Monday, July 19, 2010

Ashna and kasha knishes :-D

“Lady of Abundance”

Ezina, Eshana, Ashnan - beloved, abundance
is a Sumerian grain Goddess.
"The growing grain, the life of Sumer", "the good bread of the whole world".
He sister Lakhar is the sheep goddess.

She is also the supporter of treaties and laws by withholding abundance from anyone breaking them.

Now when the harvest season for grain gets closer and we are about to celebrate the first harvest, let's look a bit closer at cereals.

* "old world grains", that used to be called "corn" (Goddess of corn isn't necessarily the same thing as Goddess of Maize), especially barley, but also wheat and rye, sometimes even oat.

#1, #2 and #3 - Wheat, corn and rice are the most used grains in the whole world. It varies which one is on top, they are all VERY popular.
#4 is barley, thanks to beer and other alcoholic beverages. Barley is also used as animal food, because it is very easy to grow and very tolerant; it doesn't much care about lack of water, cold or heat.#5 and #6 are sorghum and millet. Many believe them to be the same, but they are not. Millet is one of the oldest grains in the world, and it sustains 1/3 of world population.
# 7 is oats, very much thanks to horses
# 8 is rye, which is very important in Northern Europe. We Finns couldn't live without our rye bread, and as far as I know the Danes and Russians have the same relation to theirs :-D Rye is nutritionally very important. Bread that is made of rye, even refined rye, keeps the eater satisfied longer than wholemeal wheat.
# 9 is Triticale - hybrid of wheat and rye, with similar qualities as rye.
# 10 is fonio, an African grain family
# 11 is teff, another African, mainly Ethiopian grain. Teff is amazing nutritionally and could easily grow everywhere in the world.
# 12 is buckqheat, which is not really a cereal.
# 13 is quinoa, which isn't really a cereal either, but has the same qualities cooking wise :-)

Then there are other grains, that might be interesting to mention:
* wild rice, the wild cousin of white rice
* amaranth, quinoa's and buckwheat's cousin
* kañiwa, quinoa's brother
* spelt, wheat's grandmother
* einkorn - single grain wheat
* emmer - one of the first grains of humankind
* durum - tetraploid wheat (it has four sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two)
* kamut - I love the story of this ancient pre-wheat :-)
* adlay, coix, "Chinese pearl barley", "Job's tears" - a maize relative from Asia. (Funnily enough, they make sort of "coix milk" which they call "Job's tear tea" :-D Reminds me of an old Finnish fairytale of bird milk :-D)

* chia isn't really a grain, it's seeds of a American salvia. It's nevertheless very nutritious, oily and very good food.
* flax seeds are another non-grain food that can be used as grain.

Versagrain is a really good site with all the information one can need

So - everybody loves k'nishes :-)

Kasha knishes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ice water
2 eggs; lightly beaten

1 egg; lightly beaten
1 cup kasha; whole roasted
1½ cup chicken broth
1 large onion; small dice
5 tablespoons schmaltz
salt & pepper; to taste
3 eggs; lightly beaten

(Kasha is buckwheat groats, schmaltz is chicken fat)

DOUGH FILLING SOURCE: "Love and Knishes" by Sara Kasden 1956

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 degrees F.
Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; mix well. Make a well in the center and add the oil, ice water, and eggs. Mix with a spoon, incorporating the wet and dry ingredients to make a smooth dough. Turn out onto a board and knead for 2 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and let stand at room temp. for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 balls. Slightly flatten each ball to make a disc shape. Divide each disc into 4 equal balls. Cover with a damp towel and let sit at room temp. for 10 to 15 minutes.
Roll each ball out into a circle about 3 1/2 inches in diam. Cover the dough circles with a damp towel until ready to fill.

In a bowl combine 1 beaten egg and the kasha, stirring to coat each grain with the egg. Heat a large non-stick saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the grain and cook, stirring constantly, over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the kasha kernels are separate and smell nutty. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 20-25 min. or until liquid has evaporated and the grains are tender but chewy. Cool at room temp.
Meanwhile, saute the onion in the chicken fat over high heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.
Add to the kasha and season with salt and pepper. Add the 3 eggs and mix well.

Place 2 rounded T. filling in center of each circle. Pull the edges up around filling, completely enclosing it and pinching the dough to form a tight package. Turn the packages over, place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet, and brush the surface with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T. water).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until light golden brown. Serve hot.

Kasha and mushroom filling

1 cup onions, diced
1 tablespoon safflower oil
3 cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped
½ cup liquid egg substitute
1 cup Kasha
2 cups vegetable broth
salt & pepper

Saute onions in oil in a large skillet until lightly browned. Add mushrooms & cook until mushrooms are lightly browned. Set aside.
Place egg substitute in a bowl & toss the kasha in it. Place tossed kasha in a large skillet with a tightly fitting cover. Over high heat, flatten, stir & chop the kasha with a fork until the grains separate. Remove from heat.
Bring broth to a boil. Slowly pour broth over the kasha, cover skillet, & cook over low heat until the liquid is all absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in onion-mushroom mixture, salt & pepper. Cool to room temperature

from "Vegetarian Gourmet" Issue #11

White bean, chard and emmer soup
about farro/emmer...

To dessert I suggest Carnelians of Babylon

Mix 8 ounces of cream cheese so that it's soft. Mix in 4 ounces of finely ground cashews, 2 ounces of raisins, 4 tablespoons of white wine (or lemon juice, or rose water), zest of a lemon and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
Sandwich about a tablespoon of this cheese mixture between two dried apricots. It should be enough for about 32 apricots :-)
Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top, if you like.

You can also use almond and cranberry ricotta :-D

This is emmer :-)
Yes... it really HAS that color. Only the hull, though ;-)

1 comment:

bourne said...

Your food photos are amazing! I’ve been lurking on your blog for awhile and finally thought I’d say something…. your photography is excellent.