Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crème of buckwheat & useful links for bloggers and designers

A buckwheat fan? A buckwheat hater who regret his aversion to it and want to get on the right track? (you will discover below why buckwheat is so good for you) Someone interested in design or sources of tips for bloggers? Then, go on reading!

 During the last days, I discovered that almost everything can be thrown in the blender and transformed in your dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) in just 5 minutes. Well, maybe not 5 in some cases….have you ever tried to remove all the seeds of a bunch of grapes? Or of almost half of a watermelon? . Some of the combinations tasted OK, some tasted not as OK, I directly throw to the rubbish bin one of them, and a few of them were just luscious, though I should not say it because it’s my own creation. But on second thoughts, would you try them if I say that they are inedible?

Do you like buckwheat? I love it. I mean, I adore it. I could survive only on buckwheat. Ok, ok. Maybe not only on buckwheat, but almost. Give me some soy milk and olive oil and then I really won’t need anything else. After getting my dental braces, it came as a complete shock to me. No buckwheat? Impossible! Only almost a week after it I got the brilliant idea (because it is brilliant, you can’t deny that) to put it all in the blender, oil and milk included. And voilà….when I tasted it, I thought I was in the heaven. Or more exactly, it was like a piece of heaven in a bowl. It had an incredibly rich texture, with that nutty and deep flavor that buckwheat has, but light, puffy and creamy. Like if it has whipped cream in it (but it didn’t!).

I adore design almost as much as buckwheat (and that means really a lot). How many of you like design? I would like to know it, because I am thinking about including some design tips in the blog too. I know that I am not a wizard with it, but I get by (I think that I did a good job with the current design, for instance). But the most important is that love it. Yeah, as much as food (but maybe not as much as buckwheat). I could include at least some links to websites that really can give you good advises, because I am afraid that the most skilful of you could even teach me (I have seen incredible designs out there). What do you think about? Any HTML/PHP/CSS/Dreamweaver/Photoshop fan out there? To start with, here is some links that can be useful to any blogger or designer [see links below]

And talking about the blog content, what would you like to see in the blog? What kind of recipes? More baked goods? Healthy recipes? Gluten free recipes? Maybe more traditional Russian or Spanish dishes? In relation to the design (and maybe blogging) tips I mentioned, what kind of information would be useful for you? I would like to be able to help with food styling and photography, but I still have to learn. Nevertheless, I always can concentrate for you the advices of the masters.  I really appreciate your feedback!

I am leaving to Moscow today, at 7PM, but I won’t arrive at Sheremetevo (one of the Moscow’s airport, that is in detriment of the newer Domodeedovo. Can you believe that no trains arrive to Sheremetevo?) until….5AM! Oh, sleepless nights, how I hate you. I will take my beloved camera with me as hand luggage, so if I am lucky enough (and I don’t fall asleep while I am waiting for my next plane), I will try to do some photos in the Rome airport, where I have to change. I hope I will be able to post some photos during my travel, but if not, see you after on 26th August.

Crème of buckwheat

Serves 1
Time of preparation: about 10 minutes (plus the 25 min of the buckwheat cooking)
From: own recipe

I only can say that if you have never tried buckwheat…what are you waiting for??? You would be surprised to know how healthy it is.  Although I have been eating buckwheat all my life (it’s a very common food in Russia), I have always thought that it is a grain. But it’s not! Actually, is “a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens”, according to Whole food. Did you know that one cup of cooked buckwheat covers between 20 and 35% of your daily needs of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium and dietary fiber? Did I tell that all that has got only 154 kcal? A couple of cookies have got more than that! And if you have already tried buckwheat and know about all its goodness, I recommend you try in that way. It will surprise you, I assure you.

-1 cup cooked buckwheat *
-3/4 cups soymilk (or any other non-dairy milk)
-1/4 cup water
-a pinch of salt
-1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (or your favorite oil. I think that sesame oil will taste great because of its nuttiness)

Mix the soymilk, water and salt in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes if using soy milk, and one minute or two if using any other non-dairy milk. Why? Soy milk can be sometimes difficult to digest, and boiling it helps to prevent difficult digestions.

Add the cooked buckwheat and boil another two or three minutes.

Let it cool a little bit, and pour it in the blender (or use an immersion blender if it’s the case). Pouring boiling liquids in it can be dangerous, both for you and your blender. Blend it until it has got a creamy texture. If it’s too think, add more water. Add the oil and adjust salt. Serve with extra oil drizzled on top, and if you have some buckwheat left some kernels.

*To cook buckwheat, to it according the packaging. If there are not instructions, wash it two or three times, changing the water each time. Cover it with cold water (four or five centimeters above the buckwheat). Add salt. Boil covered for 20-25 minutes. Don’t stir. If there is not enough water, add a little bit more. It’s OK if there is some left even if the buckwheat is done, because I recommend covering it with a cloth (or many) to keep the heat and leave it to stand (at least 10’) It will absorb the water and finish cooking without burning the sauce pan.

Useful links

For bloggers:

Food blog alliance – Thank to Kalyn for telling me about that site! According to their own description, “here experienced food bloggers share their expertise with the community, by offering tips, tutorials and observations about food blogging. Sort of like a but for food bloggers”. There are articles written by so well known bloggers as the authors of The Perfect Pantry, Smitten Kitchen, Simply Recipes or David Lebovitz (you guessed, by Devid Lebovitz. I adore the way he writes! Don’t you?). Some examples of what you can find there is “11 tips to improve your blog writing”  and “guest bloggers: to have or not to have (and how to do it)”  

Problogger – Well, I could not forget about that, right? “This site is dedicated to helping other bloggers learn the skills of blogging, share their own experiences and promote the blogging medium.” Some examples: How to Get In Tune with Your Readers Needs [and Produce Compelling Content] or “How I’m Increasing Reader Engagement on my Blog”;

Expandable Post Summaries on Blogger on Cute Writing - An expandable post summary is what I use on my blog: only a fraction of the post is visualized on the home page. You keep your home page clean and organized, and visitors can select themselves what they want to read, instead of scrolling and scrolling.

Links collections:

Script & Style – “Links to help you grow as a designer and developer”. Lots of great tutorials and articles collected together. Inspiration:The design Inspiration – “The freshest and best quality design inspiration for you daily

Design flavr – “Daily design and visual art inspiration”ToolsA button Generator – One of the best (and easiest) button generators I have ever seen. Recommended.

Button maker by Adam Kalsey – This generates a tiny buy cute button. Very customizable.

BgPatterns – This tiled backgrounds designer allows you to create them in minutes.

Design (general)

>Bittbox - freebies, tutorials, vectors, Photoshop brushes, textures. Created by Jay Hilgert.

A list Apart - “For people who make websites“ “A List Apart Magazine explores the design, development, and meaning of web content, with a special focus on web standards and best practices”

Web designer depot – “Webdesigner Depot is an exciting new platform designed to explore different web and graphic design techniques, great examples and best practices.”

Web designer ledger – “The Web Design Ledger is a publication written by web designers for web designers. The primary purpose of this site is to act as a platform for sharing web design related knowledge and resources. Topics range from design inspiration to tips and tutorials and everything in between.”

This is only an example of my bookmarked design/blogger related websites. I am subscribed to more than twenty!


Anonymous said...

Is buckwheat really that good? I have once tasted a porridge made of buckwheat (my dad's ex-"girlfriend" had a coeliac disease and they made porridge of buckwheat because of that) and it wasn't a brilliant experience. I remember that I hated it. But yeah, it was like 5 years ago and at that time I was very picky. Should try buckwheat again. My mom has a coeliac disease too and if I have to cook it makes it a bit harder because I don't know many foods which would be totally gluten free. So I have thought it would be great to try something new as my mom has said I have to cook at least once a week from this autumn on.. haha. It seems to be this comment is totally pointless. Have fun in Russia and take lots of photos - I will reply to your e-mail as soon as I have time/remember. :)

Ianqui said...

More veganized versions of traditional Spanish dishes would be great! One problem with Spanish and Catalan food is that it so often contains meat...Have a fun vacation!

renae said...

I would love to see Spanish and Russian dishes!

I think your blog looks great. As for design tips, you may want to consider a separate blog, or maybe just a separate area for them because people who come for the recipes may not be interested in design. That said, I do some web stuff (I mostly use perl) and am horrible with design, so I would probably benefit from getting passive advice and you should probably ignore what I just said!

I've also never heard of anyone so enraptured of buckwheat - I'm going to have to try your recipe just due to your enthusiasm!

Did you get the email I sent you? If you're heading for Russia for a few weeks, I should wait to send you a package anyway, but whenever you're ready, respond to the email (or tell me to send another one if you didn't get it). Can't wait to see photos of Russia!

Anonymous said...

Necessity is the mother of invention! Nice job.

renae said...

Hi Ksenia,

I don't know why you didn't get my email, but here is mine: renae at ineluctable dot org. Enjoy St. Petersburg - I hope to see some photos!

Hannah said...

I'm somewhat buckwheat ambivalent- I would probably wouldn't choose it over other grains or flours if given the option, but I'm not opposed to trying recipes that call for it, or eating things already made with it. I like the sound of this recipe though, perhaps a good way to try it out without any distracting flavors.

Kim (@ Paper Apron) said...

You've talked me into a buckwheat treat. In the picture it almost looks like it would be cold with blended ice - and frothy, but I suppose it's just room temperature. I'll try it and let you know what I think. It seems so bizarre!

Now I'm going to surf the design links. Thanks for sharing!

betty said...

Beautiful site!Love the pictures and great information-Thanks,Betty

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Maya said...

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