First I made some barley and mushroom risotto. This came from the same cookbook as the picadillo (Lorna Sass's "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way"), but I see that it was also featured in the Washington Post. I left out the parsley because I didn't have any, and I used dried portobello mushrooms because that was the only choice (other than the morels at $26/oz) at the store. I also used green onions instead of the leeks because that's what I had handy. I had a few space-out moments (like when I halved the recipe but forgot to cut down the liquid), but I managed to recover and the texture turned out beautifully. It tastes good, too, but next time I'll reduce the amount of fennel seeds, or perhaps leave them out all together. I knew that they taste somewhat like anise (which I don't like at all), and I suppose that should have been enough warning. I still like it, but it would be much better without that flavor.
I also wanted to try out a stuffing recipe in preparation for Thanksgiving, and I thought it would be perfect while I had a little bit of turkey left. I found a tasty looking recipe at Kalyn's kitchen (a very good website with a lot of whole grain recipes), so I tried it out. I used basic whole wheat sandwich bread (with flax seeds) that I made last week. I halved this recipe, too, but I didn't measure the veggies and I think I used a bit too much of them. It tastes really good, but it could use a little bit more bread.
I then went crazy with the veggies. Nothing too inventive, but I made lots of steamed broccoli, steamed carrots, roasted cauliflower, and roasted green beans with almonds. I found out yesterday that it's National Roasting Month, so it worked out perfectly. Oh, and I almost forgot about the sweet potato casserole that is delicious and amazingly simple (it only has sweet potatoes, crushed pinapple, cinnamon, and walnuts).
And my final concoction was a carrot cake sweetened with pineapple and raisins. It's really good (and would be even better if I had remembered to add the vanilla). I'm still amazed at how great these things turn out, and I don't miss refined sugar at all.
I can't cook for a while because I'm leaving on Friday, but now I have a new distraction because Bahareh got me a hamster for my birthday. He's quite adorable and amazingly soft, but he's not quite sure about his new cage/owner. Hopefully he'll figure it out soon. Any name suggestions would be appreciated. Right now I'm throwing around Rocko/Rocky, Pollan, and, Clack (I've been listening to far too much Car Talk lately), but I'm also waiting to see if anything about his personality jumps out at me.