Mark Bittman's breakfast pilaf, spiked guacamole, more

Food writer and chef Mark Bittman prepares five tasty dishes that are good for you too. Here, he makes sweet and savory breakfast pilaf, creamed mushrooms with toast, spiked guacamole, vegan "creamsicles" and carrot candy.

Breakfast pilaf, sweet or savory
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
    • 1 1⁄3 cups any long- or short-grain brown rice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 3 cups fruit, chopped if necessary
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put the oil in a large, deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat. When it's hot, add the rice. Cook, stirring, until the kernels are glossy, completely coated with oil, and have started to color, 3 to 5 minutes.2. Add a pinch of salt and the spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1¾ cups water, the syrup, and half of the fruit: stir once or twice, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently and cover the pan.3. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the rice. Uncover, stir in the remaining fruit and half of the mint, if you're using it. Replace the lid, and remove from the heat. Let the pilaf rest for at least 5 or up to 20 minutes.Taste and adjust the seasoning. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve, topped with the remaining mint.

Serving Directions:

Variations:Savory breakfast pilaf with soy sauce and cherry tomatoes (Don't knock it 'til you try it!) Skip the spices and sugar. Substitute halved cherry tomatoes for the fruit, and chives or cilantro for the mint. Stir in 1 tablespoon soy sauce along with the liquid in Step 2 and add half of the cherry tomatoes. Continue with the recipe, stirring in the rest of the tomatoes and chives in Step 3. Pass more soy sauce at the table for drizzling.Hot-and -sweet breakfast pilaf Skip the sugar. Substitute 1 tablespoon dried chiles or 1 chopped fresh hot chile (like jalapeño or serrano) for the spices and add 1 chopped bell pepper and 1 chopped yellow onion along with the rice in Step 1.

Tips:

Nutritional Info (with mixed fruit):Calories: 343  Cholesterol: 0mg  Fat: 6g  Saturated Fat: 1g  Protein: 6g  Carbohydrates: 68g  Sodium: 255mg  Fiber: 7g  Trans Fat: 0g  Sugars: 13g

Creamed mushrooms on toast
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, stemmed, if necessary, and sliced
    • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    • Black pepper to taste
    • 2 cups cooked or canned white beans, drained
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, or
    • 1 teaspoon dried
    • Whole-grain toast, for serving
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
    • Black pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the mushrooms, sprinkle with the salt and some pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid, become tender, and the pan is beginning to dry out again, 10 to 15 minutes.2. Meanwhile, puree the cooked beans in a food processor or blender with ½ cup water and let the machine run until the mixture is smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides and puree again. The mixture should thickly coat the back of a spoon. If not, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.3. Add the garlic and thyme to the mushrooms along with ¼ cup water. Let the liquid bubble and evaporate for 1 minute, stirring the bottom of the pan to scrape up any browned bits, then add the bean mixture.4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes thick and saucy; add a few drops more water if it starts to stick to the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve on one or two slices of toast, garnished with the parsley.

Tips:

Nutritional Info (with 1 slice whole wheat toast):Calories: 367  Cholesterol: 0mg  Fat: 11g  Saturated Fat: 2g  Protein: 17g  Carbohydrates: 56g  Sodium: 875mg  Fiber: 10g  Trans Fat: 0g  Sugars: 5g

Spiked guacamole
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • Juice and zest of 1 lime
    • 1 tomato, chopped
    • 1 scallion, chopped
    • 5 or 6 radishes, chopped
    • 1 cup shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
    • 1 fresh hot chile (like jalapeño), stemmed, seeded, and minced
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    • Black pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Mash the avocado in a large bowl until it's as smooth or chunky as you like. Stir in the remaining ingredients; taste and adjust the seasoning. Eat immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a day. (After an hour or so it will start to darken a bit, but will still be fine to eat.)Double green guacamole: Puree the avocado with 4 cups chopped steamed asparagus in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and serve as directed in the headnote.

Tips:

Nutritional Info (for the guacamole alone):Calories: 104.36  Cholesterol: 0mg  Fat: 7.6g  Saturated Fat: 1g  Protein: 2g  Carbohydrates: 9.9g  Sodium: 497mg  Fiber: 5.6g  Trans Fat: 0g  Sugars: 2.4g

Vegan "creamsicles"
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2/3 cup soft silken tofu
    • 1 1/3 cups fresh orange juice
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved, 1 or 2 minutes.2. Pour the mixture into plastic molds for making frozen pops, or if you don't have them, use paper cups; transfer them to the freezer. If you use cups, wait about 1 hour, then insert a wooden frozen-pop stick into each cup; it should stand upright. Continue freezing until the snacks are completely solid, another 2 or more hours. To release, run the mold under cool water for a few seconds to loosen them (or peel off the paper cup).

Tips:

Nutritional Info:Calories: 93  Cholesterol: 0mg  Fat: 1g  Saturated Fat: 0g  Protein: 3g  Carbohydrates: 17g  Sodium: 3mg  Fiber: 0g  Trans Fat: 0g  Sugars: 15g

Carrot candy
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 8 medium carrots (about 1 pound)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Peel the carrots and cut them into 1/8-inch coins. Toss them with the olive oil and salt, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until slightly shriveled, dehydrated, and sweet but still soft and chewy. You might have to move them or the pan around to ensure they don't burn or get too crisp.2. Start testing the carrots after about 2 hours, and remove them from the oven when they're as chewy or crisp as you like, another 30 to 60 minutes. Cool thoroughly before storing in an airtight container.

Tips:

Nutritional Info (about 2 carrots):Calories: 58  Cholesterol: 0mg  Fat: 4g  Saturated Fat: 1g  Protein: 1g  Carbohydrates: 6g  Sodium: 284mg  Fiber: 2g  Trans Fat: 0g  Sugars: 3g

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