After a busy holiday season, I’ve recently found some time to focus on some new things to bring to the operation within the next year. As one of our focuses will be re-inventing our grill station menu, I was going through the store room today, I realized that we just recieved our latest shipment from Indian harvest, our whole grain supplier of choice for specialty grains, exotic rice,heirloom beans, and most of all……….inspiration.
If you are a chef in healthcare, and have never heard of this company, than you might already be a couple steps behind the pack. But that’s okay, because Indian Harvest has a great website that is full of knowledge, were you can learn the specifics of some of the unique grains they offer, as well as many recipes to get you started. If you are looking to eat healthy at home, this is good way to get started as well, especially if a Whole Foods Market, or similar place is not on your way home from work. They will ship directly to your house.
As you can see, this order included some of our new staple items, that we are currently using in our operations. Farro, Israeli Cous Cous, Petite Crimson Lentils, Wheatberries, Sweet White runner Beans, Moroccan Cous Cous, and of course both Black and White Quinoa.
Quinoa, is well appreciated for it’s high nutritional value, mostly because it’s extremely high in protein. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber. I like to use it in many different ways. Today, we made a Southwestern Quinoa Pilaf to go with our Sonaran Chicken Rice Bowl. It was flavored with Roasted jalepenos, cilantro, red bell peppers, and scallions- Delicious.
Just recently, I did a cooking demo for a Bariatric Support group, the goal was to show them a “Healthy” Thanksgiving menu. I prepared Turkey Francese, fresh local grean beans, and a Quiona Pilaf with walnuts, cranberries, and orange zest. Heare is a link to that cooking demo if you have some spare time and would like to check it out. http://youtu.be/0RuYkd2UPfM
Also This past summer, we took second place in a nationwide cooking competition at The Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. We did a spin on the classic Korean dish Bibimbap -which happens to be one of our most popular menu items for our retail customers this past year. It was great to take this traditionally peasant Korean dish, and modernize it with quinoa in lieu of rice, enoki mushrooms, and a lightly fried quail egg. Here is what that dish looked like.
Wheatberries, another one of my favorites, we use for our ever popular Tropical wheatberry salad, and this time of the year you will also see them used in our vegan wheatberry chili. Perfect for a weekend day watching football, this hearty lowfat chili is a great option for those who choose to dine meatless, and still would like to enjoy an authentic chili with bold & fresh flavors. In our cafe’s, this is typically served in a crusty bread bowl with a garnish of fresh lime, and sour cream. Here is a recipe that should serve about 12
IngredientsWheatberry 8oz Water 2qt Pasilla Negro Chile 2 ea Ancho Chile 1 ea Olive oil 2T Diced Onions 1 cup Diced Bell Pepper 1 ½ cup Fresh Garlic 3T Chili Powder 3T Ground Cumin 2T Fresh Oregano 2T Black Beans (cooked) 2 cup Diced Tomatoes 3 cup Brown Sugar 2T Tomato Paste 3T Chipotle Pepper 1 ea Vegetable Stock 1 qt
- Toast the chili’s at 400 degree oven until fragrant (about 7-8 minutes). Remove and place chili’s in a small abount of hot water, and soak them until they turn soft. At this point discard the stems and seeds, and chop chili’s finely.
- Boil 2 qt’s of water, add wheatberries, and cook until tender. This may take up to 15 minutes. Drain the water off, and set them aside.
- In a large pot, saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add tomatoes, paste, vegetable stock, beans, chili’s and remaining spices. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add cooked wheatberry, and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes. Add vegetable stock as needed to prevent the chili from getting to thick, as the wheatberries will absorb some liquid. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper, and enjoy!