Friday, September 19, 2008

Finding Ways of Finishing Foods Before They Go Funky Can Be Fun!

As we wind down this road of using what's already in the pantry, I feel compelled to confess that I just bought 25 pounds of spelt berries and 25 pounds of mung beans from our food cooperative. Put your eyebrows back down, I'll explain these somewhat unusual purchases.

I'll start with the spelt berries, they'll be used to make spelt flour, which I've been using more of lately. I read a great article about why it is more sustainable than wheat but now that I've gotten around to blogging on it, I can't find the article. Grrrrr! Anyway, it's cheaper to buy the berries than the ground flour. Plus it's slower to go rancid in berry form. I've used spelt in pancakes, muffins and quick breads with good results so far.

As for the mung beans, the nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. The end of the outdoor growing season in the northeast is in sight. That means it's time to start thinking about the indoor growing season, sprout season. Mung beans are definitely our favorite probably because they are so substantial in size compared to other sprouts. If you're curious about sprouting, click here to see how my efforts have gone.

I concocted a pretty good dinner the other night in an effort to use up the last of the barbeque sauce. Did you ever notice that after a certain point things like barbeque sauce and mustard just sit in the fridge and mock you whenever you open the door to fit something else in? It must be an end of season thing. Anyway, on to the recipe, if you can call this loosely thrown together list of ingredients a recipe.

I sauteed two chopped onions in a little olive oil. Once they were browned, I poured a little water in the pan to deglaze it. Next I added some cooked chickpeas, about the equivalent of two cans, give or take. I topped this with the leftover barbeque sauce. Then I filled the barbeque sauce bottle half way with water, shook the daylights out of it and poured this over the chickpeas. No sauce was going to waste in my house!

To my horror, there wasn't really enough sauce to cover the chickpeas adequately. Plus barbeque sauce sometimes has such a strong vinegar taste it makes me gag. Fortunately, a bottle of ketchup came to the rescue. A few squirts later, there was enough sauce and the sweetness of the ketchup took the edge off the barbeque sauce.

I served this over whole wheat couscous, which I've decided I hate. No good reason why, I just hate it. Oddly enough, everyone in the house hates it too. We all used to like it, I can't figure what happened. In any event, we've all agreed to finish what we already have on hand, which is thankfully not very much. As for the chickpea concoction, everyone really liked it.

We've been experimenting with cookie recipes too. I still say the easiest way to make a so so meal yummy is to follow it up with a good dessert. To that end we've made our favorite molasses cookies, Coconut Chocolate Chews from Simple Treats (although we actually used carob) and Fudgy Cocoa Mint cookies from Cooking with PETA. I've been tucking a few into lunch boxes as well but I'm still no Jennifer McCann.

The Fudgy Cocoa Mint cookies uses 2 1/2 cups of finely grated zucchini. How great is that? Of course I didn't have mint extract and my mint plant is upstate so I used the almond extract that I've had forever. They came out very moist and delicious. No hint of zucchini in the final product.

Finally, a yogurt experiment update. My first try of coconut milk yogurt, using the coconut milk recipe from How It All Vegan, got thicker but not nearly thick enough. I'll try one more time before calling it a bust. In the interim, I must find a recipe that uses coconut milk. Any suggestions?

One last thought, what does a highly fashionable teen do with a pair of much loved sweats that are now too short? If you're Leenie, you cut them a little longer than capri length (look at her left leg), slit the side up to capri length and tie the ends together (look at her right leg). Instant high fashion. BTW, do teenagers use the word capris anymore or are they called something else...

1 comment:

AnnMarie said...

I read that you can use coconut milk in any recipe calling for regular milk. (Except of course something like making yogurt.) I've been meaning to try it as I bought coconut milk once when I meant to get coconut cream and have never known what to do with it.I drink milk but rarely cook with it so haven't actually tried it yet. I think I heard it's good in pancakes.