Bread and Saag

Before I present any more craptastic photos, I should mention that one my many goals for this blog is to embarrass myself into improving my photography skills. In the meantime, I hope you’ll bear with me. In another post I will detail all of the other goals, both for this blog in particular and our relocation in general, but first things first.

I made a list of everything in our pantry and freezer so that I can start using things up. There is no hope for all the oils and vinegars, the rice and many different kinds of beans, so I am picking my battles. For example, I’ll bake all of our bread until I run out of flour.

A year ago I would have considered this an impressive undertaking, but here’s the recipe that makes it totally manageable: One-Minute Ciabatta It is awesome and I highly recommend it.

I’ve heard a lot about the No-Knead Bread, but it looks a bit involved for my taste. I’d probably try a recipe that required kneading before I tried that.

While poking around and taking inventory, I found a large can of spinach that I bought ages ago to use for a potluck dish. I never did use it because I was afraid it might be too horrible to serve, and then time passed and I forgot about it. I also found a block of paneer in the freezer.

This prefab saag was a revelation. At $4.99 (or was it $5.99) a can, this was roughly the same price as buying fresh greens, and it tasted perfectly fine. There were no weird preservatives on the ingredient list, and it saved a lot of time and trouble. Houston has a ton of Indian grocery stores, and I’m hoping Pittsburgh has something comparable because I would definitely buy this again.

The paneer tasted okay but had a strange texture, which likely had more to do with how long it’d been hanging around in the freezer. There’s also a chance it had thawed and refrozen at some point in its long life, so I won’t disparage the brand.

I ended up with more saag paneer than we could eat, even over the course of a few days, so I froze some of it. That’s the one step back after my two steps forward. Right now I have a gigantic batch of urad dal slow-cooking in the crockpot, and some of it is probably destined for the freezer as well. Oops. 

Also unearthed during inventory was a quantity of steel-cut oats, which take way too long to cook for weekday mornings so I have been ignoring them for months. When we ran out of rolled oats last week, I made a big batch of the steel-cut version in the evening to be portioned out for a couple of days’ breakfasts, and this worked really well. It just requires a little bit of foresight.

My primary goal is to not buy anything except dairy and fresh produce as long as I can help it. The secondary goal is to have more or less bare shelves within a month. We’ll see how it goes.

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