Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Wild Rice Porridge 2.0

Last January, I posted my personal take on the Mahnomin Porridge that the groovy Minneapolis restaurant Hell's Kitchen makes for their funky brunch menu.

That recipe was pretty rich, and it takes a while to make, so it's not exactly easy to produce on chilly midweek mornings.

Thus, I've made a new version that's more quick and flexible. The secret, as with many things, is planning ahead.

If you cook the grains for this porridge in the evening (maybe do it while you're making dinner), it's easy to wake up all zombie-like the next day, scoop it into bowls and microwave for a quick and hearty whole-grain brekkie. No pre-coffee brainpower required.

Wild Rice Porridge

Use whatever dried fruit and nuts you like. J particularly loves the combination of currants and walnuts, but I think dried cherries and almonds or pecans and cranberries would be pretty ace, too.

If you save the syrup for the end of the process, everyone can choose to sweeten (or not sweeten) to their hearts' content.
Wild Rice Porridge 2.0 (Makes 4 servings)

1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 cup whole oat groats or brown rice
4 cups water
3/4 cup milk or cream
1/4 cup dried berries: cranberries, blueberries, currants and/or cherries
1/4 cup chopped nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Maple syrup, to taste (optional)

1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cooked wild rice with oat groats (or brown rice) and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the water has evaporated and the rice and groats are tender (about 30 to 35 minutes).
2. Stir in the milk/cream, dried berries, nuts and cinnamon.
3. At this point you can transfer the mixture to a container to refrigerate it for reheating later. To finish, scoop portions of roughly a cup into microwave-safe bowls and cook on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes, or until hot (the timing will depend on your wattage).
4. Season to taste with the maple syrup, and serve hot with milk or cream on the side.

There's a bunch of research now that indicates that nuts, berries and whole grains and even cinnamon are good for you, but that's not why you should eat wild rice porridge for breakfast.

You should eat it because it's chewy, nutty, satisfying sustenance that makes cold, nasty January mornings just a little more agreeable.

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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Wild Rice for Breakfast? Hell, Yes.

A while back, I wrote a piece detailing a few favorite food spots in Minneapolis. (And to be honest, I really need to do a follow-up.)

As I peek in my website search results, all kinds of readers hit that page, but it's not guidance on where to eat you're looking for... ya'll want to find a recipe for the Mahnomin Porridge featured at that favorite creepy brunch spot, "Hell's Kitchen."

I can't blame you. It's good stuff.

Hell's Raven

According to Hell's Kitchen, Mahnomin Porridge is:
"Warm, Native-harvested, hand-parched wild rice with dried blueberries, sweetened cranberries and roasted hazelnuts, drizzled with warm maple syrup and cream. Folks, if you've never tried porridge, you are in for such a treat! Bowl $6.75, Sampler Cup $3.50"

Is it good? Hell, yes. But don't take my word for it. Don't even listen to the masses of people who've been hungrily searching for the recipe.

In announcing their "Twin Cities' Best Breakfast" (circa 2005) award, the City Pages rhapsodized for 3 1/2 lines about the stuff:
"The unlikely jewel in this crown is the wild rice porridge. Wild. Rice. Porridge. It's a sumptuous mixture of wild rice, blueberries, cranberries, hazelnuts, sweet cream, and pure maple syrup. It's also one of the best reasons to get out of bed since Christmas."

So there you have it. Nutty, chewy, sweet and creamy. Northwoods-style heaven in a bowl. But if you don't happen to live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul greater metropolitan area (and as of today, approximately 6,639,326,967 of us don't), you'll have to make it yourself.

Hell's Frites
A great menu and all my brother wants is fries. What's wrong with the youth of America?

Is this it? Is this the holy grail porridge recipe that will make diners faint dead away in blissful swoons? Well, it's not theirs. But gosh, it sure makes a hell of a tasty breakfast.

Just don't eat it every day. Without a hearty workday to match this hearty brekkie, that much cream'll kill ya off.
My Mahnomin Porridge Knock-Off

2 cups wild & brown rice blend, cooked
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried blueberries or currants
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts or almonds
dash nutmeg
dash cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, or to taste

1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cooked wild rice, cream, dried fruit, nuts and spices.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Season to taste with the maple syrup, and serve hot with cream on the side.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of grains, I just have to plug a very funny piece I an across while poking about for information on wild rice and its little friends. The zombie/food reference is just too awesome to pass up: grains! graaaaaaaaains!

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My Big Fat Granola Epiphany

Sometimes, I'm just rolling along with my life and I'm suddenly hit upside the head with the realization I've been doing something completely silly for years.

Case in point: Granola. Why have I been buying granola? I feel like such a dope for having paid Kellogg's to make a substandard version of it for me.

It's painfully quick and easy to make. It creates a warm, homey aroma in your kitchen. It's fresh. It's yummy. It's cheap.

And when you make it at home, you can put whatever you want in it. Looking to make it healthier? Toss in some extra oat bran. Not a big fan of raisins? No problem. Love hazelnuts more than life itself? Go nuts. Literally.

And it's even better with fresh berries and yogurt...

This stuff is good with milk, nice for crunch over yogurt, ice cream, fresh fruit or pudding. Get yourself a big tin of rolled oats and forage for some dried fruit and nuts in the back of your cupboard.

So don't be a rube like me. Stop buying granola. Take this recipe and fly free, little sparrow.
DIY Granola Base Recipe (Makes about 4 1/2 cups)
4 1/2 cups rolled oats (NOT instant)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil (or another light, unflavored oil)
1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite chopped nuts or seeds, if you wish a combination of: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, flax seeds, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, blend all the ingredients.
2. Spread the mix on a cookie sheet or sheet tray and bake 15-25 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking to brown the mix evenly.
3. Cool the tray on a rack, stirring occasionally. Add dried fruit, if desired, after granola has cooled.

After you've done the base batch once or twice, experiment with coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and dried pineapple or perhaps hazelnut and cranberry or maybe dried cherries and almonds or maybe dried apple and walnut...

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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