Perfect Pantry: Grains

This is the first in a series of articles on how to stock the perfect pantry. This post will be updated from time to time to add additional information. Grains typically have long shelf lives, commonly 2-4 years, so stocking up on a variety of grains is a good pantry habit.

Cornmeal

Polenta

Polenta is cornmeal that has been boiled in water. It is widely used as a staple of Italian cuisine. It can be used as is, grilled or fried. Prepared polenta can be found at most grocery stores.

Rice

Arborio

Arborio is an Italian short-grain rice. The rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy when cooked. Arborio has a high starch content. It has a starchy taste but blends well with other flavors. It is primarily used to make Risotto.

  • 1 cup rice, 3 cups water, yields 3 cups cooked rice

Basmati

Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, grown in India and Pakistan notable for its fragrance and delicate, nuanced flavor. India and Pakistan are the largest cultivators and exporters of this rice. The grains of basmati rice are longer than most other types of rice and are available in both white and brown varieties. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky, as with most long-grain rice and can be identified by its fragrance.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 3/4 cups water, yields 4 cups cooked rice

Cooking tip: Soak rice in water for 20 minutes before cooking to maximize grain elongation.

Jasmin

Jasmin rice, sometimes known as “Thai fragrant rice”, is a long-grain variety of rice that has a nutty aroma and a subtle and pandan-like flavor. Jasmine rice is originally from Thailand. The grains will cling when cooked, though it is less sticky than other rices.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 1/2 cups water, yields 3 cups cooked rice

Sushi

Sushi rice is a short-grained, Japanese rice. It is usually cooled to room temperature before being used. Sushi rice has a consistency that differs from long-grain strains such as those from India. The essential quality is its stickiness. Rice that is too sticky has a mushy texture; if not sticky enough, it feels dry.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 1/4 cup water, yields 3 cups cooked rice

Wheat

Couscous

Couscous consists of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished granules are about one millimeter in diameter before cooking. Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time, therefore, a more-processed, quick-cook couscous is suggested for the pantry. Traditionally couscous is served under a meat or vegetable stew. It can also be eaten alone, plain, flavored, warm or cold.

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Sausage Wraps

During college football season, a Saturday afternoon backyard barbeque or grill session is almost a given. One of the dishes I love to cook in these situations is sausage wraps. Sausage wraps are very easy and always a hit.

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium to large bell peppers. I prefer to use 1 each of green, red, yellow and orange.
  • 1 medium to large onion. I prefer to use 1/2 of a white and 1/2 of a red.
  • 1 Anaheim pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • Spray butter
  • 10 – 12 Sausages. I prefer to use Italian Hot, Mild or Sweet
  • 10 – 12 Flour Tortillas. I prefer a specialty tortilla made local called a Southwestern Tortilla.
  • Dijon mustard

Directions:

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Julianne the bell peppers and Anaheim pepper; Anaheim julianned slices should be cut in half. Slice onion in to 3/8 inch rounds, cut each round in half, remove any odd shaped pieces. Add bell and Anaheim peppers and onions into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes. Add salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, worcestershire sauce and chopped butter. Mix thoroughly.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees. Add one half of the vegetables each to a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap. To a second piece of aluminum foil, add the first bundle but flip such that the unfolded side is up. Place on grill such that folded side of outer bundle is face down. Grill 20 minutes then flip and grill an additional 20 minutes.

Sausage should be cooked for 30 minutes, flipping sides every 5 minutes.

Spray tortillas with butter and place on grill 1 minute both sides.

Ready to wrap and eat

Ready to wrap and eat

Serve sausage on top of tortilla, adding vegetables to taste. Top with Dijon mustard.

This dish could also be made vegetarian by simply omitting the sausage and piling on the vegetables.

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Hungry 4 More Logo Contest and Rules

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10,000 Page Views, Logo Contest, Post Rating

Thanks – 10,000 Page Views

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Post Rating

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Grilled Caesar Salad

Hungry 4 More is throwing the 1st Annual H4M Cookout at the end of the week and I needed a grilled vegetarian dish to serve. I decided on Grilled Caesar Salad. Inevitably the first question everyone asked me was, “How do you grill a salad?” This dish can be prepared in both a vegetarian and non-vegetarian style.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ground pepper plus additional for grilling
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (optional, see below) plus additional for grilling
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus additional for grilling
  • One of:
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon of Anchovy paste (Non-vegetarian)
    • 2 tablespoons of Dijon or spicy mustard (Vegetarian)

Directions:

Dressing

In blender, add, 1 Tablespoon of pepper, garlic and 3/4 cup olive oil. If serving vegetarian, add Dijon and 1 tablespoon salt. If serving non-vegetarian add 1 1/2 tablespoon Anchovy paste. Blend until well blended and mixed.

Lettuce

Romaine lettuce prepared for grilling

Romaine lettuce prepared for grilling

Preheat grill to 350-375 degrees. Cut each Romaine heart in half lengthwise. Drizzle olive oil and dust exposed inner sides with salt and pepper. Grill exposed side down for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove and with each heart, remove steam, and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch segments and plate to a salad bowl. Pour and mix dressing to taste.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Caesar Salad

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