29 October 2009

Midweek Over, time for weekend

As soon as Puppy got home with the CSA share, I decided to cook everything up the next day itself, because I've seen far too many veg go the way of the dodo, because I took too bloody long to get to them. This is good, because nothing spoiled. This is bad, because I now have 10 lbs of potatoes, some onions, 1/4 of a cabbage (which is what was left after making piles of cabbage soup, which is still making my tummy happy) and spices. This means that the next couple of days will be a bit ... interesting, unless I make a grocery store order, which would mean staying home until they come in with it. And what would I get from the store anyway? More cabbage, more onions, more potatoes. I think the cabbage and potatoes in my fridge don't really need the company.
So this means that I'll need to get a little creative. Fortunately for myself, I've kept my pantry rather well stocked. I've got various tinned and dried beans, noodles (thin and thick), pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, rotelle), rice (sushi, basmati, long grain), and of course, all the spices I'd need to cook all those things up.
Since we have been eating fairly healthy, I can go with something a little junk food-y. Enter beans and pasta. The tomatoes aren't strictly necessary, but I think they're nice, all the same.
The thing about beans and rice is that they're delicious, nutritious, and filling, but they can get monotonous, unless you've got a nice variety of vegetables (raw and cooked) to accompany. Frankly, I don't think that my potatoes and onions are going to do much for me on that account. However, if I put them on pasta, they do tend to feel like a break from the norm, and it's a nice enough change of pace that I can get away with (essentially) not very much else, since Puppy and I are both fiends about pasta.
We eat rice (literally) every single day, and it's our usual food. Pasta is a fair bit more expensive than rice, so I tend not to buy it very frequently, and when it comes on sale, I tend to go a little nuts, and buy like 10 or 15 boxes. This means that if it were left to us, said 10 or 15 boxes would be gone quite neatly in 2 or 3 weeks. And then it'd mean no pasta again until the stuff comes on sale. This is why I tend to get a fair bit, but stretch it out a little. Maybe over the course of two or three months.
So. What I do is that I start off as if I were making a very sturdy pot of beans. I boil them up in the slow cooker, stove, or pressure cooker (depending on whether or not I've soaked them), and drain off the cooking liquid. I rinse them off to remove all vestiges of cooking liquid. Instead of cooking them like a soup or a stew, I tend to do the dry roasting technique, like I've got in the book (dry roasted garbanzo beans). Essentially, you start off with popping of spices (I like cumin and coriander), add a touch of aromatics (garlic, onions, whatever), and then toss in the drained and rinsed cooked beans. I cook it off until the spices have melded nicely.
I tend to be a little generous with the oil, because I find that the pasta likes that little extra bit of oil. Then, I toss through some roughly diced tomatoes, and cook them with the beans until they're wilted and release a bit of a gravy from their juices. It's quite a savoury smell coming up from the pot at this point. To finish, I throw in some basil and parsley, and a bit of salt to taste. I toss it through with my short cooked pasta (rotelle, farfalle, macaroni, what have you), and throw in a splash of lemon if it needs it. You could serve it with some crusty bread and a green salad, but I don't because this is the sort of thing I make when I don't have the vegetables I need for greens, salad, or much of anything else.
If I did, I'd have made beans and rice.