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Cooking with Food that Keeps, Episode #2

Cooking is less fun for me these days. My husband used to refer to me as the “family trashbrain” because of all the sports I watched on television. The moniker was an affectionate one, though, because a lot of the tv I watched was while I was cooking, and he was truly grateful for that. David didn’t know how to turn on our stove. His attitude was, more or less, “Thank God I don’t have to.”

Well, I’m still a trashbrain, but now there are no sports. I feel a bit lost. And as for television, I’m seriously limiting the amount of news I watch – it’s just not good for my mental or physical health. But I’ve found something even better: my daughter Joanna cooks for me! She’s a phenomenal cook and recipe creator – and not quite so gifted or interested in the clean-up department, so we’re a good team. Here’s a recipe she adapted from Forks over Knives, a website offering wonderful plant-based recipes:

Coconut Millet with Leeks & Vegetables

• ¾ cup millet
• 1 cup finely chopped leek, white & light green parts (see note)
• 1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lb asparagus, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups); or a big bunch of fresh spinach or kale
• 1 15-oz. can unsweetened light or regular coconut milk
• salt & pepper (optional)
• 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
• 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1.Bring 2½ cups of water (less if you’ll be using spinach or kale instead of asparagus) to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in millet. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. (All of the water will not be absorbed.) Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet combine leek, ginger, garlic, and ½ cup water. Cook over medium 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until water is evaporated and asparagus is crisp-tender (kale will take less time; spinach even less).
3. Stir coconut milk into the millet mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high; remove from heat. Add salt & pepper, if you like, and lime juice. Stir. Top servings with cilantro.

Note: it’s essential, and kind of a pain, to clean leeks thoroughly. You generally need to soak them and swish them around in several changes of water. But I can make it so much easier: do your chopping first, and then soak the pieces. They’ll get clean so much faster and more easily that way.

This comforting dish is just the ticket for these discomforting times.