Wednesday, April 2, 2014

grains in the morning (recipes: morning orzotto and breakfast rice pudding)

My morning routine has changed a bit this year.  I wake up in the 5 o'clock hour, get dressed, throw on a jacket and head to the gym.  When I return, the house is still silent, I put on a pot of tea and fire up the stove for breakfast.

Some days I drift away from the monotony of oatmeal and will gently settle in for a stirring of morning orzotto or simmer left over rice down to a pudding.  The toppings remain the same, a sprinkling of pecans, cranberries, coconut with a drizzling of maple syrup.

After sipping tea and spooning up my breakfast, my stomach is fully satisfied and I feel like my day has begun in a solid wholesome way.

If the mornings are slow I will stir up a pot of morning orzotto.  "Barley" in Italian is translated to orzo, so please don't mistaken this recipe with the use of orzo pasta because it is all about the barley.  I simply take 1/2 cup pearl barley and give it a good rinsing.  I then add the barley and 1 1/2 cups of water to a pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.  When the water is almost absorbed, stir in  a 1/2 cup of coconut milk.  Gently simmer and stir occasionally, just as you would preparing a risotto.  Add another 1/4 cup coconut milk and simmer until it is mostly absorbed.  Add water little by little, if necessary, and simmer until it reaches the desired doneness.  Stir in flavorings.  (I use cinnamon, salt, cardamom.)  Pour into two bowls and add toppings (I use shredded coconut, pecans, cranberries, flax seed, and maple syrup to sweeten). Barley takes 35-40 minutes to prepare-I told you it was for a slow morning!

Once or twice a week I find myself sitting down to a bowl of rice pudding for breakfast.  The recipe is simple, quicker than the former, and uses leftovers.  I simply add 1/2 cup cooked wild blend rice (I like Lundberg's), a pinch of salt, 3/4 cup almond milk to a pot and bring it to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until the rice has reduced and thickened to the consistency of a porridge, about 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour it into a bowl.  Sweeten with maple syrup and add your choice of toppings (again, I stud my pudding with cranberries, pecans, golden flax and coconut).

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