Pantry purging

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m on a mission.

In the year I’ve been living at home post-college [which will hopefully be ending soon] and since I’ve been on a cooking rampage trying out new recipes and ingredients- I’ve bought grains, sauces, noodles, frozen food, CHEESE….and our kitchen is starting to overflow. Recently I polished off various cheeses and grains, but I wont settle until they’re all gone!  I hate thinking I wasted money.  My next victims? Pearl barley, bulgur, and lentils.

-Victim #1: Pearl Barley

Sorry bud, I love you [really] but you’ve got to go.  I know my parent’s wont use you when I leave so it’s up to me to put you to good use.

Seriously folks- pearl barley is up there on my list of favorite grains.  It’s right next to quinoa for it’s health benefits with loads of protein and fiber, plus it’s flavor is way more complex than regular ole white rice with it’s chewy texture and nutty taste.  You should try it.

I used the last of our Bob’s Red Mill on a risotto recipe [great idea to substitute pearl barley for arborio rice in risottos] from Heidi Swanson’s blog.  I loved it.  I served it as a main dish, but it would hold it’s own as a side dish as well.  Because I didn’t have enough lemon juice & zest I added a little meyer lemon peel [this purchase was totally my mom’s idea- not my fault!] which helped to bring out the lemon flavor that it otherwise would have been lacking.

I alternated cups of liquid during the cooking process between water and chicken stock, and ended up using about 5 1/2 cups all-together.  I also decided to use half spinach, half arugula for the greens and I think it was almost too bitter with all the lemon, arugula, and pine nuts.  Next time I’ll probably just use spinach <shrug>

I saved a bit of what was leftover for my lunch, and I think it was even more delicious the next day.  I didn’t re-heat it and I actually found it pretty refreshing- the cold grains, the lemony flavor.  Perfect leftovers.

-Victim #2: Lentils

Wow, it’s been a while since I used you- pretty sure I bought this bag in my senior year of college…luckily beans don’t go bad!!  I had just enough lentils for half of this recipe from the Yellow House so I went for it, and oh-em-gee am I glad I did!

This is the second recipe I’ve tried from Sarah’s blog, and the second one I’ve fallen in love with.  It almost makes me want to buy more lentils so I can make it again…but that would be counter productive.  We do have some dried black beans and kidney beans in the pantry- maybe they would serve as a good substitute??

Aren’t they cute!? I threw in some cherry tomatoes because my mother got a little over-zealous at the Amish market and bought: a 10lb flat of turkish orange eggplants, 6 pints cherry/grape tomatoes, and a flat of mixed [orange, purple etc.] tomatoes….they were cheap though.

This is definitely better than when she bought bell peppers and onions in MASS quantities from the amish auction…we were eating frozen peppers/onions for over a year…I’m not joking…

I somehow managed to not add any olive oil, but I didn’t really miss it.  To zest it up a bit I squeezed in fresh lemon juice.  The herbs really shined through, and they combined well with the nutty bulgur and lentils.  As with the last recipe- this was even better on day 2. Am I starting to convert any of you leftover non-believers!!??

I wasn’t quite able to polish off our bulgur so I think I may be giving this recipe another go with the other dried beans we have in the pantry- hopefully it’ll turn out just as yummy.


4 thoughts on “Pantry purging

  1. I knowww—so good, right? For something so simple. I’m not sure kidney/black beans would be the same, but you could absolutely do the same sort of pantry- and refrigerator-cleaning, cool salad with them.
    It makes me very happy to hear about other people trying The Yellow House recipes; thanks for the shout-out!

    • Hmm yeah, you’re right- the beans would probably be a little dense compared to the lentils for this recipe. Sounds like I’ll be making a random concoction here soon!
      And thank YOU for the recipe inspirations!

  2. Pingback: Kale cobbler- it’s better than it looks | drink. eat. play. repeat.

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