So, I went a little overboard with the free samples from Bob's Red Mill at Vida Vegan Con 2013, and have now found myself overrun with MILLET (which is not necessarily a bad thing)!
As part of the new packaging on their Grains of Discovery series, the lovely representative from Bob's Red Mill was armed and ready with simple size packets of several unique and interesting ancient grains which have nourished many of the world's civilizations since the dawn of time. Some were quite familiar to me such as quinoa and farro, others like amaranth and kamut, were not. Millet I had heard of, but had never cooked with it before now.
For those of you unfamiliar with millet, it look like quinoa's cousin, tiny pellets without the quinoa "tail". You might also recognize it as the #1 ingredient in most bird seeds... (I kept that part to myself, as this might be a tough sell for my better-half). I have read that millet is highly nutritious, expands quite a bit when cooking, and has the tendency to become mushy if overcooked.
So what to make with this "rediscovered" ancient grain...
One of my favorite talks at Vida Vegan con was Terry Hope Romero'sRecipe Creation and Testing, where Terry discussed, in depth, her recipe development process. One of her tips was to let yourself be inspired by food and food trends, and not just VEGAN food trends. She takes inspiration from Sauveur, Bon Appetite and the Washington Post, publications not know for vegetarian or even vegan dishes. So instead of typing my usual: "MILLET RECIPES VEGAN" into Google, I left the 'vegan' out, and found this:
With a little tweaking I came up with this adaptation, which I veganized, and added some ingredients I had on hand
Millet, Carrot & Kale Salad
12 kale leaves, stemmed and washed thoroughly
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup millet
1 cup vegetable broth
1-2 tsp Tandoori Seasoning (Penzey's)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound carrots, peeled halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup pickled red peppers (leftover from Indian take away)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 TBSP nigella seeds sesame seeds, toasted, plus onion powder to taste
For the Dressing:
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp sweet curry powder (Penzey's)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2-3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk sunflower milk, plus 1 T Tofutti Sour cream
Now because I was making this on a weeknight, I decided to skip the kale prep. TWO ways from the original recipe, and just go for blanched (or in my case, steamed) kale. Chop kale leaves into strips and steam for about 5 minutes until bright and vibrant green. Rinse in a colander under cold water and set aside, drain and squeeze out excess water. Kale can be chopped a bit more, at this point (especially nice if you have a kale hater in your house like I do)!
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat in a heavy 2- or 3-quart saucepan. Add the millet and Tandoori seasoning and toast, stirring, until it begins to smell fragrant and toasty, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and salt to taste, and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until the liquid in the saucepan has evaporated and the grains are fluffy. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. At this point I also added the sliced carrots and my leftover pickled red peppers from Indian takeaway the previous night.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a measuring cup. At this point, the original recipe had suggested reheating the whole mixture with the dressing in a skillet, but I thought it was just warm enough. Add the chopped kale to the millet and carrots, add dressing (I only used about 3/4 of the dressing) then stir to combine. Mix in the sesame seeds and chopped cilantro, (I like to save a bit of each to top the final salad) and serve!