Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cleaning out the Pantry

I've been trying to get better about using the ingredients in my pantry.  I really have.  When I rummaged through them the other day I came across some refried black beans and garlic salsa that I pulled out and set on my counter to use.  A few days later I used them, along with some sauteed onions, zucchini and summer squash from my CSA to make delicious tacos for dinner!

Made even better by homemade spelt tortillas!  (Spelt flour being another thing I was apparently hoarding for a rainy day).   A fun project, these were soft and tasty, albeit a little tough to work with in my warm, humid apartment.  Some (ok, a lot of) extra flour and a little perseverance was all that was needed ;) 

I also uncovered a little bit of Israeli couscous from who knows when ;)  Really, I don't want to know.  When an eggplant arrived in my CSA I knew just what to make!

Don't let my sub-par photo deter you (I was exhausted and couldn't bring myself to get out my light box), the warm spices and creamy roasted eggplant totally won me over.  

Israeli Couscous w/Roasted Eggplant
slightly adapted from bon appetit
serves 2

This could be served as a side, or bulked up with some greens and chickpeas to serve as a vegetarian main dish.  Feel free to toast your own cumin seeds and grind them fresh as the original recipe suggests.  I was short on time, so opted to take the easy way out.

1- 1lb eggplant, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2c israeli couscous
2-3T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1T white balsamic vinegar
1t ground cumin
3/8t ground cinnamon
2T finely chopped shallot
2T golden raisins
4 cubes of fresh frozen cilantro (found at Trader Joe's, could also use 1-2T fresh chopped)

Preheat oven to 450deg.

In a bowl or on a baking sheet, add 1 1/2T olive oil, salt and pepper to the eggplant.  Toss to coat and then roast until tender and golden, 20-40min.  (Mine were done rather quickly, they may have been on the smaller side)

Meanwhile bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Cook Israeli couscous in salted, boiling water until just tender, a little over 5min.  Drain and then rinse with cold water.

After the couscous and eggplant are cooked, prepare the dressing.  In a medium bowl, add vinegar, 1-2T olive oil, cinnamon and cumin.  Whisk well, then add in onion and season with salt and pepper.  Once cooled to RT, add couscous, eggplant, raisins and cilantro.  Fold together, taste and adjust seasonings.

CSA items used:  4
Pantry items used: 6

I might have a ways to go, but I'm making progress!!

Do you have a tendency to stock up on ingredients you use normally or have a small pantry and have to pick up everything you need each week?


Erica said...

I have a few items in my pantry that must be used soon! Homemade tortillas/ SO awesome

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Cleaning out the pantry is something I really need to do too! I love that you made tortillas!! Moo shu pancakes is as close as I've come, and it's a process!

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living said...

Our kitchen doesn't have the room to allow for stocking of too many ingredients, but it seems like I always have cans of beans hanging around.

I love Israeli couscous, but have never cooked it before (I have no good reason why). This dish sounds great! I didn't do a good enough job of eating eggplant this summer - I was too hooked on corn and zucchini ;).

Oh and p.s. the word verification on the screen right now is "focker". Hahaha.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I definitely spent some time cleaning out our pantry before we moved this summer. It is nice to move into a new place and really know what is in your pantry!

Elizabeth said...

Of course you made homemade spelt tortillas. They look awesome.

Cara said...

I remember seeing that Israeli couscous salad with the eggplant and cinnamon in BA earlier this summer, thinking I was going to make it ASAP, and never getting around to it... oops! I need to clean out my pantry, as well as my recipe bookmarks...

Kelly said...

My pantry is a little out of control as well. I've definitely been trying to eat through mine as i am downsizing my apt and definitely won't have the same room to hoard that I used to.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I definitely stock up on my basics! But I also am trying to be good at cleaning out the pantry and have eaten some pretty random meals hehe

Delicious Dishings said...

I am so bad about using up what's in my pantry. That couscous looks great!

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Yes - I suspect I need to do a pantry clean out too lol

Simply Life said...

I just got 2 eggplants in my CSA and was wondering what to do with them- thnaks!

Joanne said...

Can you come and clean out my pantry? Pretty please? I have SO MUCH SPELT FLOUR to be used!

I've made that bon appetit good!

Reeni said...

I love Israeli couscous - your creation looks crazy good! I just wrote about my pantry too - I stock up like I'm going to be snowed in all winter.

Jess said...

Oh wow, your tortillas look so good!

Anonymous said...

I think you have made us all aware of the wondrous concoctions we can make if we only would clean out the pantry. I, for one, thank you.

Miz said...

each day.
errr week.

I totally mean week :)

Biz said...

I plan on doing that this weekend Shannon - I have so much stuff yet I buy more every weekend!

Time to get creative, and now I want to make homemade tortillas!

I am making ciabatta right now - I love homemade bread!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

I just looked at our budget and we are already $150 over on groceries for the month. I already went to the farmers market today (so we have fresh produce) and I'm going to try my best to only use pantry staples for the rest of the month! I think you're making great progress!!

Megan said...

I also hoard. Don't really know why! hahaha, it's like I'm saving it for something.. but what? Great post, those look yummy!

Cotter Crunch said...

girl you sure know how to clean out that pantry! I love it. Its like a hodge podge flavorful cuisine!
I love doing that.

Ranjani said...

I just did a freezer cleanout and am probably due for a pantry cleanout now...there are definitely dried beans and lots of grains that need using. The homemade tortillas look great - I have a lot of spelt flour that needs to be used as well!

Kerstin said...

Yum, what a great way to enjoy the eggplant. I should follow your lead and work on using up some pantry items!

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