What to do with: September Essentials

What to do with: September Essentials

Ben @ Ben to Table

September brings us another delicious month of pantry staples -- read on for more about each and ideas for how to make the most of them! The September Taste the World box is an exploration of Sichuan cuisine: The rice, described below, relates most closely, but the couscous and even the black beans can also be complementary, too (and Sichuan cooking is no stranger to noodles -- though not necessarily Italian discs!).

Here's what's in the box:

  *  Riso Nero Integrale (Gli Aironi)
  *  Midnight Black Beans (Rancho Gordo)
  *  Ayacote Morado Beans (Rancho Gordo)
  *  Organic Croxetti Pasta (Pasta di Liguria)
  *  Organic Farro Couscous (La Specialità di Maja)   
  *  Seedless Blackberry Rosemary Jam (Eat This Yum)

The Ayacote Morados and Black Beans can be cooked according to my "How to Cook: Beans" post. 

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


Riso Nero Integrale (Gli Aironi)

Riso Nero Integrale

This black Italian rice provides a lovely variation from the usual, plays very well with the Sichuan ingredients if you’re getting them, and otherwise works very well anywhere a sturdy rice with a lot of flavor is called for.

I made a great Sichuan Crab Fried Rice with leftovers of this -- it holds up very well in the wok after an overnight in the fridge (once cooked). I based it loosely on this recipe, though I used crab, didn't use the ham, added doubanjiang paste in the base along with the yacai, and also included a bunch of chinese broccoli for more veg.

Midnight Black Beans (Rancho Gordo)

Rancho Gordo Black Beans

A true classic -- and the very first Rancho Gordo beans I ever cooked. These black turtle beans are super-versatile, going from soups, to salads, refried, made into a dip, or just about anything else you can imagine.

Please do *not* soak these – they’re nice and fresh, should cook quickly enough, and soaking will just dilute the color and the broth you wind up with.  

Ayacote Morado Beans (Rancho Gordo)

Rancho Gordo Ayacote Morado Beans

These Ayacote Morados are part of the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc project, working together to help small farmers and producers continue to grow their indigenous products in Mexico, despite international trade policies that discourage genetic diversity and local food traditions.

Big and beefy, these beans will get nice and creamy if you give them enough time on a slow simmer with aromatics, and is perfect for braises, soups, and stews.

Organic Croxetti Pasta (Pasta di Liguria)

Croxetti Pasta

Hand-crafted in Liguria, the Croxetti is an ancient shape (dating back to the 14th century) stamped with a unique design on each pasta “disc.” Made from organic durum wheat, Croxetti work especially well with lots of sauce – don’t go light here.

Organic Farro Couscous (La Specialità di Maja)    

Farro Couscous     

Made in Ferrara, Italy, this farro-based couscous cooks up very quickly (just 5 minutes once your water boils!) and works as the base of a salad, under a stew, or simply as a tasty side dish.

Just add one cup boiling water to one cup dried couscous, some good salt, stir, cover, wait for five minutes, fluff with a fork, and go from there.

Seedless Blackberry Rosemary Jam (Eat This Yum)

Blackberry Jam

This is exactly what it says on the label – delicious, seedless blackberry jam with a hint of rosemary that allows it to cross the sweet/savory divide; at home with peanut butter, on a cheese tray, or as a glaze.

If you're a Ben to Table box subscriber, you can check out all you need to know about your Sichuan ingredients here: https://bentotable.com/blogs/news/what-to-do-with-taste-of-suchuan-box

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