“It just makes sense.” This was a sentence spoken by my friend when referring to me and Anders’ relationship. We’ve been married for 2 years and wow, what exciting/crazy/shifting times it has been. Our living arrangements sound less than ideal to most people: a tiny one room studio on the UES of New York, in a fifth floor walk-up. When we tell people this, they usually make a face that can only be described as a mixture of disbelief and sympathy. “But you have NO alone time- how do you do it?” I guess the easy answer is that I can’t imagine not living this way. I’ve become so used to having that person- my rock, my support, my best friend, always close by and within arms reach (literally). We were recently in Sweden visiting family and had an upstairs bedroom. Because I’m not exactly a morning person, I was always staying in bed later than him and would wake up and look around, realizing that he wasn’t there. The split second of confusion would turn into a longing for him since I’m so used to seeing him whenever I open my eyes. This surprised me as I never gave our unique living arrangement much thought: could it be that I actually miss him if we’re not in the same room? The bond we’ve created in spending our days together and being connected in a way that most people don’t experience has led me to feel a mild form of separation anxiety. I think what my friend was referring to when saying that we make sense as a couple was her observation of the strong connection between us that’s unexplainable. It’s really a bit like a magnet or some forcefield puling us together- it’s hard to not physically be close to him while we’re out at a friends place or a bar. I feel lucky and sometimes confused that he picked me (although I was the one who started talking to him so I suppose I picked him). I don’t necessary believe that there is one person for everyone, but it’s fascinating that people from two different countries with nothing to connect them can turn out to be a natural match. I can’t wait to see what kind of craziness life has in store for us. Ok on to the meal of the week! As many of you know, I’m studying to be a chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute here in New York. It’s been an incredible few months: I’ve learned how to properly chop greens, make the perfect risotto, all about sourcing the best ingredients, etc on and on forever. But probably best of all, are the incredible instructions and my fellow future plant based chefs that I’ve had the ever-so-lucky opportunity to meet.
This week, we learned all about grains and how the methods to cook them to achieve perfection. So I present to you, millet croquettes. This recipe is a different (enhanced, in my opinion) version of the recipe we used at school (developed by the instructor chefs). The addition of ginger really transformed the dish, and the sundried tomatoes added that umami-rich salty/sweet taste. YUM! Not to mention- they look spectacular and will leave your guests thinking you’re a master chef. 🙂 Let’s talk ginger. Not really sure where to begin here, because the benefits of ginger are pretty much endless. We can start with the presense of gingerols, which are anti-inflammatory coupounds found in the root. Gingerol can prevent the production of nitric oxide, which can quickly turn into a damaging free radical. Ginger can also protect against ovarian cancer by inducing cell-death and cell self-digestion. I was lucky enough to get fresh ginger from the farmer’s market, which by the way looks completely different than ginger you find at the store! It was still on the plant and the color was very light, and flavor very bold, so a little really goes a long way. For this recipe, you can certainly use regular store bought ginger (preferably organic though!). PS: this amazing cutting board was brought home as a gift for me from my hubby as I was shooting the recipe, so of course I had to utilize it immediately. Thank you hubby, for knowing the way to my heart is through food & kitchen supplies!! 🙂
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Umeboshi. You’re welcome. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to survive without it up until about 3 weeks ago. This is the ultimate umami taste: rich, super tangy, but sweet, super salty, all around amazing. Umeboshi paste is pickled plum and is very popular in Japan. It’s believed to aid in digestion and combat fatigue. Try this- it changed my life! I’ve been adding it to at least one meal a day.
- 1 cup millet, washed and drained
- 2.5 cups water
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds, toasted and ground in food processor
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ bunch scallions, minced
- ½ bunch parsley, minced
- ⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely grated
- 2 Tbls of grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons shoyu or tamari
- Umeboshi-mustard dressing
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons umeboshi (pickled plum) paste
- 1 Tbls olive or hemp oil
- juice of half lemon
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- Preheat the oven to 350f/190C.
- Dry roast the millet in a pot stirring frequently until the grain turns slightly golden and gives off an aroma.
- Add the cold water and salt, and bring to boil. Cover, and reduce heat, simmer until water is absorbed. Taste the grain to see if additional cooking is needed and if so, add more water.
- Add all of the ingredients together and mix well with your hands until very sticky.
- Using a ¼ measuring cup, form the croquettes by scooping the mixture in the cup and hitting the top of it to release the croquette. Bake for 20-25 or until croquettes develop slight crispy shell.
- Add all ingredients and beat until dressing is emulsified.
Serve croquettes with a side salad or by themselves. Pour the dressing over them or dip them in the umeboshi-mustard goodness. Enjoy!