Creamy Amaranth Porridge

I’m of the opinion that if you live in Canada, you have two choices. You can bitch and moan about how hot it is in summer, or you can bitch and moan about how cold it is in winter (I guess a third choice would be not to bitch and moan about the weather at all, but frankly, that’s just un-Canadian.)

I am of the bitch-and-moan-during-winter persuasion. Even though I’ve lived here my whole life, the first day of winter never fails to shock me like a cold shower. I emerge from my car, tugging my woefully flimsy cardigan around me, trying in vain to keep the wind from whipping my hair, and I think, ‘Here we go again.’

But summer? Summer, I love. I love lazy, languid strolls past shops with open doors. I love sitting on the steps watching the ants go about their busy work. I love hurriedly licking popsicles while they drip purple pools on the sidewalk.

But this year, even I’m starting to get tired. Tired of the way my car feels like the inside of a barbecue if I’m parked for even ten minutes. Tired of sun always blazing down on my neck, even if it’s only 10 am. Tired of sticky skin and puffy hair and stretched-out jersey dresses.

So today, I’m going to wake up early, when it’s still nice and cool out. And I’m going to pretend that it’s a perfect crisp fall day. I’m going to make myself a bowl of warming, stick-to-your-ribs amaranth porridge and a cup of steaming chocolate tea. And for a few minutes, I will try to forget that there’s a heat alert and a smog alert and that it will be 33 degrees outside in a few short hours. I will just take a bite of that creamy, warming porridge topped with figs and dream of days to come.

Creamy Amaranth Porridge

Adapted from Julie Daniluk’s Meals That Heal Inflammation (a great, information packed book, by the way)

Serves 2

⅔ cup amaranth
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
Fruit and nuts for topping
Maple syrup or honey

Directions:

1. Pour amaranth into a saucepan that has a thick bottom (to prevent burning.) Turn heat to medium and toast amaranth, stirring frequently, until the grains become a golden brown colour and they give off a nutty, roasted scent.

2. Take off heat and add water, milk and cinnamon. Return to heat.

3. Once the mixture is heated through, turn to low heat and cover. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so to make sure the amaranth doesn’t stick to the pot. The amaranth is ready once all the liquid has been absorbed.

4. Pour into bowls, drizzle with maple syrup and top with fruit and nuts (I used figs and walnuts to complement the earthy taste of the amaranth. Blueberries, peaches, apples and pears work well too.)

Note: As I mentioned in my previous post, amaranth makes great leftovers. Just store remainder in an airtight container and warm it up in the microwave the next day along with a little milk.

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