Every once in a while it’s nice to be reminded that the universe is working in your favor; even when it comes to something as seemingly insignificant as a fig.
And so it was on an early Saturday morning when I was preparing to head across town in pursuit of the not-so-common, common fig.
I had just made a similar trip the week before and was feeling a bit sheepish about the expense and the weekend departure from the family when the doorbell rang.
It was a neighbor who had never dropped by before. With a bag swinging from one hand and a smile on his face, he let me know that his fig tree was flush with fruit and would I, by any chance, have any use for fresh figs.
Even my husband, about as pragmatic as they come, couldn’t quite get over it.
My breakfasts have been remarkably consistent over the past decade or so. Sure, on the weekends I might vary outside the fold with some eggs, feta, coleslaw and apple cider vinegar but generally I’m an oatmeal for breakfast kind of gal.
I love the warmth and comfort it fills me with while supplying just the right amount of energy to get me through a workout without bogging me down. I often toss in nuts (walnut is a favorite) and seeds (ground flaxseed is my go-to) and some fresh berries or seasonal fruit. It may sound involved but really the whole affair takes about 15 minutes.
Lately I’ve been having fun experimenting with different textured whole grains including millet (not just for the birds!). Naturally gluten-free, millet is a versatile grain with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor — you can prepare it as you would rice and enjoy it as a side, toss it into salads and burgers or enjoy it as I’m doing today, in a warm cereal.
When it comes porridge, millet is prepared much the same as oatmeal by cooking it on the stove top in its whole form or by grinding it into a powder/flour for a creamier texture. I much prefer the whole form (pictured below).
While it’s different from oatmeal (more textured and lumpier – a bit like a rice pudding) the cooked ground millet by contrast, is pasty — almost gag-inducingly so. Soft is good, wallpaper pasty not so much. But it’s all a matter of personal preference so forget what I think and try it out to see what you like!
More information on the nutrient profile of millet and preparation tips in the Notes section below.
- ½ cup whole grain millet (I used Eden organic yellow millet), whole or ground as preferred
- 1 cup almond milk or milk beverage of choice
- ¾ cup water
- The seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp honey (I used The Spartan Table)
- 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
- 6 fresh figs, chopped into small pieces or segmented however you wish
- Other optional toppings: toasted shaved coconut, dried cranberry or apricot.
- Place milk and water in a saucepan on the stove.
- Add dry millet and vanilla bean seeds (or extract), mixing to combine with liquids, and turning heat up to medium.
- Bring liquid just to the boiling point, stir, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot - allowing the cereal to simmer for about 12-15 minutes or until most of the liquid has soaked into the grain. Remove from heat.
- Add honey and more liquid to the cooked millet, as desired.
- Divide millet porridge between two bowls, adding more milk if desired and topping each bowl with one Tbsp of hemp seed, fresh fig (or fruit of choice) and any other toppings of choice.
Grinding: if you would like to try grinding the millet prior to cooking (I know, I really sold it in the post), you can do so by using a coffee grinder or other small grinder. The end product will resemble flour.
Toasting: whether you decide to boil the whole millet or work from ground, toasting the millet seeds prior can add a delicious punch of nutty, roasted flavor.
Vanilla Bean: don't be intimidated by vanilla beans if you haven't worked with them before. My favorite method is to toss a bean in a small bowl, cover it with boiling water and allow it to soften for a minute. Carefully remove the bean, snip one of the ends with a knife and then run the flat side of your knife along the full length of the bean and watch the glorious black paste emerge (aka: VB seeds). Scoop up the seeds and toss them into the recipe.