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|Mixes (in Bulk)
|by Lisa Vines
|Feeling a little short on
time this season?
The Co-op shopper in the Bulk section will find a plethora of mixes:
falafel, hummus, "nature's burger," vegetarian chili, tabouli, black
beans, and refried beans (as of early November). Although prepared
mixes are sometimes a little more expensive than making the dish from
scratch and might not be quite as tasty, they offer a savings in a
valuable commodity: time.
A comparison of recipes, the first for the mix and the second for a
from-scratch version, will illustrate how quick and convenient these
mixes can be.
Recipe from the Bulk section's box of recipes:
a large bowl, mix one cup Tabouli with 1¼ cups water. Add 2 TBS
olive oil and 2 finely chopped tomatoes; mix well. Let stand 1 hour to
absorb the liquid. Refrigerate if desired. Stir and serve.
Other ingredients can be added according to preference, such as fresh
lemon juice, chopped fresh parsley, sliced green onions, diced
cucumber, and/or fresh mint.
Miriam Axel-Lute's advice from November's Coop Scoop ("Recipes are just
guidelines...") one could use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, thereby
saving even more time. Dried parsley, chives, and chopped onions are
available at the Co-op in the herbs-and-spices area of the Wellness
department. Crescent Dragonwagon writes of instant tabouli/tabbouleh:
"I'm a tabbouleh-from-scratch person from way back, but I have to tell
you this (instant mix) is good! It's virtually instant to make, though
it needs to sit for an hour or so after being mixed" Passionate
Making tabouli/tabbouleh from scratch requires a little more effort,
but for those willing to try, bulgur is available in the Bulk section.
This recipe is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:
cup fine or medium bulgur
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
3 or 4 bunches flat-leaf parsley,
½ cup chopped mint
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 TBS olive oil
Put the bulgur into a bowl, cover with water, and let stand until the
water is absorbed and the grains are soft, about half an hour. Press
out any excess liquid, return the bulgur to the bowl, and toss with
half the lemon juice, the scallions, tomatoes, parsley, and mint. Let
stand another half hour for the grains to soften fully. Meanwhile,
whisk the remaining lemon juice, the oil, and ½ t salt together.
Pour the dressing over the bulgur and toss well. Check the seasoning.
It should be lemony and zesty. Mound the tabbouleh in a shallow serving
bowl and surround with lettuce leaves.
more striking time savings are evident in the directions for preparing
the refried beans. Instructions for preparing refried beans from a mix
is from Fantastic World Foods, and included in the Bulk section's box
a medium sized bowl, add 1¾ cups boiling water to 1½ cups
refried beans mix. Stir well, cover 5 minutes, then serve.
Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone includes the following recipe
for refried beans. The beans should have been soaking for hours. Of
course, canned beans would also work--and eliminate a few steps.
Nevertheless, to underscore the point that the mixes save time, we'll
stick with the recipe as printed.
cup pinto beans, soaked
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
For garnish: sliced scallions, cilantro, crumbled queso fresco or feta,
Put the beans into a pot, cover them with water, and boil hard for 10
minutes. Remove any scum. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered,
until they're partially tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt,
then continue cooking until they're very soft. Drain, reserving the
Heat the oil in a nonstick or castiron skillet over medium heat. Add
the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it's nicely browned. Add
the garlic during the last few minutes. Add a third of the beans and 2
cups of the broth.
Using a fork or potato masher, mash the beans as they simmer, working
them into the broth. When they're fairly smooth, add another third of
the beans and continue mashing. Add more broth if the mixture gets too
dry. Repeat with the rest of the beans.
Test for salt and keep frying until they look dry on the bottom and
hold together in the pan. They shouldn't be runny, but they shouldn't
be a solid, dry mass either. Roll them out onto a platter, like an
omelet, and add garnishes as desired.
ingredients are optional for some of the mixes but necessary for
others; the vegetarian chili, for example, calls for a can of beans and
a can of tomatoes. Because the mixes are available in Bulk, the Co-op
shopper can purchase as little or as much as he/she desires and
And who knows: having some of these easy-to-prepare mixes might come in
handy when unexpected guests drop by or hungry teenagers suddenly
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