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Macrobiotic Black Rice Recipe

Often people associate Macrobiotics with brown rice. While the Macrobiotic diet is incredibly varied, brown rice does play a strong role, as it is a very balanced food that is easy to digest and full of nutrients. This week, we're taking brown rice out for a joy ride, and cooking it with something new: black rice!

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Macro Mondays: Black Rice

Black rice is very very healthy! Like other whole grain rice, it is rich in fibre & vitamin Bs. But black rice kicks it up a notch, because it has tons of anthocyanin antioxidants because of it's dark colour, just like blackberries & blueberries. These dark plant antioxidants are potentially cancer-fighting. Black rice is also known as purple rice or forbidden rice, and has been revered in China for centuries

A big THANK YOU to my lovely friends Kenji & Harumi for sending it to me all the way from Japan :)

Me, super happy because I found a Japanese parcel in the mailbox!

Me, super happy because I found a Japanese parcel in the mailbox!

It might have taken a few months, Kenji, but I finally made it, and we loved it!

This was my first time cooking it myself, and I can't wait to make it again. We made it in the pressure cooker with short grain rice (2 parts short grain 1 part black rice). We both thought that it added a really nice rich & sweet flavour. In fact, our leftovers disappeared really quickly!

Macrobiotic Black & Brown Rice [3 cooking methods]

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Please Gather:

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed
  • 3.5 cups spring water

Soak the above for about 6 hours or overnight (you can soak it right in the Ohsawa pot, if you're using it, or in the pressure cooker, or in the saucepan if you're boiling).

Once it's done soaking, you're ready to cook!

*Please always follow your own pressure cooker's directions!

Version #1 - Ohsawa Pot

  1. There needs to be 3.25 cups of water in with the rice, including the soaking water. I usually have to add in about 1 cup more fresh spring water after it's done soaking.
  2. Add a pinch of salt, put the lid on the Ohsawa pot, and lower it into the pressure cooker. I usually add about 3-4 cups water to the pressure cooker, and rest the closed Ohsawa pot on the trivet that came with my pressure cooker.
  3. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring to full pressure. Turn heat down to the lowest setting to maintain full pressure, and cook for 30 mins. Take off the heat, and let the pressure come down naturally (10-20 mins).
  4. Fluff up & serve.

Version #2 - Pressure Cooker with no Ohsawa Pot

  1. You need there to be 5.5 cups of water in with the rice, including the soaking water. Add whatever you need to make up the difference.
  2. Bring the rice to boil in the pressure cooker with the lid off.
  3. Add in a good pinch or two of sea salt.
  4. Fasten the lid, and bring it up to full pressure (2 bars in my kuhn rikon).
  5. Keep on the lowest heat to maintain full pressure, and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Take off the heat, and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
  7. Release any remaining pressure, and then fluff up & serve.

Version #3 - Stove Top (boiling)

  1. There should be between 5-6 cups of water in the pot, including the soaking water. You will most likely need to add 2 cups of fresh spring water.
  2. Bring to boil, and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Lower temperature until it's only simmering, and put the lid on.
  4. Cook for 25-30 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn't bubble over.
  5. If you need to add a bit more water, you can!
  6. Take off the heat, and let the rice rest for 5 minutes in the pan, then fluff up and serve.
  7. This is pretty much my basic brown rice, dainty pig style!

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It's purple. It's pretty. And I bet it would taste dang good with some adzuki beans in there too & topped with black sesame. And since my idea wheel is turning, I'm thinking that it's sweet flavour would make it amazing in rice pudding.

Have you ever tried / made black rice?

Oh-I love my-sawa pot.

Well...it's Thursday, and I haven't done a Thursday Things post in awhile.

Did I ever show you what my lovely man T got me for Christmas?

An Ohsawa Pot ( A ceramic pot that is meant to be placed inside the pressure cooker).

An Ohsawa Pot ( A ceramic pot that is meant to be placed inside the pressure cooker).

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The Ohsawa Pot makes whatever it is you cook --- and so far I've tried apples, brown rice, millet, and adzuki pumpkin stew --- taste even yummier than in the pressure cooker alone. I believe part of the reason for this is that it keeps all the moisture inside the food. Also, the ceramic pot reduces the slightly metallic taste that the pressure cooker can impart into food. (Truthfully, I never really noticed any sort of metallic taste from the cooker until after I tried cooking in the Ohsawa pot, and then again without it, and noticed how different the same dish tasted). Plus, you can soak the grains, cook them, and serve them all in the Oshawa pot...and then pop it right into the fridge to store the leftovers.

So far, i'm super happy with it, and haven't cooked a thing in the pressure cooker without it since. The above dish, stewed apples with ginger & cinnamon, turned out fabulous, and it was my first attempt at using it. The ratios for water change a bit, so i'm still experimenting to get the perfect recipe---i'll let you know when I do.

But honestly, the tastiest thing to emerge out of my Ohsawa pot so far, is simple brown rice. I didn't think brown rice could get any tastier, but both T & I cannot get enough. Super Yum. Expect my new recipe soon. Until then, try my recipe for brown rice dainty pig style version 1.0 (stovetop) or version 2.0 (pressure cooker - no Ohsawa pot).

Have you ever cooked in an Ohsawa pot?
Any tips or favourite recipes?

** Also, I've finally put up my Resources Tab, with a link to Macro & Non-Macro blogs, websites and books that I enjoy. If you'd like to be included & are not up there yet (i'm slow, sorry! still working on it!), please let me know!

Have a great day.
xoxo

French Lentil Stew Recipe


This stew is a frequent repeat in my kitchen.
I have tried it with green/brown lentils, as well as black lentils. Sometimes even red.
But my absolute favourite is french lentils.
It handles substitutions and lazy measuring very well.
And it only takes 12 minutes in the pressure cooker! (regular cooking info below, too).

The Dainty Pig's French Lentil Stew
* Very loosely adapted from Lorna Sass' recipe for "Lentil Stew with Spicy Greens" 
   in "Great Vegetarian Cooking under pressure."
Serves 4.


Ingredients
*1.5 cups french lentils, rinsed
*roughly 1/2 cup sliced celery
*roughly 1 cup diced carrots
*roughly 1/2 - 1 cup diced parsnip (use more if you like the taste).
*1/2 " finely diced ginger
* ~1Tbsp ground coriander
*~1 tsp dried thyme
*4 cups boiling water
*~ 1.5 cups loosely packed parsley  (other greens ok too)
*1 T sesame oil or other mild oil of your choice
* salt or tamari to taste
*optional lemon juice


Directions
1. Heat pressure cooker pot (no lid yet) on medium high. Add oil (make sure oil doesn't smoke).
    *If you are avoiding oil, you could use a tiny bit of water instead of oil, to water-sauté.
2. Quickly sauté veggies, first adding ginger, then celery, then carrots, then parsnips.
    Total sauté time about 3 minutes.
3. Add in spices, sauté another 1 minute, stirring back and forth.
4. Add in boiling water (be careful for sputtering).
5. Stir in lentils, lock pressure cooker lid in place, and bring to high pressure over high heat.
6. Once pressure is up, lower flame or heat to lowest possible to maintain high pressure.
    Cook for 12 minutes on high pressure.
7. Use a quick release method to bring pressure down (I run it under lukewarm water).
8. Take lid off, stir in salt to taste, and parsley.
9. The pot will be hot, so let the salt (or tamari) and parsley cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

SERVE!!
I prefer mine with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top.
Also nice is some toasted walnuts crumbled on top.

NOTES
*the amount of veggies and greens are very flexible, and I rarely measure :)
*I'd recommend making a double batch if you have room in your pot.
*Cooking in a REGULAR POT: this stew could absolutely be made in a regular pot instead of
  pressure cooker. I would guess that the cooking time would take around 30 minutes. Follow all the same
  steps, except instead of bringing to pressure, simply bring to boil then simmer with a lid on until lentils are
  soft, or desired consistency is reached (longer cooking + more creamy). Stir and check frequently.
* Always, always, ALWAYS follow your pressure cooker safety instructions/directions.

Made with black lentils and parsley.

Made with a mix of green lentils and black lentils.

Made with black lentils with spinach.

But the clear winner, and heart-stealer is with french lentils:

French lentils win!!

They just get SO creamy!

Click Here for more detailed info about french lentils and more pics of the steps!

The leftovers can be easily re-heated and enjoyed again.
But, a nice change is to chill the leftovers, then blend with some lemon juice and optional olive oil, to make a delicious dip or spread.

♥ How do you love your lentils?



Brown Rice Version 2.0.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

But, I'm sure you know this already.

In spirit of enjoying my time during the weekend, and being a little less adventurous in the kitchen, this post is dedicated to the perfectly simple meal.

Yup.

It's Brown rice. 
Pressure cooked with a little wakame.

2 ingredients I can just never get enough of.
So without further adieu, here's 

Brown Rice Dainty Pig Style 
             Version 2.0 
(Step-by-step guide to the best pressure cooked brown rice)

Please gather:
4 c. short grain brown rice, rinsed and drained.
7.5 c. cold water
a few pinches of salt
a couple of inches of dried wakame, cut into small pieces.

Directions:
1. Add half the rice to the pressure cooker. 
2. Smooth rice over with hand or a spoon to make it level. 
3. Take a couple inches of dried wakame, and break into a few  
   small pieces. Place in some cool water. Let sit a few minutes.
4. Scoop out rehydrated wakame. Place on top of rice. Then cover 
   with second half of rinsed rice. Again, level rice with hand.
5. Pour wakame soaking water, plus enough extra water to equal 
   7.5 cups, SLOWLY down one side of the pot, so water 
   doesn't disturb the rice. Some wakame might rise up, no prob.
6. Add a couple of pinches of salt.
7. Lock lid, and bring to high pressure over high heat.
8. Cook for 30-35 minutes on high pressure.
9. Let pressure come down naturally (takes about 10-15mins).
10. Take lid off, shake condensation into rice.
    Let rice sit in the pot a bit, at least 5mins.
11. Smile. Express Gratitude. Chew. Feast.

♥ please note: always follow the directions and safety instructions provided with your own pressure cooker, and make sure your cooker is big enough for this much grain (adjust accordingly).
wakame is recommended, but not necessary! 

If you put a crystal in your window, you get magic rice!

If you don't have a pressure cooker, don't fear. 
There are lots of old photos and instructions for boiling rice here: my step-by-step guide to making boiled brown rice, dainty pig style.

*Step-by-step Photo Tour*
Gather the rice. (4 cups)
Rinse it. Let it drain.
Wakame.
Cool! Seaweed!
Cut it up.
Soak with cool water for a few mins.
Put half the rice in the pot.
Scoop out wakame from water, lay on top of rice.
Cover wakame with rest of rice. Smooth over.
Slowly pour in water.
(7.5 cups total, including wakame soaking water)
Add sea salt. A couple pinches will do.
Put on cooker lid. Bring to high pressure.
Cook away on high pressure for 15-50mins.
I prefer 30-35mins.
The longer you cook, the crispier it'll be.
Let pressure come down naturally.
Shake condensation from lid into rice.
Let sit for about 5 minutes in pot.
Scoop out into bowls or containers.
Mounds and mounds of glorious rice.

yup. 
that's it.


Eat some warm (super yummy), then re-use the rest over a few days reheating by steaming, or in soups, or by adding a tiny bit of water and boiling for porridge, or lightly frying with a bit of oil and vegs.


Thursday Things

Good morning!

I decided to join the trend around the blog-o-sphere, and post something everything thursday that I truly enjoy, love, want, have, or am excited about.

So, the star of this week's Thursday Things is.....

WHOLE OATS

A few years back, I used to cook up whole grain oats on weekends. I tried the overnight slow cooking method I read about in one of my macro books. It involved bringing the oats to boil, cooking for just a few minutes, then letting them cool off and soak all night long. In the morning, I would recook for about 45 minutes. They were delicious, but took much more effort than my current pressure cooker variety. I had to constantly watch the pot to make sure the thick goopey oats didn't boil over, and the pot was not so nice to clean.

But things have changed since my best friend arrived on our doorstep.
As per the recommendation from this book:

I purchased along with my cooker, I soaked oats in a ratio of 3 cups water per 1 cup oats. I let them soak overnight. In the morning, I simply put the lid on the cooker, brought up to high pressure, and cooked for 30 minutes. No watching for bubbling over, no scraping the last bit off the bottom.

And my-oh-my...soft creamy oats that are still somehow a bit chewy.

Delightful.

I  dished out 6 lovely servings of oats to keep us hungry breakfast eaters happy for a few days. Simply re-heat in the morning on the stove, adding in whatever you like.

I like to add in a few chia seeds while they're re-heating, sometimes some raisins. And I love topping them with a bit of ground flax and cinnamon for a sweeter taste, or some dulse and flax oil for a more grounding hearty dish.

Pressure cooking saves LOTS of time. Especially with soaked dried beans, and by soaking grains you can reduce cooking time by 40%.

But more importantly than all that, it tastes SO much better, and keeps in more nutrients. And for me, the clean up is JUST. SO. EASY.  (We got a big pot so we didn't have to worry about stuff bubbling up into the lid, so far it is always sparkly clean).

Some of my favourite topping combinations include: 
-- sunflower seed butter with cinnamon and raisins on top
--flax oil and dulse flakes
--a bit of fruit only jam
--ground flax with cinnamon or a touch of pure maple syrup
So, what are you waiting for?? 
Not only are whole oats amazingly delicious, but they will easily keep you energized until lunch.
Have you ever cooked whole oats?
What do you like to put on your oats (any kind of oats)?

Money WELL spent.

Hello dear readers,
It has been while, hasn't it?
Until recently, I think I was really in the middle of a deep re-adjustment period. Life here in Canada, teaching yoga, is much much different than teaching English in Japan. Of course there is nothing like -35C weather to shake you out of your reverse culture shock slumber.
Different definitely isn't bad, though. While I do miss many things about Japan (i.e., tea, seaweed, beautiful countryside), I am really so happy these days. I just love teaching yoga and am so lucky to have been welcomed back with open arms and a bunch of classes right when I returned. T and I are loving our new house. I especially love the blue kitchen that comes complete with a working oven--- perfect for roasting winter squash.
The first few months I was home, I was so excited to find many of the products I missed: almond milk, much cheaper raw nuts, gluten free products, dark dark dark vegan chocolate etc. So, I baked my little heart away. Especially around Christmas. I managed to make vegan and gluten free versions of all my favourite family Swiss Christmas cookies, and reduced the sugar by at least half in all recipes. Challenge for next year is completely removing all sugar a la macrobiotics. So the past few months, my highlights and joys in the kitchen have been cookies, crumbles, muffins etc. Of course, I was still eating my regular meals, but didn't really find anything special that I wanted to post about.
But where was I?  Oh yes, the title of this post " Money WELL spent."
After about 3 years of reading and wanting, we finally purchased a pressure cooker.
And not just any pressure cooker, but apparently it's the "Mercedes of pressure cookers." Meet my new best friend:
Kuhn Rikon 8L family style pressure cooker.

I have used it almost every day since I opened the box.With my macrobiotic books in hand (well...arms, my hands are too small to hold all my macro books), and the pressure cooker book I ordered with the beast, I have been floating in Macrobiotic heaven.

Since first becoming interested in macrobiotics in the summer of 2008, I have regularly eaten whole grains, and lots of veggies and sea veggies, and tried to limit refined sugars. I have always liked simple seasonings, like flax oil, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, ginger, shoyu and tamari. I use natural sweeteners if I need a bit of something sweet, like brown rice syrup or maple syrup.  There are also some random stars that rotate through my fridge and dinner plate, depending on my mood etc. 

These include: tofu, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, fresh or dried fruit, canned beans, lentils, almond/rice/soy milk, puffed grain cereals, flaked grains, fish, sugar free jams,dark chocolate, and occasionally some goat cheese and of course, sometimes some actual sugar and even coffee (usually decaf).

But, despite all this, I always felt that I was missing part of the bigger macro picture, because I didn't really cook my own beans, or make many bean dishes.

First attempt at pressure cooker: red lentil stew with greens.

I have tried a few times, but the reality is that cooking chickpeas for 4 hours on the stove was and is not going to happen very often. So, I coveted the Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cookers (see end of post for a link to the cooker I bought). I dreamt of the day where I could throw beans and veggies in a pot and have a stew in less than 15 minutes.

And that time is now here! So far I have made: lentil and spicy green stew (two times), kabocha and adzuki bean stew, straight up brown rice, straight up millet, and whole oats. 
Kabocha & Adzuki Stew with Ginger, Tamari and Shitake Mushrooms

After eating at macro restaurants in Japan, T and I both knew we loved the taste of pressure cooked grains much better than boiled grains.
Simple Brown Rice. From Cabinet to Bowl in 25 minutes.

In short, the stews have been fantastic, the grains are unbelievably delicious, and the best part is that it is SO quick, safe, and easy to clean.

Expect many more macrobiotic recipes on here, as I can now make things so quickly to go along with steamed veggies, stir-frys and grains. I plan to try cooking with many more types of legumes and grains, and am beyond excited to delve once more back into the macrobiotic land. But don't worry, there will still be yummy treats: I just took carrot millet breakfast muffins out of the oven.

Leftover pressure cooked millet added to yummy carrot muffins!

I just ate whole oats every morning this whole week, and let me tell you, they have left me feeling much more "whole" than my usual bowl of rolled oats. Not that there's anything wrong with flaked grains--->so yummy. But whole oats are so satisfying on a deeper level!

What's the best thing you've bought recently? Has it improved your quality of life, or is it just for fun?

Here's to a happy weekend, and inventive pressure cooker recipes!
xoxo

I added the Pressure cooker I bought under my shop link at the top of the page. 
Check it out for more information :)