Magazine article Sunset

The Quick Cook

Magazine article Sunset

The Quick Cook

Article excerpt

Butter and salt for the purists, imaginative seasonings for the adventurous, a potluck spread for all

Go with the grain

* Grains in minutes? The smallest ones just naturally cook fast. Others are specially treated in processing to make them speedy.

Bulgur (cracked) wheat is steamed. It gets soft enough to eat when soaked but stays chewy when cooked.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a fine, round, high-protein grain, is native to the Andes and was prized by ancient farmers because it grows at high altitudes. It has a slightly bitter natural coating that needs to be rinsed off.

Barley labeled quick-cooking has had its outer hull removed so that moisture can penetrate faster.

Quick-cooking brown rice has been cooked and dried, and needs to be rehydrated. It's ready to eat in threequarters the time it takes to cook regular brown rice.

Pilaf with Baked Eggs

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes

NOTES: For an interesting grain mix, combine equal parts quick-cooking barley, quick-cooking brown rice, bulgur, and rinsed quinoa.

MAKES: 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2/3 cup finely chopped shallots

1 1/3 cups grain mix or any individual quick-cooking grain (see notes)

2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 cup (1/4 lb.) shredded Swiss cheese

4 large eggs

Roma tomato slices

Salt and pepper

1. In a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof frying pan over high heat, stir butter and shallots often until shallots are lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Add grain mix and stir until grains are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add broth and marjoram, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until grains are tender to bite, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Mix 1/2 cup cheese with pilaf. Using the back of a spoon, make 4 deep wells in mixture. Slide 1 egg into each well. Lay tomato slices around eggs.

4. Bake in a 400 deg oven until egg whites are opaque and yolks have desired texture, about 8 minutes for liquid yolks. About 3 minutes before eggs are cooked, sprinkle mixture with remaining cheese.

5. Use a wide spatula to scoop out pilaf and eggs, 1 at a time, and put on plates. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 413 cal., 37% (153 cal.) from fat; 24 g protein; 17 g fat (8.5 g sat.); 42 g carbo (6.1 g fiber); 223 mg sodium; 246 mg chol.

3 more quick grain recipes

Lamb Soup. In a 4- to 5-quart pan over high heat, stir 1 pound ground lean lamb, 1 cup chopped onion, and 1 cup chopped carrots until lamb is well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon off and discard any fat. Add 1 1/3 cups grain mix (see notes at left), 5 1/2 cups fat-- skimmed beef broth, and 1 cup dry sherry. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until grains are tender to bite, about 12 minutes. Stir in cup chopped parsley. Makes about 9 cups; 4 servings.

Per serving: 521 cal., 29% (153 cal.) from fat; 32 g protein; 17 g fat (6.j g sat.); 44 g carbo (7.5 g fiber); 194 mg sodium; 76 mg chol.

Shrimp Tumble with Lettuce. In a 10-- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, combine 11/3 cups grain mix (see notes at left) and 2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until grains are tender to bite, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, rinse and finely chop 1/2 pound shelled cooked tiny shrimp. Stir shrimp, 1/2 cup minced green onions, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, and 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger into grains. …

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