Archive | April, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Millet

21 Apr

In my attempt to cook one new food a week, I recently tackled a grain that’s rarely consumed in North America:  millet.  Millet is a small, seed-like grain that can be eaten raw or cooked into a sweet or savoury porridge.  I was inspired by a friend of mine who grew up eating millet much like I would eat oatmeal.

In its raw form, millet can be added to breads for a unique crunch.  It is also one of the major ingredients in birdseed.  From a nutritional standpoint, millet is very similar to wheat– a good source of fibre and rich in B vitamins.  As a bonus, millet is a great wheat-alternative for individuals with celiac disease as it’s gluten free.

Now… how to cook this teensy little grain?  I came up with my own directions from a few different sources and the final product was acceptable, but not great.  My mistake was rinsing and toasting the grains.  According to other sources, you can omit the rinse if you plan to toast.  Next time I think I will try these instructions… the author looks like she knows her millet!

Cooked Millet, eaten just like rice

My second attempt was to incorporate the raw grains into my favourite banana bread recipe.  The millet added a fun texture that both E and I really liked.  If you’re not sold, make the banana bread without the millet– you won’t be disappointed!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Millet


Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Millet

This is my favourite healthy banana bread recipe with the addition of raw millet.  I used half a cup of millet but I think one quarter of a cup might provide a slightly better texture.  Omit the millet if you’re not feeling adventurous!

1-2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/4 cups mashed overripe bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup millet  (optional)

*to sour milk, pour 1 tsp vinegar into measuring cup; add milk to make 1/3 cup.  Let stand 5 minutes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease an 8.5 x 4.5″ non-stick loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine egg, sugar, bananas, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.  Whisk well until thoroughly blended.
  4. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir just until combined.  Stir in millet if using.
  5. Bake for 55 minutes or until tested inserted in centre comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf, about 16 slices.  Per slice (with millet): 145 kcal, 3.5 g fat, 2.5 g fibre

Cook 1 New Food a Week: Celeriac (and Apple Slaw)

15 Apr

It’s not January but I have a new resolution:  to cook 1 new vegetable (or grain, or other wholesome food) a week.  Lately I’ve been surprised by the number of foods that exist that I haven’t ever tasted or attempted to cook.  How can this be?!  I’m supposed to be a foodie!  More importantly, I’m beginning to realize that I need to know a LOT about food as a dietitian.  Exhibit A:  Last week I came across multiple unfamiliar items while reviewing a patient’s food records.  Sweetsop? Bodi? Eddoe?  Even if the name of the food sounds familiar, it’s tough to have a clue about its nutritional profile if you’ve never tasted or cooked it.

This week I started with a relatively basic vegetable… the humble celeriac, or celery root.  I’ve eaten celeriac at restaurants but never have I been so courageous to tackle this unfortunate looking root at home.  Celeriac is unique amongst root vegetables in that it has a relatively low starch content.  Gram for gram, celeriac has one-third the calories and carbohydrate content of potatoes.  As a result, mashed celeriac (or a mashed potato-celeriac combo) can lighten up a meal and make room for other foods… such as that slice of bread.

Celeriac aka Celery Root

Cooked celeriac has a mellow yet distinguishable flavour– like a milder version of raw celery stalks.  When eaten raw, I’ve read that celeriac is supposed to have a strong and pungent taste.  Interestingly, I felt quite the opposite in this Celeriac Apple Slaw.  The apples and currents provided a whack of sweetness which was balanced by tart lemon and earthy fresh basil.  A perfect spring slaw. And the perfect way to give celeriac a try.

A dismal photo of the Celeriac Apple Slaw (it tastes better than it looks!)


Celeriac Apple Slaw
(from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health)

1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 cups peeled and grated sweet, firm apples
2.5 cups peeled and grated celeriac
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup currants or raisins (I only used 1/4 cup… half a cup seemed like a lot!)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup minced red onions
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. In a large bowl, combine lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Add the grated apples and stir well– the lemon juice will prevent discolouration.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 6 cups.  Per 1 cup serving: 96 kcal, 3 g fibre, 3 g fat, 163 mg sodium.

Black Bean, Corn and Mango Salad

7 Apr

I’ve been on a bit of a Looneyspoons kick lately.  Aside from the healthy ingredients and the humour, part of the attraction lies in the reliability of each recipe.  Rarely have Janet and Greta let me down.  If you’re anything like me, you can understand my disappointment when the sweat and tears that go into making a dish yield only mediocre results.  And by tears, I mean tears… those pesky onions get me every time!

My most recent Looneyspoons endeavour was a black bean, corn, and mango salad.  The addition of the mango was the highlight of this dish– the burst of fruity sweetness was irresistible!  Add in some red from the pepper and grape tomatoes… some green from the onion, avocado, and cilantro… and volia!  An incredibly colourful and downright scrumptious salad.

Black Bean, Corn, and Mango Salad. YUM.


Corn, Black Bean and Mango Fandango
(from the Looneyspoons Collection)

1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed   (preferably no-salt-added)
1 can (14 oz) whole kernel corn, drained   (preferably no-salt-added)
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp each ground cumin and chili powder
1 cup diced avocado (add to the salad just before serving!)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Serve immediately or chill before serving.

Janet and Greta say they prefer this salad at room temperature, and as with most dishes containing avocado, it tastes best when eaten the day it’s made.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 236 kcal, 10 g fat, 10 g fibre