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Chocolate Swirl Amaranth Breakfast Porridge

Photograph by Tami Ganeles-Weiser/The Weiser Kitchen

Who says super-healthy food can’t be super delicious? Nutrition-packed amaranth gets a flavor boost from a chocolate swirl made with honey, cocoa, and cinnamon and a burst of flavor and texture from dried mango and banana and toasted almonds.

Serves 4

For the chocolate swirl:
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt

For the porridge:
1½ cups water, plus more hot water as needed
¾ cup amaranth seeds
2 teaspoons coconut oil or non-dairy, non-hydrogenated margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup minced dried mango
¼ cup dehydrated banana, minced
1 cup toasted almond pieces (see Kitchen Tip below)

1) Make the chocolate swirl: Combine the honey, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.

2) Make the porridge: Combine the water and amaranth in a small saucepan set over medium heat, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the mixture is creamy. If the water is completely absorbed before the amaranth is cooked, add hot water as needed and continue to simmer until it is soft, but not falling apart.

3) Add the coconut oil or margarine and salt and stir well. Add the dried mango and bananas and stir to incorporate. Top with a generous drizzle of the chocolate swirl. Divide between serving bowls, garnish with the toasted almonds and serve immediately.

Kitchen Tip You can find toasted or roasted nuts in most supermarkets, but if you can’t, or if you prefer to roast your own, try this: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the nuts on it in a single layer and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, mixing the nuts with a long-handled spoon twice during roasting. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Tami Ganeles-Weiser is a food anthropologist, trained chef, recipe developer, writer and founder of TheWeiserKitchen.com.

Amaranth Alegría Candies

Photograph by Tami Ganeles-Weiser/The Weiser Kitchen

The Aztecs didn’t just grow and eat amaranth; they also used it in their religious practices. Today these candies are found all over Mexico. And yes, you can substitute an equal amount of toasted sesame seeds — it is delicious either way.

Makes 35 to 40 pieces

¾ cup amaranth seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
⅓ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup raisins
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey
2⅔ cups dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1) Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray and line it with parchment paper. Spray a spatula with a coating of nonstick vegetable oil spray and set aside.

2) Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the amaranth and toast, shaking the pan, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the some of the kernels pop. Transfer to a mixing bowl. (Some of the kernels will continue to pop.) Return the pan to the heat and when hot, add the sesame seeds and cook, shaking the pan for about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the amaranth. Repeat with the almonds, transfer them to the bowl with the amaranth and reserve the pan. Add the raisins to the amaranth mixture and stir well.

3) Return the pan to the heat, add the water, honey, brown sugar and vanilla and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup reaches the hard crack stage (see Kitchen Tip below) and a candy thermometer inserted into it reads 300° F to 310° F. Work carefully, as sugar at this temperature can cause painful burns.

4) Pour the candy over the amaranth mixture using the prepared spatula to fully coat it. Gently pour the mixture into the prepared sheet pan and using an offset spatula, spread out the mixture evenly to a thickness of ¼ to ½ inch. Sprinkle with salt.

5) When cool to the touch, use a very sharp knife to cut the candy into 1- by 1½-inch pieces or shards (or size of your choice), or break the sheet into pieces by hand. Allow to cool completely.

Kitchen Tip:

Making candy often requires the preparation of a sugar syrup. Sugar syrup goes through several stages as it cooks, its internal temperature rises, its water content evaporates and its sugar concentrates. The temperature of the syrup will determine its characteristics once you stop cooking it. Handle hot sugar carefully, as it can cause painful burns.

• Thread stage: 230° F to 235° F, the syrup is viscous and forms gooey threads when a bit is dropped into water.
• Soft-ball stage: 235° F to 240° F, the syrup forms a squishy ball when a bit is dropped in water.
• Firm-ball stage: 245° F to 250° F, the syrup forms a firm ball that can still be mashed when a bit is dropped in water.
• Hard-ball stage: 250° F to 265° F, the syrup forms a harder ball when a bit is dropped in water, though it is still somewhat malleable.
• Soft-crack stage: 270° F to 290° F, the syrup forms hard threads that will bend before they break when a bit is dropped in water.
• Hard-crack stage: 300° F to 310° F, the syrup forms hard, brittle threads when a bit is dropped in water.

Tami Ganeles-Weiser is a food anthropologist, trained chef, recipe developer, writer and founder of TheWeiserKitchen.com.

Sabra Recalls Hummus Over Listeria Fears

(Reuters) — Sabra voluntarily recalled 30,000 cases of its classic hummus nationwide over possible Listeria contamination, federal health officials and the company said on Wednesday.

The recall follows warnings from U.S. health officials over the weekend against eating any products from a Blue Bell Creameries’ Oklahoma ice cream plant, which has temporarily closed because of possible Listeria contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that a routine sample of Sabra hummus collected from a store last month tested positive for the Listeria monocytogenes. It added that there was no evidence the hummus caused anyone to become ill.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria. It primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and those with compromised immune systems and can lead to death.

Earlier this month, Kansas health officials said three people died between January 2014 and January 2015 after being sickened by Listeriosis at a hospital where Blue Bell products were served. They were in the hospital for other reasons.

It’s Baby Goat (Cheese) Season

Baby goats enjoy a moment of snuggling in the Adamah barnyard. Photograph by Meredith Cohen.

I don’t know many people who are immune to the cuteness of baby goats.

They are fluffy, and tiny, and gangly, and wobbly. They like to climb on top of things and then immediately leap off, limbs flying. They make hilarious noises, and will literally climb all over you if you let them. Vegans and omnivores, city folk and farmers alike, all seem to agree: Baby goats are the cutest.

Here at Adamah in Falls Village, Connecticut, excitement has turned to joy with the arrival of this year’s baby goats.

A newborn kid (baby goat) is an incredible thing to observe. As soon as it is born, its mother will begin to lick it clean until it is transformed from a gloopy mess into a tiny puff ball of cuteness. Then, within moments of arriving into the world, the kid will attempt to stand on its own for the first time (with lots of heart-breaking and adorable tumbles along the way).

Mexican Passover For a Cause

Toloache chef Julian Medina.

It’s a safe bet that you’ll be ready to dive back into the world of leavened bread on Sunday, but you might consider extending Passover through brunch. Because you’ve never had Passsover food like the stuff being served that morning at Chef Julian Medina’s Toloache Thompson in New York’s West Village.

Medina will be cooking up a post-Passover Mexican-Jewish meal to raise money for Living With Dignity, an Art Foundation initiative that provides mobility tools to elders. This weekend’s brunch is the follow-up to the organization’s first benefit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2013.

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