Monday, March 8, 2010

Cooking from the bulk bin section

The bulk bin section can be intimidating to the uninitiated. First you have to get over any squeamishness you may have about food that is not portioned and sealed. (OMG! Naked Food! Out there in the open!) Then, if you are avoiding plastic like me, you have to plan ahead and bring your own containers and fabric bags from home. And you have to decide how much to get, instead of letting a food manufacturer decide for you. And once you get it home, how will you store it?

And then, you have to figure out what the heck to do with it. There are no boxes or cans with pictures of the prepared product on the front. No helpful recipes on the back label. And most of these foods are raw, unprocessed, unfinished: dried beans, lentils, quinoa, rice, oats, buckwheat...even if you know what they are, they can take some processing before they look and taste like what we are used to getting from cans, boxes, plastic foil envelopes, and the salad bar at Whole Foods. Now, this isn't nearly as hard or as time consuming as you might think, but if you don't KNOW that- it is intimidating!

If only someone would provide recipes for all that stuff.

Well, someone has. She didn't do it to specifically take advantage of bulk bins, but I'm finding her recipes incredibly useful as I explore my bulk bin options. That someone is Martha Rose Shulman of The New York Times, with a section of the website called Recipes for Health.

Last night I made Baked Quinoa With Spinach and Cheese using quinoa from the bulk bin section, and baby spinach bought loose and put in my fabric bag (unfortunately the cheeses did not come without plastic- that is still a challenge for me). Tonight I'm making a white bean hummus (pictured above from the Times website) from the Bruschetta section, using dried cannellini beans. Both are simple to make, and delicious!

1 comment:

susan said...

very funny and true post! thanks for the link!