Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Coffee Grinder: Another Useful Kitchen Tool and Millet: Another Healthy Delicious Whole Grain

I've found my coffee grinder to be a very useful tool in my kitchen. I have a Hamilton Beach Custom Grind coffee grinder which I bought at National Wholesale Liquidators for $15 or so. I use it for a number of tasks, none of which happen to be grinding coffee since I don't drink coffee much at all. (I love the way coffee smells but I'm not really fond of the taste--not even Ethiopian coffee has persuaded me although it's probably the best I've tried.) I sometimes use it to process small amounts of food for Z2 or to grind spices. My 14-cup food processor is just too large to handle small loads so it's great that the coffee grinder fills that gap. Most importantly, however, it makes short work of grinding seeds such as flax seed and grains like oats and millet.

I was introduced to millet in Cathe Olson's book The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook which I've recommended before. From Wikipedia:

The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight.

Millets are rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B17 (see nitrilosides), B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Millets contain no gluten, so they are not suitable for raised bread. When combined with wheat or xanthan gum (for those who have coeliac disease), however, they can be used for raised bread. Alone, they are suited for flatbread.

As none of the millets are closely related to wheat, they are appropriate foods for those with coeliac disease or other forms of allergies/intolerance of wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.

Millet is a tasty grain that we generally eat as a porridge although you can cook it and use it in the place of rice or grind it and use as a flour in baking.

Millet Breakfast Porridge
one part millet
5 parts cold water
non-dairy milk (I use hemp or almond milk)

Start by toasting the millet over a medium flame until the millet is golden brown and fragrant. Let it cool and then grind it fine in the coffee grinder. Combine the ground millet with the water and cook over medium heat until very thickened. Add milk to loosen the millet up to desired consistency. Note: when I was working outside the house, I would toast and grind the millet while preparing dinner. That way in the morning all I'd have to do was add water and in 3-4 minutes, breakfast would be ready.

I used to enjoy millet with organic cultured, pastured butter, which I had started to eat when I had eliminated all soy from my diet to get at the cause of my hair loss, a bit of pure Grade B maple syrup and a dash. Now I just sub the butter for Earth Balance or no oil at all (the boys like it this way). The hubby prefers his prepared like grits with a little bit of salt, pepper, and Earth Balance and that's it (no sweetener).

To use millet in place of rice, place 1 part toasted millet and 3 parts water with a dash of salt in the rice cooker.

I get my organic millet for the best price from the bulk food bins at Whole Foods.


Hagar's Daughter said...

Hi Chi Chi,
I have the exact grinder which I bought at Target last year. I use it to grind flax seeds for green smoothies.

You work so hard to take care of your children and to provide them with nutritious meals. I thought of you when I wrote my post "Our Children Need Us."

I haven't tried millet yet, but I will. I've learned that I'm very sensitive to wheat and have stopped eating it. Last year was the first time that I ate quinoa even though I'd been eating pasta made from quinoa flour. It is delicious.

Hug Z-squared (both of your babies) for me.

Anonymous said...

Chi Chi,

I do a newsletter at the beginning of each month. If you would like to ever contribute anythihng that would be great. You have excellent ideas. You can preview the newsletter here.


Chi-Chi, The Original Wombman said...

HD, I will hug them for you! Thank you so much for those words! You are an encouragement to me so much!! I've been meaning to try quinoa flour--I see it in WF. Since you like it, maybe I'll give it a go.

Raet, thanks for the invite to write. I'm already thinking of what I could contribute! I think you are doing powerful, necessary work.

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