"Tomcat Amaranth" for Labour Day weekend!4:06 PM
It's Labour Day weekend! Yay! Time-off work! Pals and pools! Air shows and cronuts ! Ye...
It's Labour Day weekend!
Yay! Time-off work! Pals and pools! Air shows and cronuts! Yes you read that right -- air shows and cronuts...If you live outside of Toronto, Canada you may not have heard of the monstrosity that is the cronut -- a burger sandwiched between a croissant and a donut, slathered in bacon jam. Yes, you read that right too, jam made from bacon. This "delicacy" has been available this summer at the EX, or the National Exhibition grounds where millions flock each summer to ride roller coasters, watch air shows and concerts, not to mention eat funnel cakes, deep fried butter (you read that right too), deep fried mars bars, deep fried anything really. Everyone but me I guess. Yes, I never cared for the EX too much, probably because I am afraid of roller coasters and my liver issues make fried foods like funnel cakes a digestible magic trick that I have yet to be able to pull off...Ah well, on the upside I won't be coming down with food poisoning from the bacon jam like the EX's other patrons.
I'm on a brief 5 day holiday that started today and I know I'm in for some less than nutritionally awesome food over the next few days as I plan to catch up with friends and family in a few different settings that will inevitably involve lots of junk food. So to start the weekend off on the right foot, and in the spirit of all things Canada, I decided to make what I will forever refer to as "tomcat" amaranth. What the fuck is that you ask? Well it's my long weekend tomato-infused savory amaranth porridge bowl. I'm calling it "tomcat" amaranth because when I think long weekends I can't help but think the 1970s -- everything is coming up roller coasters, state fairs and sex. People come together to go to drive ins and camp...and skinny dip. It just seems very...70s. I also dubbed this dish "tomcat" amaranth because...well maybe because I meant to call it 'tomato-amaranth' but my laptop's auto-correct had other plans and I've had a bit too much caffeine today and it seemed brilliant and obvious at the time...maybe that time has passed a little, but I have already edited the name into my photos so "tomcat" amaranth it is! If that long winded excuse isn't enough, the dish is really healthy so if you eat it often you'll look better naked, and then you know, you'll be a 'tomcat' with the ladies or gents and yea...there you go.
Bizarre name aside, this dish tastes and looks delicious. Amaranth is a really interesting ingredient that I love to use in many contexts. It tastes awesome on its own or as a sweet porridge, I also love baking with amaranth flour and when cooked amaranth tastes great in savory dishes. Though it looks an awful lot like white quinoa (a relative) it is far less bitter than quinoa and closer in stickiness to rice. It absorbs flavor really well and is perhaps even a bit healthier for you than quinoa as it has higher levels of vitamins and minerals per serving. It's also not a grain -- though many people assume it is. It's actually a pseudo-grain, a gluten-free seed that behaves similarly to a grain. It is loaded with protein -- almost as much as quinoa -- and lots of essential vitamins and minerals. I usually mix it with white or red quinoa and cook them together. In this case I just used amaranth and wow did it come out delicious and pretty. On it's own, cooked amaranth is almost semi-translucent -- and reminds me a little of caviar in texture and appearance. This amaranth dish is made by cooking the amaranth in water mixed with tomato passata (strained tomato puree) and spices. It totally absorbs the color, flavor and richness of the tomato and comes out jewel-like. It's delicious just like that, that's why I have two recipes for you today -- Naked Tomcat Amaranth and "Disco" Tomcat Amaranth.
'Disco'? Yes, Disco. By disco I mean all dressed up and ready to party in your mouth (I apologize, caffeine). For a more impressive dish I top the Naked Tomcat Amaranth with a homemade Vegan Rose Cream sauce and some colorful veggies. It's delicious and a delightful mix of flavors, texture and color. I suggest tying out both recipes, you won't be disappointed.
If you're Canadian like me, this dish is a great way to celebrate any Canadian major holiday as the amaranth is vibrantly red and once placed in a white bowl or on a plate it's totally patriotic!
Happy Labour Day!
Naked “Tomcat” Amaranth
Makes 2 large servings or 4 small servings
In a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid, combine all ingredients except chia seeds. Stir thoroughly. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Stir and cover with lid. 1 minute after covering with the lid, reduce heat to very low and let mixture simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring very occasionally. After 20 minutes add chia seeds and stir through thoroughly. Cover again with lid for 5 more minutes. Remove lid, stir and serve.
Disco Tomcat Amaranth
Make your Vegan Rose Cream (recipe below). Place 1 serving of Naked Tomcat Amaranth in a bowl. Cover with the grated cucumber and then the steamed chopped greens. Drizzle with the vegan rose cream. Serve.
Vegan Rose Cream
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until very smooth. Set aside until ready to serve