If you’re not sure something has whole grains, check the product label or the Nutrition Facts panel. Look for the word “whole” on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list.
Try these tips to add more whole grains to your meals and snacks:
– Enjoy breakfasts that include whole-grain cereals, such as bran flakes, shredded wheat or oatmeal.
– Substitute whole-wheat toast or whole-grain bagels for plain bagels. Substitute low-fat bran muffins for pastries.
– Make sandwiches using whole-grain breads or rolls. Use whole-wheat tortillas to make wraps.
– Replace white rice with kasha, brown rice, wild rice or bulgur.
– Feature wild rice or barley in soups, stews, casseroles and salads.
– Add whole grains, such as cooked brown rice or whole-grain bread crumbs, to ground meat or poultry for extra body.
– Use rolled oats or crushed bran cereal in recipes instead of dry bread crumbs.
Eating a variety of whole grains not only ensures that you get more health-promoting nutrients but also helps make your meals and snacks more interesting. It also allows you to feel full much longer and acts as a slow burning source of carbohydrates.
Farro Salad with Peas, Asparagus, and Feta
1 1/2 cups farro
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 8-ounce package sugar snap peas
12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, crumbled
Trader Joe’s has a faro that cooks in 10 minutes. Otherwise, refer to the package for cooking directions. Cook farro in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook asparagus and sugar snap peas in another saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Add to farro with tomatoes, onion, and dill. Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Add dressing and feta to salad; toss to coat and serve.
Red Quinoa with Pistachios
Makes 4 servings
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 shallot, finely chopped
– 1 cup quinoa, preferably red, rinsed well in a fine-mesh sieve
– 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
– 1/4 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, chopped
– 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, until quinoa starts to toast and smell nutty, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until quinoa is tender, 25-30 minutes (15 if using white quinoa). Remove pan from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork. Cover; let stand for 5 minutes.
Fold pistachios, parsley, and mint into quinoa. Season with salt and pepper.
Whole Wheat Bread Pudding
Makes 6 to 8 servings
12 slices whole-wheat bread such as Pain Pascal, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup agave
6 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large green apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9- by 12-inch baking pan.
On a large cookie sheet, spread the bread cubes in an even layer. Bake until lightly toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the agave, eggs, yolks, and vanilla.
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a simmer. Remove from heat immediately. Whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture. Let the custard cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, apple, and walnuts. Gently stir in the custard, coating the bread mixture thoroughly with the liquid. Let stand, tossing once or twice to distribute, until the custard is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Spread the pudding evenly into the baking pan. Bake until it is brown and the edges are bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, then slice and serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruits.