Jill Fergus

I began cooking as a child and feeding family and friends has always been my passion. My kitchen is a busy one. I love to experiment and embrace the kitchen successes along with the accidents. I love to cook and collaborate with friends. I am seasonally driven (I love the farmer's market!), avoid processed foods and focus on whole and organic (mostly plant-based, but not exclusively) choices. In my home, my family has a variety of eating preferences from plant-based, gluten free, refined sugar free to full on omnivore. My goal is to create dishes to please all, either as is or with minor adjustments to the recipe. Where did "Feed the Swimmers" come from? When my kids began swimming competitively and growing into young adults, I realized, even more, how important nutrition is to performance, growth and overall health and emotional well being. Everyone (including the coach during travel meets) would ask "what are you feeding the swimmers?" This has become my mantra whenever I'm in my kitchen cooking for family and the friends I love.

 

 

Kale and Brown Rice Gratin

Kale and Brown Rice Gratin

Kale and Brown Rice Gratin. My family has loved this one for years. It's a delicious way to add another vegetable to their plate and to convert all of the kale skeptics in your life (we all have a few)! This makes a great holiday side and satisfying main dish for the vegetarians at your table and can easily convert to vegan. This freezes beautifully and reheated leftovers are wonderful anytime of day. I also love using the leftovers (when there is some leftover) to stuff roasted squash, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes. It's always been important to me to feed my family a variety whole foods while keeping things crave worthy. This one can easily be “lightened” up. I regularly uses goat cheddar, but substitute your favorite! This dish does not disappoint!

To watch me prepare this recipe, please check out  my series “Fresh from the Markets” visit http://www.TheFeedfeed.com/tv for more episodes! Search feedtheswimmers.

 

RECIPE

Brown Rice and Kale Gratin

Makes one 9”x9” baking pan

Ingredients-

2 cups short grain brown rice

Lowfat milk (almond milk subs beautifully)- about 5 cups (plus 1/3 c later)

(I use a rice cooker and add 2 cups rice and milk to the mark as though cooking 3 cups. Be careful not to overfill your rice cooker)

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp nutmeg (can be 1/4)

1 Tbs veg stock powder concentrate

1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

3/4 lb good quality sharp (or extra sharp) cheddar- shredded/grated (reserve

1/4+ c for topping- you may substitute a vegan option)

1-2 bunches lacinato kale, cleaned, veins removed and chopped

Good olive oil (glug= ~2Tbs)

Squeeze of lemon

1/3 c good bread crumbs (not pre-seasoned)(feel free to substitute a gf option)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method-

1- Cook rice with milk, cayenne, nutmeg and mustard.

2- Preheat oven to 350F and brush baking dish with some of the olive oil.

3- When rice is finished (it should be very moist), and still very hot (work quickly), toss in a large bowl, season with s&p and combine with chopped kale (which will wilt), mix in grated cheese (which will melt), a “glug” of olive oil, squeeze of lemon and salt & pepper. If mixture is on the dry side, add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of the milk you are using.

4- Spread into casserole and distribute (do not press) so as to not let it get too dense.  If mixture still seems a little stiff and dry, add a few additional Tbs of milk- pouring it around the edges.

5- Sprinkle remaining cheese in top, followed by bread crumbs.

6- Bake at 350  for 30-45 minutes. Or, until top is golden brown and crispy.

Serve as a main dish, or hearty side. Leftovers can easily be reheated or frozen in portions.

 

Enjoy!

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