What to do with: October Essentials

What to do with: October Essentials

Ben @ Ben to Table

Hooray for more pantry essentials!

Read on for more about this month’s mix of heirloom, small-producer, and completely delicious pantry staples. And we return to chocolate, with a delightful bar from Pump Street. Many of these items coordinate with the items in the Taste of Persia box, but they also stand perfectly well on their own.

Here's what's in the box:

  *  Cranberry Beans (Rancho Gordo)
  *  Green Lentils
(Rancho Gordo)
  *  Gigli Pasta
(La Bella Angiolina)
  *  Naturally Smoked Organic Rice (Fior di Maiella)
  *  White Sonora Berries (Hayden Flour Mills)         
  *  Oat Milk Chocolate (Pump Street Chocolates)

The Cranberry Beans can be cooked according to my "How to Cook: Beans" post. The Lentils can follow the same process, but only need 25 minutes or so.

The White Sonora Berries and Smoked Organic Rice can be cooked according to instructions in my "How to Cook: Grains" post (but you may want to do something different - read on!).

Please tag @Ben2Table on Instagram or Facebook with anything you make! We’d love to help share it with the world.

Cranberry Beans (Rancho Gordo)

Rancho Gordo Cranberry Beans

Soft and dense with a velvety texture, these beans cook up quickly (they only took 90 minutes in the oven at 250, unsoaked, after a 5 minute boil), and they do especially well in soups, casserole, or as baked beans.

They’re also the traditional bean for the Persian stew Ghormeh Sabzi, with a plethora of herbs, dried lime, and a protein. The New Persian Kitchen has a great version with turmeric-roasted tofu in lieu of the more-traditional lamb (and cranberry beans are actually more traditional, just less common for inclusion in a cookbook).

Green Lentils (Rancho Gordo)

 Rancho Gordo Green Lentils

These French-style lentils, grown in Napa, are very similar to Puy lentils. They hold their shape well for salads and work well for soup. They’re also frequently seen in Persian recipes, and go well with the tart flavors of the cuisine.

Check out the simple salad pictured below -- just tossed the lentils with a simple vinaigrette and some chopped parsley.

Lentil Salad

Gigli Pasta (La Bella Angiolina)

 Gigli pasta

Made with pride in Liguria, Italy, this ruffled pasta shape grips sauce very well and tastes great.

Quick idea: Sauté some ground meat (real or fake!) with onions, peppers, seasonings of your choice, a hearty green like kale or collards, tomatoes, and some chili pepper, while you bring your water to boil and cook the pasta. Transfer the pasta into the pot with your sauteeing ingredients, add some shaved pecorino, olive oil, and a squeeze or lemon or drizzle of vinegar or pomegranate molasses. Salt to taste and serve!

 Gigli Pasta With Meat and Veggies

Naturally Smoked Organic Rice (Fior di Maiella)

Smoked Rice

Slow-smoking over Abruzzese beech wood lends this long-grain rice a wonderful smoky aroma. This rice is perfect for a Persian Tahdig or saffron & barberry rice, or simply use in place of conventional rice when a warmer flavor is called for.

My daughter calls this "beef rice," even when I just cook it in water, because of the flavor from the smoke.

White Sonora Berries (Hayden Flour Mills)                 

White Sonora Berries

White Sonora Wheat is a heritage variety, grown in the southwest since the 1700’s. This delicious wheat is also an ingredient recognized in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. The berries can be treated like a normal grain, and are perfect for a grain bowl, or you can top with yogurt and honey for breakfast!

One trick: substitute some apple cider for your cooking liquid, and reap the benefits in flavor!

Oat Milk Chocolate (Pump Street Chocolates)

Pump Street Oat Milk

We love Pump Street chocolates, and are excited for you to try this dairy-free (vegan) milk chocolate, featuring Scottish oats. Lovely way to finish off a meal!

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