As a health coach, I am constantly posting recipes and food-spiration to help my clients make healthy food choices. Teaching others to eat healthfully inspires me to eat clean, fresh foods. Recently, I took on four new clients who are starting their health coaching programs with sessions focused around upgrading their food. Two weeks ago, we focused on greens. This week, we are exploring whole grains (while continuing to add in greens). At both sessions, many clients found inspiration in trying greens and grains that they had never had, or heard of. This inspired me to try some greens and grains that I had never tried to cook at home before. The only gluten free grain that fit these conditions was millet. I decided to try mustard greens since I LOVE arugula and was intrigued by a spicy green.
My inspiration came when I was putting together Pinterest boards of recipes using whole grains. I came across this mouth-watering photo:
Doesn’t that look FABULOUS?!!?
(See the original pin here.) This little beauty is scallops over rye berries with spinach and pomegranate.
I can’t eat rye berries on account of the gluten. But I do LOVE scallops. So I started thinking about how I could modify this recipe to be gluten free. If I replaced the wheat berries with millet, the texture would be very different. Millet is smaller and softer, and it looked to me a bit like couscous. I know when I used to eat couscous, I liked it with veggies and cheese. I had some veggies in the fridge, as well as some delectable smoked gruyere. (YUM!)
When I got to the store, I grabbed my millet and mustard greens and headed to the seafood department. There were about 5 big, juicy scallops staring me down, looking awesome, until I spotted the price $13/lb! Not so awesome. I’m a girl on a bit of a budget, so I had to think quickly and come up with a backup plan. Spotting some catfish at $7/lb, I picked up two small filets. The natural flavor of catfish is more mild than scallops, so I had to modify my recipe plans a bit further. I decided to do a cajun seasoning on the catfish, and pick up some sweet corn to toss in the millet to add a little southern style sweet-and-spicy action to the dish.
I headed home and got to cooking! I got a pot of water boiling and added the millet, turning down the heat to low and covering it for twenty minutes. I heated my oven to 450 degrees and rubbed my catfish with cajun spices, thyme and a little rosemary, as well as a squirt of lime juice. I wrapped my fish in tin foil and popped it in for 12 minutes. Then I chopped up a little red onion, orange bell pepper, crimini mushrooms and garlic. I sautéed the veggies in a little olive oil with a sprinkle of rosemary and chopped up some gruyere. I grabbed my catfish out of the oven and opened the foil to let the steam out while I chopped a few sprigs of mustard greens and got my plate ready.
I stirred the veggies into the millet and spooned some onto my plate (bowl?). I topped the mixture with some chopped gruyere, then mustard greens, and laid my cajun catfish fillet right on top.
millet and vegetables
The end result was DELICIOUS! The spicy catfish paired well with the sass of the mustard greens. The creamy gruyere enhanced the millet. The sweetness of the corn and cheese complimented the spicy components. There was a nice interplay of the smoky cajun spices and the smoked gruyere. This dish made me feel GREAT because the millet was like an indulgent comfort food, while the greens and fish were lean and fresh.
millet mixture and gruyere
adding the mustard greens
Now. I realize that the way that I come up with recipes does not work for everybody. Some of you need more structure. Some of you are not able to veer from the path of your recipe. If that is the case, I implore you to challenge yourself. Switch out one green for a different green. Trade proteins or grains. Change one vegetable. Try it. Take a deep breath. Taste your creation.