Refrigerators never die in the middle of winter, when all you’d need to do is open a window to keep the milk cold, they die in the middle of a New York City heat wave when it’s 104 outside and 80 inside. The fridge was cool — ish (about 55 according to the inside panel), but anything with an expiration date was out of luck. The milk was hardest hit. Didn’t stand a chance. The yogurt, with its already soured cultures, wasn’t so needy of the cold, but I still had to keep it in a pot in the fridge filled with ice cubes. Only problem was the freezer – in a gesture of solidarity – had decided to conduct a work slow-down and was dropping ice cubes into the tray at the rate a hen lays eggs – one a day. The yogurt would be heading to a slow death.
So in light of the mechanical failure, I had to start using things up that would not survive the two-day repairman wait. This included eggs, leftover vegs and carrots starting to wilt. I needed a plan.
I had never heard much about the grain millet (except that I recall filling our bird-feeder with it when I was ten). I started getting curious though when I noticed it on the store shelf one day. It’s believed to have been the first grain ever cultivated – well before rice, and is commonly eaten in East Africa and parts of China where it grows well in drought-like conditions.
It has a pop corn-like taste with a consistency similar to couscous or quinoa, so decided it would be a perfect candidate for Millet Cakes – savory flat cakes into which I would add the must-be-used-up foods.
- Pretty good source of protein (about 4 g/quarter cup dry) which is higher than rice, but a bit lower than quinoa (about 5 or 6 g/quarter cup). It does not, however, contain the amino acid lysine (a protein) that quinoa is well known for.
- Good source of iron (about 50% higher than quinoa).
- As versatile as rice, couscous, barley, or quinoa.
- Cheap. (Half the price of quinoa.)
You can also buy millet flour for baking.
Millet. It looks like quinoa and couscous. Label your containers.
A touch of flour helps to bind things. Whole wheat or white is fine, since you use so little.
The dill is critical both in the cakes and on top of them.
I don’t find the flavor of millet quite as appealing on its own as other grains, but if you’re using it with several other ingredients, and millet’s flavor and texture are not carrying the team, then give it a try.
I also have to give a shout-out to WholeFoods whose quinoa cakes first inspired me to get creative and invent a version of my own. I find theirs a bit greasy with not enough vegs for my tastes, so these are very light and loaded with vegs.
Ever used millet? Recipes in which you’re using quinoa where perhaps millet could take its place?
Grains Don’t Want You To Eat Them (Some properties that make grains hard to digest and what you can do to mitigate these.)
Are Whole Grains Making Us Fat (About our over dependence on grains in the diet)
Alternative Pesto (Pesto would also work great on top of the Millet Cakes)
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