My kitchen today: What’s in your pantry?
I admit that I’m often suckered into buying interesting foods at the grocery store. Can’t seem to resist. So, now I have harissa (I had garlic harissa oil over ravioli in a restaurant), bulgur (lots of bulgur – had some, didn’t know it and bought more), dried mushrooms, garam masala, nori (Japanese dried seaweed) and three kinds of lentils.
During produce season I tend to just eat fresh vegetables without much cooking or preparation. It’s too hot to do a lot of cooking, and heavy foods simply don’t suit during the heat of the summer. But every once in awhile, especially on a rainy day, I like to get creative and spend some time in the kitchen.
I’m an avid cookbook reader, so sometimes I pull a cookbook down and turn to one of the myriad pieces of scrap paper I have sticking up, marking something that sounded interesting once while reading.
My other favorite thing to do is simply close my eyes, pick something from the pantry and figure out what to do with it. It doesn’t have to be something weird or unusual. Pulling out a can of black beans or a bag of walnuts can yield something yummy with a little thought.
If I don’t have a favorite recipe in my back pocket, I head to the internet. For example, this morning I put in the search word “bulgur”. Of course, one of the first hits was how to make basic bulgur – 2 c. water or broth to 1 c. bulgur, simmer 15 minutes. Pretty easy.
Once the basic recipe is made, the possibilities are endless, from salads to meatless burgers to lentil-bulger casseroles to stuffed peppers. Even if you don’t follow a recipe to the letter, looking at them can trigger your own imagination.
Bulgur is often combined often with chickpeas and lentils. I decided to put together flavors I love – beets, sweet potatoes and feta. Feta and bulgur are particularly good together. So, check out the suggestions for combining grains and vegetables in the Recipes section.