Millet Scallion Pancakes

Millet, along with farro, quinoa and wheatberries, has become the new trendy grain. Even Bon Appetit is featuring millet in a gluten-free pancake recipe. Truth be told, it took me years and years to eat millet again. It was THE FOOD that I ate daily during my 2 + years in the Peace Corps. It's not that I didn't like the flavor, it's just that eating the same food over and over again got old. Of course, my adoptive family in the village of Illakitan in Niger didn't have the luxury of "options". 

This blog post hits the tail end of Peace Corps week 2014. I'll take this opportunity to say that my life's path was shaped by my service and by the amazing people I met and shared meals with.

millet scallion pancakes

Millet Scallion Pancakes

Bon Appetit's dipping sauce recipe

Bon Appetit's dipping sauce recipe

Adapted from Bon Appetit, serves 8

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup millet, uncooked
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • ⅓ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced, divided, plus more for serving
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Cook millet in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender, 15–20 minutes; drain, shaking off as much water as possible. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, Sriracha, and ¼ of scallions in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Whisk eggs, sour cream, milk, cornstarch, sesame oil, and 1½ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Fold in millet and ¾ of scallions.

Working in 3 batches, heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add heaping spoonfuls of millet batter to skillet, press to ¼” thickness, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side; transfer pancakes to a paper towel–lined plate.

Sprinkle pancakes with more scallions and serve with reserved sauce. Pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven (170 F) for approximately 30 minutes before serving.

millet scallion pancakes

The first time I made these pancakes we enjoyed them as an appetizer, and they are great as a stand-alone. The second time, we had them as a side with stir-fried pork tenderloin, and they were just as good. They make a fantastic bed for Asian flavors.

Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites

What a stunner these little appetizers turned out to be. I've seen appetizers done with a spoonful of dip dolloped on top of a cucumber slice. They always seem too precarious to me; like the filling will more likely end up in your guest's lap than their mouth. The method in this recipe of cutting the cucumber slice for stability, then scooping out the middle to make a cup for the filling solved that problem. The fact that they're low carb, bright, interesting and flavorful will make them a go-to app for years to come. 

I didn't significantly change the recipe which I found over on  Nom Nom Paleo . They've got some gorgeous recipes, check them out.

I didn't significantly change the recipe which I found over on Nom Nom Paleo. They've got some gorgeous recipes, check them out.

Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites

Recipe adapted from Nom Nom Paleo, serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb, wild caught salmon 
  • 3 English cucumbers, peeled and cut crosswise into ¾-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use no-sugar added Duke's brand)
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, plus garnish
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet/dulce)
  • olive oil
  • salt
Spicy Mayonnaise

Spicy Mayonnaise

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F. On a parchment, or foil-lined sheet pan, place the salmon. Drizzle with olive oil, and season liberally with salt on both sides. Roast 18-20 minutes until salmon is cooked to medium doneness. Let rest for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, paprika and Tabasco. Flake the cooked salmon into the mayonnaise mixture, add the shallots, chives and gently combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to fill the cucumber cups.

No more than two hours before serving, prepare the cucumber cups. I did not have a melon baller but I found a rounded 1/4 teaspoon worked just as well. Be careful you don't go through the base of the cucumber.

Check the seasoning again, as I find the flavor sometimes dulls in the fridge. Add the salmon salad into the cups. I used two small spoons to do this. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.

Finished appetizers displayed on a "silver" tray.

Finished appetizers displayed on a "silver" tray.

Lactose-Free Cheese Crackers

Sounds funny doesn't it, lactose-free cheese crackers? A friend told me that the aged Cabot cheeses were naturally lactose free and my jaw dropped. Why weren't they shouting this fact from the rooftops? This recipe works for those who are lactose-intolerant, but not those with milk allergies. Crunchy, salty and cheesy, these are a great way to start a meal with a glass of bubbly. To me, they're like a cross between a Cheez-it and a cheese straw. 

lactose free cheese crackers

Lactose-Free Cheese Crackers

adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) block of aged Cabot Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup room temperature coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons lactose-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake

Directions

lactose free cheese crackers

Pulse the shredded cheddar, flour, coconut oil, salt, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and process about 10 seconds until dough forms a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add 1/2 tablespoon more of milk until dough forms a ball. You should need no more than 3 tablespoons total of milk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 1/8 inch thick. Using a dough scraper, pizza cutter, or knife cut the dough into squares or rectangles. Transfer shapes to parchment lined baking sheet, and prick surface with a fork. Bake 16-18 minutes until lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes on the sheet pan, then serve or place in airtight container for up to a week.

Cheese cracker ingredients

Cheese cracker ingredients

See? Cabot's cheese is lactose free naturally!

See? Cabot's cheese is lactose free naturally!