What to do with: June Essentials

What to do with: June Essentials

Ben @ Ben to Table

We’ve got another batch of heirloom, small-producer, and completely delicious pantry staples this month, with a distinctly American flair (lots of ingredients indigenous to the America).

Here’s what’s in the box:

  *  Mayacoba Beans (Rancho Gordo)
  *  Single-origin White Quinoa (Simpli)
  *  Sweet Potato Heritage Camote Flour (Zócalo Gourmet)
  *  Sea Island Blue Grits (Geechie Boy Mill)
  *  Organic Foglie D’Ulivo (Pasta di Liguria)
  *  Sourdough and Sea Salt (Pump Street Chocolate)         

The Mayacobas can be cooked according to my "How to Cook: Beans" post. 

The Sea Island Blue Grits can be cooked according to instructions in my "How to Cook: Grits" post.


Single-origin White Quinoa (Simpli)

Quinoa large

Simpli sources delicious, single-origin ingredients straight from producers to ensure a high-quality supply chain that protects the producers, their communities, and their products.

This white quinoa cooks up fluffy with minimal effort. Quinoa can be cooked simply in water with a little salt; try with double the water at first, and after 12 minutes or so of simmering, check for doneness every couple minutes.

Sweet Potato Heritage Camote Flour (Zócalo Gourmet)

Sweet Potato Heritage Camote Flour

This one’s a bit off our normal path – have fun with it! Sweet potatoes originated in and around Peru, and this flour provides a bunch of different options. Gluten free, you can find lots of recipes online for things like sweet potato muffins, pancakes, and breads (of the banana/carrot bread genre of bread, for the most part).

You can also use it as a thickener in stew or sauce, as a “breading” for something you’re going to fry, or as the flour base for fritters, which has been Ben’s preferred use. Just mix this in instead of regular flour, and you’ll wind up with a much more interesting flavor profile.

For the fritters, pictured below, I blended a bunch of blanched greens, combined with grated carrots and green onions, then added the camote flour until it was a good consistency for frying. Then I cooked them on a griddle, and served over greens, topped with sour cream and some pickles.


Sea Island Blue Grits (Geechie Boy Mill)

Sea Island Blue Grits

These heirloom Blue Grits cook up beautifully – and taste amazing even when cooked simply. You can follow the instructions on the bag for stovetop cooking, or I usually make them in the Instant Pot, so no stirring is necessary. Just add a bit of oil, add your grits and sautée briefly, then add water and some salt, cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, natural release for 15, then stir and serve. Use a ratio of 1:3, grits:water for this method. You can get fancier if you want (more flavorful fats, use milk or half & half for some cooking liquid, stir in cheese at the end), but these really don’t need anything else.

Organic Foglie D’Ulivo (Pasta di Liguria)   

Pasta Olive Leaf

Beautiful, organic, and delicious, this pasta is crafted in Liguria by a family company that’s been at it for more than 30 years. Infused with spinach, these olive-leaf shapes are perfect with just a simple “sauce” of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and some chili, or tossed simply with olive oil, parm, salt and pepper.

Mayacoba Beans (Rancho Gordo)

Mayacoba Beans

Originally from Peru, and also known as Canario or Peruano, these make an excellent refried bean, or a thin-skinned but meaty pot bean. You can use them as a substitute for great northern or Cannelini beans, too.

Sourdough and Sea Salt (Pump Street Chocolate)

Handmade in Suffolk, UK, from Ecuadorian chocolate, sourdough bread crumbs, and sea salt, this will be a great treat to follow up on any number of meals.



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