Our guest blogger today is Diana who is on her fifth go-around as a guest blogger. She makes some great looking dishes and this looks like yet another one. Check out the post below and if you haven’t been over to Food n Thought Peddler, check it out. Here’s Diana…
Thank you Pat for being a gracious host yet again!
Today’s post is all about trying something new and venturing into a different territory.
Life is never just a constant flat line, it’s rather often a roller coaster ride full of thrills and fears, we are bombarded with new chances and alternative routes basically every day whether we recognize and make a choice to pursue them, it’s all about the timing and the attitude we have towards this change that turn it into either a burden or a welcomed opportunity.
This winter has been full of adjustment, “making the best out of the situation” and learning to go with a different kind of flow. Food choices including. My hospital was one of the places in the city greatly affected by the hurricane Sandy. Situated right along the East River in Manhattan, it took a huge hit from the rushing water that damaged all utilities and flooded hospital generators and much of the equipment. When the initial shock settled in, the hospital officials realized that it will take many months to bring the hospital back into its fully operational status, so off we all went to our Brooklyn location within the same system.
Many of my coworkers, myself including, had our personal meltdowns, feeling very much like refugees and being met with different set of responsibilities, cramped working space and sometimes less than stellar attitude from the Brooklyn workers who felt “invaded” by new patients and staff. On top of this all, I was met with a challenge of my own of having no food choices to accommodate my no gluten and dairy requirements. I was used to “mix and match” approach bringing food from home on some days or grabbing lunch from one of the “safe” places near the hospital in the city. I was not prepared to a completely isolated location of the Brooklyn hospital and was faced with having to bring all my food from home (I’m not counting hospital cafeteria as nowhere being a “safe” or remotely nutritious option of food choices). Thus came the necessity to create many quick and freezer-friendly dishes that could be made in advance for my “grab and go” lunches.
And speaking of combining something old and something new, today I want to introduce you to millet and vegan cream substitute. Some of you have tried one or both, but for some of you, it may be an unfamiliar territory but definitely worth exploring.
Millet is an ancient grain, full of iron and other beneficial nutrients, it’s naturally gluten free and very low in glycemic index, a true star grain in my mind. Its slightly sweet and “nutty” flavor brings an “earthy” undertone to your dishes along with complex carbs and antioxidants.
Mimic Cream is a line of vegan cream substitutes made from almond and cashews, they have a sweetened, unsweetened and a whipping cream versions. I’ve used them in any recipe that calls for cream with great results and have fooled far too many people using Healthy Top, which is a sweetened whipping cream with slight vanilla and almond undertone. Mimic Cream products are shelf-stable until opened and can usually be found next to non-dairy milk alternatives.
So next time you are in a health food store, like Whole Foods, or browsing through an aisle of natural products at your local supermarket, pick up a bag of millet and a carton of Mimic Cream and enjoy my family favorite recipe. However, if you are not into “something new”, use couscous and dairy cream instead.
Creamy Millet Cauliflower Soup
1 small or 1/2 large cauliflower head
1 cup of fresh or frozen peas
2 cups of cooked millet
2 cups of vegetable stock
6 cups of water
1/3 cup of unsweetened Mimic Cream
1 tspoon of lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tspoon of oregano
1/4 tspoon of celery seeds
Chopped fresh herbs for garnish
Cook millet according to package directions, it’s very similar to making rice.
Combine water and vegetable stock and bring it to a boil. Dice carrots and potatoes, cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I’m using green cauliflower just because it looks pretty, you can use the white one.
Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat, add all the seasonings and cauliflower and potato pieces. Cook until about half done, then add carrots and a couple minutes later peas.
When the vegetables are almost cooked, stir in millet and add Mimic Cream, slowly bring the soup to a boil and finish cooking.
Garnish with fresh herbs, and if you are not vegan, “jazz it up” with some diced ham or bacon bits.
And in case you are wondering, the hospital will start to slowly re-open next month, and I should be back there in the summer. As much as I’ve learned and grown from this experience, I just can’t wait to be back into a more familiar territory, and my expanded list of safe food choices.