I’m not unhappy that it has rained all weekend, but it does highlight a flaw in my character: I’m not very motivated to garden. I don’t even want to get dressed, but I desperately need to take out the kitchen compost. I threw away onion skins, this morning! I am a bad person.
Not that anyone else in the house is more motivated to go outside than I am. Even our oldest cat, who practically lives outdoors and gets (literally) pissy if kept inside, has spent the weekend in the house.
We’re eating warm, filling, comfort foods. Yesterday, I made black bean soup, and the better half has offered to make her DELICIOUS coconut-lentil soup, adapted from a PCC recipe that probably appeared in the monthly newsletter, at some point. I think, like black bean soup, the lentil soup is one of those recipes that can be easily adapted to whatever is in the kitchen, as long as a few basics are present.
In our house, rice and legumes, of many varieties, are always stocked. They keep for a long time, can be stored in the pantry, and are endlessly versatile. I keep a lot of spices in the pantry, too, so that we can pick any world cuisine that suits our mood. I buy spices in bulk (whatever that means, when “bulk” is just an ounce or three), and keep them in repurposed glass jars, also in the pantry.
Simple, single-source spices, like cumin, pepper, and paprika, are usually purchased from the coop, but World Spice Merchants makes some really nice blends, of either whole or ground spices, which I use for roasting veg, fish rubs, or Indian dishes. I also highly recommend their Mayan Cocoa blend, which is delicious as a hot beverage with honey, as a base for pudding, or to deepen the flavor of the aforementioned black bean soup. Yes, really! Just a little, maybe a teaspoon to 8 cups of soup, does something magical to black beans.
I’ve gotten much friendlier with spices since I started buying in bulk. Supermarket spices are so old that they’ve lost much of their flavor before they ever hit my kitchen, and they are so expensive that I always felt guilty for using as much as I needed. Bulk spices, by the nature of the business, are fresher and thus stronger, but also cheaper, so I use them generously, and am more likely to experiment. This has led to some very successful meals.
I don’t have a pretty spice rack, with matching jars, though. Spice rack jars are too small, so I’ve become an inveterate saver of glass jars. Jam, honey, chutney, mustard… all of our condiment jars are soaked and scrubbed and saved for herbs and spices. I’ve even branched out into larger jars, like pickle, kimchee, and mayo, for things like lentils, nuts, and split peas, which means that I now buy lentils, nuts, and peas in bulk, as well. I write directly on the jars with a Sharpie or paint pen, and hide everything away in the pantry and cupboards. Which, hey, you should do anyway, to keep them away from light. (And cats that like to watch things fall and hit the ground.)
In other news, I finished rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (series, not movie), yesterday. Season 7 is still not my favorite. Too many villains, I think. At some point, I just expected some past villain or guest actor to show up again, and couldn’t be arsed to care. Also, I was deeply annoyed by the Angel cameo. But, I never liked Angel, so there you go. I’m not likely to like him better in a three-minute guest scene than I am in three interminable seasons of brachycephalic brooding. (Despite this, I rewatched Angel, before hitting Buffy, this year. I’m an enigma.)
I really need to get off my ass. Grr, argh.