In the Pantry - Beans, Legumes, Grains, Flours, Pastas and Nuts
One of my faithful readers, Anne, suggested that I do a pantry post. This is an excerpt from what she wrote:
Here are the specifics of what I need to know about stocking the pantry: basic pantry items (anything you'd need to bake and cook basic meals/breads, etc), how much of each item to keep on hand depending on your household size, where is the best place to purchase it based upon quality or price; refrigerator/freezer items that should be kept on hand such as vegetables (in season), sauces, eggs, meats, cheeses (I have thrown out so many silly sauces that are packed with sugar and preservatives that I need never have purchased!); maybe even a list of basic kitchen necessities (some of my friends don't know what a pastry cutter is). It would be super cool if you tied your recipes to this list and if it called for an ingredient not in your cupboard it would be on a "shopping list". That's what keeps me away from most recipes - concern that I won't have half of the items called for and have to go to the grocery store a million times!
So, starting today I will be posting what I keep in my pantry. This information will be in a post titled "In the Pantry" and there will be more than one. I see this as ongoing (till it is finished anyway). Keep in mind that these are my pantry items and that you can certainly vary the items however you want. On this post I will cover beans, legumes, grains, flours, pastas, rice and nuts.
My basic pantry:
Beans, legumes, grains, flours, pastas, rice and nuts (always buy these organic):
If you buy the above items out of bulk bins (best price), get them from a store where the turnover for the bins is good and steady, such as Whole Foods (these items do go rancid when exposed to air, heat and light for long periods of time).
dried beans - pinto beans (about 2 lbs.);
canned beans - red kidney, black (1 can each of Trader Joe's organic);
frozen beans - pintos; I always make more than needed (go here for a recipe for great tasting pinto beans) and freeze what we do not eat in labeled plastic quart containers (Trader Joe's organic whole milk yogurt containers work great).
dried legumes - split peas (get Split Pea Soup recipe here), lentils and some kind of multiple legume-bean soup combo, all in 1 lb. packages.
grains - high-protein hard white wheat berries (I buy a 25-pound bag from my food co-op whenever I need to replenish). I grind as much grain as I need for immediate use. I also stock whole rolled oats for Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding - usually about 6-12 cups since one recipe calls for 6 cups.
flours - King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour (5-lb. bag from Trader Joe's). I use this for dredging and occasionally for thickening (I do not bake with it); arrowroot for thickening (5 lb. bag from my co-op).
pastas - I only buy Tinkyada and Trader Joe's brands of brown rice pasta. No one in my family, including myself has ever cared for whole wheat pasta (yuk!). Brown rice pasta tastes so much better and does not contain the phytic acid that whole wheat pasta does. (To learn about phytic acid in food, click here). I stock fettuccine, elbows, (1 -lb. packages, both Tinkyada from Whole Foods), penne and spaghetti (1-lb. packages, both from Trader Joe's).
rice - I am very particular about rice. I love organic brown jasmine rice and find it at Whole Foods in the bulk bins. I usually buy about 2 lbs. at a time. Click here for Soft and Savory Brown Rice recipe.
nuts - I buy nuts at Costco in bulk - raw walnuts and pecans. I used to buy raw almonds there but now that the government has mandated pasteurization for almonds, I haven't really figured out where to get them at a price I can afford. So for now I am not stocking them. I soak all the nuts I buy in a salt-water solution and then slow roast them in my dehydrator. They are then stored in zipper baggies in the freezer. You can find the recipe here for soaking and drying nuts.That's it for now. Next pantry post will be on breads, cereals and more. Thank you, Anne, for this suggestion!