Global Supplies of Chickpeas Could Dip 20% This Year

Tight supplies have helped push U.S. retail prices higher. Chickpeas on U.S. grocery shelves jumped 12% from last year, nearly 17% higher than prior to the pandemic, according to the most recent NielsenIQ data. Hummus prices have increased 6.9% since 2019.

Fewer chickpeas means cheap protein and hummus could be harder to find — https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/focus-fewer-chickpeas-means-cheap-protein-and-hummus-could-be-harder-to-find

I immediately checked the pantry. I have just two 16 ounce tins of chickpeas and approximately half a pound dried. Time to restock!

Spinach, Mushrooms and Onion

OOPS

The past week has been one of those terrible horrible no-good weeks that hit the checking account hard. I won’t list all of the things that stopped working but one thing hurt the most.

The side by side refrigerator/freezer died. I think this appliance was over 30 years old. it functioned as our second unit, a place to keep drinks cold and to stock up on frozen foods to prepare for the future food shortages and higher costs. Buying mass quantities of frozen vegetables as a hedging strategy against higher prices works well until your freezer dies.

I managed to STUFF a large number of frozen bags into our primary freezer. But I have to cook and eat a large number of these frozen bags of goodness to make room. So I started with a bag of spinach.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onions sliced thin
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms sliced thick
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 12 oz frozen cut leaf spinach
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and saute for five minutes. When browned…
  3. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium. Saute for five minutes. When browned…
  4. Add garlic. Saute for one minute.
  5. Add frozen spinach (no need to defrost). Saute for 15-20 minutes. You want the spinach to be drier but not too dry.
  6. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  7. You are done. Now decide what you’re going to do with this stuff.

What to do?

  • Quesadillas
  • Omelette
  • side dish
  • mix with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses for stuffed shells
  • or lasagna
  • melt some cheddar for a quick sandwich/tortilla filling
  • toss with pasta for a quick meal
  • open a can of white beans, drain/rinse and mix with broth for a quick soup

Welcome to my world.

How To Decide if It’s a Lentil Soup Day

It’s a lentil soup day.

A lot of readers liked Spanish Style Lentils and so do I. But today I’m making my time tested lentil soup recipe which you can find here The Pandemic Pantry -Lentil Soup. Or if you’re feeling adventurous try one of the Lentil Recipes – The First Mess which to be honest I haven’t tried yet.

I’m glad I don’t need mushrooms because I used the one I bought recently in another dish.

Absolutely not an altered photo. Just one very large button mushroom.

I added more carrots and so far at the 30 minute mark I’ve used the entire quart of organic low sodium chicken broth. I did not use the mutant carrot because it went bad before I could use it.

You’re starting to see some interesting produce nowadays.

Today’s post was for the critic who complained about the lack of pictures in this blog.

White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Sunday is a good Beanday. A day of rest. Maybe a few, but not too many errands. Hang out the rest of the day at home and make a pot of beans for the week.

This morning I was compiling a dried bean inventory so that I wouldn’t buy more of what I already have on hand. My beans are in various containers in the pantry and on the kitchen counter. Some packages of dried beans are unopened. My quick inventory told me I had green split peas, adzuki, black beans, black eyed peas, red and brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto, mayacabo, white beans, and an unidentified variety which I had to research to figure out I had Cranberry beans!

The white beans were stored in a plastic baggie and fearing they may have been in the pantry since the last time I made Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup I thought I would cook them. After a triple rinse I quick soaked them (rinse, drain, pour boiling water over all and cover for one hour). Drain again, cover with fresh filtered water, a little onion powder, garlic powder, one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to super low, and simmer for several hours.

Now I had a pot of beans before deciding what dish to make. After exhausting the possibilities I decided upon a White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew. My inspiration came from the same source as Spanish Style Lentils. So if you’re a visual learner, here you go:

Here’s a link to the original recipe – https://spainonafork.com/spanish-white-bean-and-sweet-potato-stew-recipe/

Here’s what I’ll eating all week.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes
  • dash apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrot. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and both paprika powders. Saute briefly for about a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the beans, sweet potato, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for around 30 minutes. Check and stir throughout this process and add more broth to desired thickness and to prevent sticking/burning of the stew.
  5. When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  6. Makes approximately six large servings.

Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.

Spanish Style Lentils

I always wondered how they make lentils in Spain. So I went You Tubing.

Then my mind wandered and thought “I wonder if this chef has a website?”

Of course he does. https://spainonafork.com/classic-spanish-lentil-stew-recipe/

And since I’m feeling lazy today (while giving credit where credit is due) check out either the video or website for ingredients and instructions for the Classic Spanish Lentil Stew, known in Spain as Lentejas.

My tweaks:

  • no red pepper because I didn’t have one in the fridge
  • only two cloves of garlic plus granulated garlic to taste
  • 1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce (adds sweetness)
  • 2 carrots instead of one (because I like carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves instead of one
  • One quart organic vegetable stock instead of five cups (thicker stew, less soupy)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika (watch that smokey paprika because it can be quite strong and overpowering)
  • no added salt

This is an excellent recipe if you are gradually adding vegan dishes into your diet.

The Boss liked it.

Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

There was a head of green cabbage in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I made a simple saute of cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic then put the entire veggie mix back into the fridge for another day. I spend quite a bit of time being creative with food items in the pantry/freezer/fridge in preparation for massive food shortages in the near future. My WFH coworker likes soup for lunch and I’ve frozen single servings of different soups so we could have different soups together for lunch.

This soup starts with leftover sauteed cabbage. You can always make this soup by starting with a veggie saute if you don’t have leftover cabbage. I always have vegetable broth in the pantry and there were cooked chickpeas in the freezer.

My inspiration came from https://www.thefullhelping.com/spicy-cabbage-chickpea-soup/#recipe but the two recipes are not really the same. The quantities here make about two servings. I didn’t want to make a lot in case I didn’t like it (I liked it).

Accidentally Vegan Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

  • 2 cups leftover green cabbage and vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained and rinsed)
  1. Everyone into a small pot
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes
  4. Makes about two servings

Tips

Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities of spice to taste also. I tossed in some extra garlic powder because I like garlic. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’re into spicy. Subbing pasta or rice for the chickpeas would work nicely (if you can’t or won’t eat beans). This soup freezes well.

Another Reason Why Black Eyed Peas are Badass

UCR plant pathologist Gabriel Ortiz wanted to understand whether black eyed peas — a hugely popular food in many parts of the world — maintain their ability to attract good bacteria even after being subjected to modern farming practices. In many cases, plants heavily impacted by humans do not benefit as much from relationships with bacteria compared to their wild relatives. However, Ortiz and his team found that the peas maintained their natural ability to form beneficial relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

University of California – Riverside. “Black eyed peas could help eliminate need for fertilizer: Popular legume attracts beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220120091144.htm (accessed January 20, 2022).

Totally Badass.

Vegetarian Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2022

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers.  This year will be different. One of my goals for the year is to make black eyed peas more than once a year.

“What’s all the chopping I hear?”

“I’m making a vegetarian version of my world famous Badass Black Eyed Peas.”

“Hmm…”

This recipe makes four servings as I suspect I’ll be the only one eating it.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, scraped and diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T Mexican oregano
1 tsp apiece cumin, paprika
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 cup black eyed peas (dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then rinse the beans. Drain again.
  3. In a medium size pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Saute the onion, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add your spices, carrots and saute another minute until aromatic.
  6. Pour the can of stewed tomatoes into the pot. Break up the tomatoes with your stirring spoon.
  7. Add the beans and enough broth to barely cover the beans.
  8. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pot with a lid and let ‘er go for a couple of hours.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.

Salt, pepper, and favorite hot sauce. Season to taste.

End Notes

Note the process starts the evening before if you’re using dried beans. You can always substitute two cans of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed. If you use canned beans, decrease the cooking time on the stove top to around 30 minutes.

I reduced the quantity of dried beans because I think I’ll be the only one eating these beans. There was sufficient salt in both the canned tomatoes and broth so I felt no need to add any more.

Texas Corn Bread or serve over rice.

This dish was inspired by Suzy at https://www.themediterraneandish.com/black-eyed-peas-recipe-greek/.

If you have celery hanging out in the fridge add some at the same step as the spices and carrots.

Beans for Breakfast – 01/15/22

Someone wanted to make a German Chocolate Cake for her birthday. Third store, strike three. Not a single baking bar for this cake to be found. To avoid having the trip become an absolute failure I stocked up on some dried beans. Picked up more beans for my Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2021 and more chickpeas because I like chickpeas. Two pounds of dried beans cost less than three bucks. I love beans not just for their taste, variety and health benefits but also as an excellent way to stretch the food budget.

More Beans Less Beef

We don’t eat meat everyday. Whether you’re looking to improve your health, save money, save the planet, or save a few cows less meat is better. Not that dedicated non-meat eaters need another reason for their lifestyles here you go:

Source: Economists to Cattle Ranchers: Stop Being So Emotional About the Monopolies Devouring Your Family Businesses

Four packing companies control 80% of the cattle industry. Another fine example of profits before people (and animals).

Read more here: https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/economists-to-cattle-ranchers-stop?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjozODkzNjMwNiwicG9zdF9pZCI6NDIyMzI2OTMsIl8iOiJOYUxWSCIsImlhdCI6MTY0MjI1NzA0OSwiZXhwIjoxNjQyMjYwNjQ5LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTE1MjQiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.2IlNOUb3jKvQJb27eyofdRCYUa0igNDi1To8xbkyDPs

If you are a bean novice start here: https://usdrybeans.com/

I think I’ll makes some Sweet Potato and White Bean Hummus this week. It’s only around four years since I last made some.

Disclosure: I am not compensated for my fanatical obsession with beans but would gladly accept a sponsorship deal if offered one.

The Tale of Two Turkeys – 2021

T-Day this year was at our house and it was just the second time in nearly 20 years we hosted. For many years we traveled to Texas and one year we ended up in Owasso OK. But this year The Texans came north. We had a small gathering of five humans and one Aussie. Shopping for a small dinner crowd like this should have been simple. But as the Great Pandemic continues to affect aspects of our lives we all have not experienced I had to go to multiple stores to find what I needed. The sandwich meat and cheese purchase was left for the last day of shopping the day before T-Day. And as I circled the store searching for bargains I stumbled upon a refrigerated display of fresh turkeys.

Yup. Dried pasta is 50% more expensive per pound. A tub of strawberries was over $6.00 at the same store. Ground beef was seven times the price per pound. So I could not resist. I bought the little fellow.

nOn Sunday I roasted Turkey Two. I decided to cook the bird and freeze portions for future meals. My mind has been wandering to the many ways of making leftover turkey palatable. But it’s not been easy since we are tired of turkey right now. So in no particular order here’s what I learned this year shopping for the feast.

Take Home Lessons

  • During The Great Pandemic in the midst of shortages you will find items overbought and undersold in the stores. Take advantage of these situations if and when you find them. I’ve come across similar price reductions in different stores usually in the refrigerated departments. As an example, BOGO imported Danish Havarti with the sell by date out in March 2022. I guess none of my neighbors like Harvarti.
  • Be flexible. If you have to have strawberries you’ll pay up for them. But it might be time to eat other fruits that are more reasonably priced. Like bananas, apples, or those tiny oranges. Dried fruits work well too.
  • Eat lower on the food chain. I picked up a pound of dried black eyed peas for $1.50 because you have to have black eyed peas for New Years in my part of the world. Eat more beans because they are good for you and good for your checking account balance. Learn to like beans.
  • Add more meat-free meals to your diet. Yesterday for lunch I had Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. Dinner tonight will be a massive mutant baked sweet potato and a side salad. You don’t need meat at every meal. Over the holiday weekend I happened to mention making Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole. The reaction from our guest was priceless. I guess some people don’t like squash.
  • A six pound turkey doesn’t have a lot of turkey in it. This little fellow was kind of like a huge chicken only bonier. Still, I think I have enough cooked bird in the freezer for three more entrees.

Yup. Looks large but not a lot of meat.