Monday, May 12, 2008

Beet Amaranth Pilaf or Gruel: Now serving the finest prisons

Tonight I observed two phenomena that reiterated certain inalienable truths: online recipes lie and toddlers have the most capricious tastes. This tale begins with the former. In the height of the vegan days, when Belle wouldn't eat any meat, I started to focus on protein sources. Quinoa, a South American seed, is a complete protein, the only one in the vegetable world, and is also a great kosher for Passover side dish to boot. So, in those heady days (well, January, actually) when I was dipping into the waters of alternate grains and flours, I purchased some amaranth. Those little seeds just sat in their bulk container for a few months, and then today, home sick from work, I read more about amaranth. Many vegetarian sites promised an easy, tasty, fluffy pilaf like side dish. Only 15 minutes they told me. So, like a true-believer, I just went with it. And, then thirty minutes later (having added a bit more water to keep it from burning), I found that instead of pilaf, we would be having gruel for dinner.

Hell, the life of bourgeousie is a bit like a cultural prison, so we decided to chow down on our gruel. I had planned a beet, orange and goat cheese pilaf, as I had read about beets and beet combos recently on Modern Beet and nami-nami. So, we had roasted beets ready and waiting. I tossed the combo together, creating the most lovely claret pebbles of amaranth. The flavor was quite nice--earthy, nutty, crunchy--however there was an undertone of slimy that might have been difficult for the texturally specific.
But, surprisingly enough, it was not difficult for Belle. Self volition is a theme of the second year of life, and she has chosen to nod "no" to many food offerings that she has previously loved. She has spent the last three weeks refusing most things green. (Not that it has stopped me from offering them.) But, apparently, amaranth gruel with oranges, beets and beet greens (no unpasteurized goat cheese for the baby) was a stunning success. Yum she told me. Then there was the licking of lips. And then, she began to dip her bread into the gruel. Finally, she just dipped her fingers in and pushed it towards her mouth. All I can say is GO FIGURE.


Gretchen Noelle said...

This is funny! I have a jar of amaranth tucked away and haven't found myself fond of it for its sticky, gruel like texture. At least your daughter was pleased with it!

Pille said...

Same here - i bought some amaranth grain a while ago, but it's still waiting for me..
Glad that Maybelle was eating it :)

Anonymous said...

I just made amaranth for the second time today. I don't remember it being so gummy the first time. I also cooked it for 30 minutes, and it is very slimy/sticky. I read online that you should cook it for 18-20 minutes and it will be less gummy. Definitely not fluffy though.But it makes a good hot cereal breakfast I guess.