From Our Pantry to Yours
RECIPES FOR A RURAL KITCHEN
Kelisha Ryan, Owner — Spice & Grain, Fryeburg, Maine
FROM THE 2017 EDITION OF LAND, LAKES & US MAGAZINE
Through the frosty winter days and the steaming days of summer we may forget to reflect on how fortunate we truly are to spend our days in such a beautiful place. Rich farmlands, clean water, and a landscape that changes appearance as frequently as a teen changes clothes. It’s no wonder that keeping up our pantries is a challenge!
There are foods to be gathered in the woods and meadows. At winter’s end the cold nights and warming days prompt the maples to give up their sweet sap for sugar and syrup. In spring there are fiddleheads from some fern varieties; midsummer delivers blueberries along the lake edges and in the open meadows; and in fall cranberries burst out just before the freeze in the bogs and fens. There are edible mushrooms, wild greens and herbs for the knowledgeable.
In the spring we hunger for the first green sprouts, then gather summer fruits, and by autumn Mother Nature changes it up again and it’s all hands on deck for winter storage as she prickles the nights with cold weather warnings. We laugh and remind ourselves that the weather extremes make us a hardier bunch. It’s quite possible that it does. Having a well stocked and frequently rotated pantry is one of the best means for relaxing family meals, and weathering the northern New England seasons.
At Spice & Grain we provide everything you’ll need for a vacation pantry of healthy snacks and easy meals that take advantage of the fresh offerings at the farm stands. Planning for a longer time frame? We have the fundamentals to keep a year-round pantry in good order.
To provide for basics, start in the bulk section where you’ll find beans, peas, and rice; or experiment with grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, or farro for some hearty comfort dishes. The same grains make for rich summer salad meals!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 large tomato or pint of cherry tomatoes
- 1 large cucumber (peeled and seeded)
- 1 cup chopped curly leaf parsley
- ¼ cup fresh mint (optional)
- 2 scallions (sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Pepper to taste
Place rinsed quinoa in a pot with 1½ cups of water (salt optional) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes with the lid on. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Make the dressing by whisking lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Dice tomato and cucumber. Rinse and pat dry parsley (and optional mint), then chop. Slice green onions into 1/4” rounds.
- Toss quinoa with dressing and diced vegetables in a serving dish until coated. Enjoy as is, on a bed of greens or stuffed into a pita!
Chunky Granola Brittle
Get just want you need to make your own granola. Select nuts, dried fruit, and seeds. Creating a blend of your favorites means that it’s always the freshest and there’s no picking out unwanted bits. We have wonderful local honeys and maple syrups to best meld your baked fusion:
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil or safflower oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp water
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice
- 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit of choice
- 1/3 cup raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup sesame, hemp, or chia seeds
Preheat oven to 300 and position a rack in the center. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil.
- In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey, and cinnamon and heat on low until thoroughly warmed.
- Meanwhile lightly mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Drizzle oil mixture over dry ingredients, gently folding until evenly coated. Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and
- let cool.
- Once cooled, flip the baking
- sheet onto a work surface and remove brittle granola. Peel off the paper and break into chunks. Store in airtight container for up to 2 months.
Makes 3 cups
Peanut Ginger Pasta Salad
8 oz. capellini, spaghetti, or fettuccini
- 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger root (minced)
- 3 garlic clove (minced)
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp agave syrup or honey
- ¼ cup amino acids (soy sauce)
- 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp broth or water
- ½-1 cup shredded or julienned carrot
- ½-1 cup bell pepper, julienned
- 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 green onions sliced to 1/4”
- 1⁄2 cup cooked chicken, turkey, or chickpeas, chopped
- salt & ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup coarsely chopped peanuts, cashews, or sesame seeds
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt and pasta. Bring back to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions on the package. Drain and toss in a large bowl with 1 Tbsp. sesame oil.
- Meanwhile, chop vegetables and garnishes while pasta is cooking.
- Then, in a saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. sesame oil with garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, then stir in peanut butter, agave or honey, amino acids, rice wine vinegar, and broth or water to desired consistency. Stir until thoroughly warmed and blended.
- Gently combine noodles and vegetables. Fold in sauce and
- mix well. Garnish and Enjoy!
- Note: broccoli, cauliflower, summer squashes, and mushrooms can be substituted or added to vegetable choices.
In the months when the heat has you drained, a refreshing salad with quality oil and vinegar is just the thing for the nourishment you need without the bulk. Keep greens on hand in your refrigerator pantry by soaking greens in a large bowl of fresh water and letting dirt and sediments fall to the bottom. Then rinse, spin dry, and store in a towel-lined container in the fridge. Salads become a quick go-to and fabulous kitchen staple this way. Try adding fresh blueberries or chickpeas to your next summer salad. Switching oils can provide new flavors! Sunflower oil on a chunky vegetable salad with cooked rice and chicken is an easy and satisfying hot weather meal.
Mix and shake the following in a bottle:
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
Drizzle over salad vegetables and serve!
Mixed Green and Blueberry Feta Salad
Toss in a large bowl:
- 5 oz. bag spring mix or greens from the farmstand
- 1 small head Romaine lettuce (torn)
- 1 pint blueberries (washed)
- 1 medium cucumber (peeled, seeded & sliced)
- 1/3 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1/3 cup canned chickpeas (drained)
You’ll want to keep baking items on hand, and we have you covered there as well. There are many varieties of flours and mixes for many palates. From the traditional wheat based flours to an array of gluten-free options including coconut, rice, hazelnut, and oat flours to name a few. If you’re experimenting with blends and running into warmer days, keep sealed packages in the freezer where they can keep for months. Since baking can bring out your creative genie, we like to stock some unexpected items such as orange blossom water, lavender extract, and all sorts of chocolate choices. If you’re a bread baker we can provide bulk quantities and even whole grains so that you can mill your own.
For those afternoons and evenings when too much work or play has you looking for a quick turn-around meal idea, a complete stock of sauces, oils, condiments, and vinegars is a must. Utilizing a simple base ingredient such as bread, pasta, rice, grains, or even a tortilla, you can become a globe-trotting chef in no time! Whether it’s spaghetti with Italian red gravy, massaman curried rice, pesto bruschetta, or spicy tostadas—heating or tossing your veggies and proteins with a prepared sauce or taste as you go can create a stress-free dinner table.
The most important, often powerful and star features of your pantry are also the smallest members: herbs and spices. Many of these come from the far corners of the earth to sit neatly in a cool dark place in the wings of your pantry shelves just waiting for the opportunity to shine.
At the Spice & Grain our herbs and spices are responsibly sourced and incredibly fresh. Since they are available in bulk—from a teaspoon to a pound—you can experiment without breaking the bank. Try some vietnamese cinnamon in your oatmeal, dried tarragon in your potato salad, cardamom with strawberry shortcake, or iced tea infused with Indian spice chai.
There is no limit to the flavor combinations with sun teas and tea bags are a great way to try new blends. Keeping steeped jars in rotation makes for options should you want a caffeinated tea during the day and an herbal tea at night.
Summer Eve Sun Tea
In the morning fill a glass quart jar or bottle with fresh clean water.
Add to it 2 Tbsp each of the following dried herbs:
- Stinging Nettle
- Rose Petals
- Leave covered in a sunny place to sit undisturbed for 3-5 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger it gets.
- Pour into a clean vessel while straining out herbs. While it’s still warm, if you want to add a sweetener such as honey, this is the time.
- Chill and serve over ice. Garnish with sliced fruit if desired.
As we both endure and embrace the range of New England weather, our tastes welcome and accept Mother Nature’s offerings through the seasons. At the Spice & Grain we know that being prepared is half the battle and our seasonal stock and personal service can lay the ground for a great beginning to any vacation or any season. Not only do we have a wide selection to appeal to everyone’s taste, we also introduce new and interesting items to inspire.
And now onto the bathroom pantry! Let’s see, we’ll need some oatmeal, cornmeal, olive oil and, of course, some clay…