My dear friend JL, The author of the blog JL Goes Vegan recently started the "My Pantry Project". When I read the details of the challenge I knew I was in. It's pretty simple- create meals from your own pantry with a goal of trimming down what you have. If you are anything like me- you have A LOT.
As the "Executive Chef" of my own kitchen I often find myself buying ingredients for a specific
recipe idea. I may use them once, or sometimes, even though I have the best of intentions, never use at all.
In preparation for JL's challenge I took stock of my pantry. In doing so I learned a lot about myself. For one, I have so many types of flour it is not even funny (eleven to be exact). And I clearly overbuy when it comes to rice (eight varieties), something I admittedly do not cook often as my family are not big fans. I also cleared out some stuff that was expired (while not proud of it, I will admit I found an item from 2002!)
There are plenty of other things to get through, too- various beans (dried and canned), a variety of grains and a bunch of sugars, too. I did not inventory my spices specifically, but for the duration of my Pantry Challenge I have decided I will not buy any more dried herbs or spices. Instead, I will commit to using solely those in the kitchen drawer (yes I have a whole large drawer dedicated solely to spices and yes, there are a lot of those, too!
Clearly I have my work cut out for me. But, the reward should be some creative, delicious food, a reduced grocery bill and, hopefully a far more organized kitchen!
My first recipe creation has left me two cups of rice, two cups of black beans and three cups of packaged vegetable stock lighter. I love it! The results were good, too. The recipe made enough for me to enjoy a few meals while stocking some in my freezer for the cold, snowy Winter days I am anticipating.
Thanks JL for the gentle nudge. I am really excited about this challenge.
Do you have an overfilled pantry? Are you up for the challenge?
Mushroom, Rice and Black Bean Porridge*
3 carrots, diced
8 oz portabella mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup wild rice
1 cup brown rice
2 cups black beans (soaked overnight, quick soaked or canned)
1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
3 qts vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
1 dried guajillo chili, sliced open and seeds removed
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot over medium heat add the olive oil and carrot. Saute for a few minutes and then add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they release their liquid and it evaporates. Season with salt and pepper each time you add an ingredient. Add the garlic, black beans and rice and cook a minute or two. Add the Bragg's Liquid Aminos, the vegetable stock, thyme parsley and guajillo chili. Turn to low heat and simmer for an hour or until the beans and rice are tender. Note: since the dish has already been salted the beans may not soften as much as if no salt were added. You could wait to add the salt until the beans are tender. I prefer beans with a little bit of "chew" which is why I add the salt in the beginning).
*Much of the liquid will be absorbed by the rice and beans. If you prefer more of a soup to a porridge add some vegetable stock to create the consistency you prefer toward the end of the cooking process.