May 18, 2009

sprouting is fun!

A while ago, my mom sent me this video about sprouting. It made us both laugh--these folks are totally enthusiastic about sprouting--but it also inspired us to go forth and do the same. The idea had escaped us for a while, but then I read Fresh Food From Small Spaces, by R.J. Ruppenthal, and the urge to sprout came rushing back.

And so, for Mother's Day, I ordered four pounds (yes, pounds) of sprouts from SproutPeople to split between my mom and I. Four pounds may sound like a lot: let me confirm for you that it is, in fact, a whole lot more than we may have needed.

In any case, let the sprouting begin. I ordered three different mix varieties: Beanie's Awesome Mix (Green and Red Chief Lentils, Green, Marrowfat and Yellow Peas, Beige and Brown Garbanzos and Adzukis), Amber Waves of Grain (Wheat, Rye, Barley, Triticale, Oats, Spelt, Kamut, Quinoa, Sesame, Millet and Amaranth), and French Garden (Clover, Arugula, Cress, Radish, Fenugreek, Dill).

The first batch of bean sprouts went awry; I failed to follow the OH-SO-PERFECTLY-SIMPLE directions, and soaked my beans in water for four days before realizing that the funk they were emitting was not going to make for tasty sprouts.

The drill is easy: soak the seeds first, only for about 8 hours, then drain and rinse every 8-12 hours until your sprouts look like what you'd see at the grocery store, if not just a little bit smaller.

What to do with a jar full of fresh sprouts? The game plan was to have a loaf of bread ready and take sandwiches for lunch all week. I'm still trying to find the perfect, healthy bread recipe, so this time I opted for a 1.5-pound loaf and used 2 cups of bread flour plus 1 cup of whole wheat to make a nice, fluffy, golden, taste-of-honey loaf.

At the grocery, I stocked up on staples like avocados and local tomatoes, as well as tuna, and started off my lunches with a bang. Today's sammy boasted the homemade bread with mayo, dijon, avocado, tomatoes, Muenster, and a glorious heap of French Garden sprouts. What a crunch they brought to the table! My home-grown mix of sprouts was full of flavor and packed with nutritive value.

I'm hoping my newest batch of bean sprouts will hurry up their growing so that we can have them in stir-fry this week. Stay tuned for more on my latest kitchen experiment.


In other news, Ryan and I spent a good portion of Sunday morning cleaning the kitchen, and I have to point out two things he's made so much better in that arena. For someone as stubborn and set in her ways as I am, these are big changes that my Main Squeeze deserves credit for.

First of all, we finally agreed that there's nothing wrong with drying dishes with dish towels (I was against it, he was for it). My time spent as a barista in a small gelato shop had me fearful of spreading germs with kitchen towels, but Ryan was just advocating for clean towels to do some of the heavy lifting, getting our dishes dried faster. It's also a compromise, since I refuse to use the "dry" setting on the dishwasher (why use extraneous energy?). So now our kitchen, home to my many ridiculous culinary experiments, is destined to stay even cleaner. We hope.

Secondly, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that one of the best things in recent months for our kitchen has been the addition of a bamboo cutting board that stays out on the counter. Ryan saw it at a discount home store and fell in love with it. "Now, I wouldn't be opposed if this stayed out in the open," he said. I reluctantly set it out in my tiny little workspace... But now realize it serves as an automatic workstation, and gets cleaned during and after every meal. I thought it would limit my workspace, but it has been a real liberator: now I'm learning to be more efficient with my food prep and can do an entire dinner using only one cutting block (unless there's meat involved...then I bust out the plastic one).

So, here's to constant evolution in the kitchen: may it forever be improving!


Anonymous said...

Hey girl! Wrap your jar in a heating pad to hurry them along if you want a burst of growth! I just realized I'm copying you...I posted about yogurt last week and just uploaded pics of granola. I swear I won't do sprouts anytime soon!!!

Amber said...

awesome--thanks for the tip! i read up on sprout people's site too, and think temperature has everything to do with it. i'll try again and update here.

how funny that we're on the same homemade timeline! keep me posted, i love hearing everyone's tips. :)