One-pot cooking.

Since I last blogged at you, I've temporarily relocated for a 10-week job away from home. My new employer provides housing in the form of a cute little studio apartment a stone's throw from my office, which is excellent. Less excellent are the wee little fridge, wee little stove, and wee little countertop. But this wee setup is going to force me to get creative with my cooking while also simplifying things a bit. I couldn't bring every single staple with me and I haven't bought very much since I got here on Saturday. Here's what I'm working with:

Olive and canola oils
Garlic and onions
Ginger and scallions
Cumin, cayenne pepper, and curry powder
Liquid smoke!
Apple cider vinegar
Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Canned beans and tomatoes
Quinoa and rice
Miso and tofu
Bogus sausage
Broccoli and carrots
Red cabbage
Frozen corn and fresh grape tomatoes
Bananas and apples
Steel cut oats

On my first night here I was fed tasty Indian food. But the next night I made a spicy miso soup with some baby bok choy I'd brought with me from home, carrots, and sauteed tofu. I ate the leftovers the next day.

For last night's dinner and today's lunch, I sauteed onions, garlic, and a little red cabbage, and cooked quinoa with the vegetable mixture. When it was nearly done, I stirred in canned garbanzo beans and added broccoli florets on top to steam in the pot. I finished it up with crumbled fake sausage and the last of the Christmas pesto (yes there is such a thing). Pesto was my solution to not having any herbs yet. Fortunately, I discovered tonight that a colleague has four basil plants in his office! They kind of make his studio smell like cats, but at least now I can harvest fresh basil on the job.

Tonight's dinner/tomorrow's lunch followed a similar formula to last night's meal: some sort of bean + some sort of rice or grain + veg + seasonings. It wasn't, strictly speaking, a one-pot meal, since I had to cook the brown rice in a separate pot. But I sauteed onions and garlic with cumin and cayenne pepper, added canned black beans, tomatoes, and frozen corn, simmered it all with the cooked rice, and finished with scallions, liquid smoke, and a dash of cider vinegar.

I suspect I'll be doing a lot of this type of cooking while I'm here, especially since I am so enamored of the vintage Copco cast iron lidded casserole I brought with me as a (heavy) afterthought. I found it at a thrift store a few months ago and had never used it. But it's sure to be the most frequent One Pot for my one-pot meals. If I ever cook in broad daylight (hard when it's dark at 5), I'll take a picture for you.

I'm missing cinnamon, red pepper flakes, basil, and chili powder. Along with cumin and ginger, those are the key herbs and spices for me. I'm also missing greens, and I'm hoping I can find a good source around here for bulk spices and organic veg.

What are your staples in the kitchen?


  1. Marigoldie said...

    I love this. My staple meals are: brown rice, canned tomatoes, beans (maybe a can of black and a can of chickpeas) with sauteed onion, cumin, hot sauce and Bragg's; stir fried tofu, green cabbage, onion, frozen edamame, frozen corn, frozen peas tossed with spaghetti noodles and drizzled with oil and Bragg's; roasted brussels sprouts & sweet potatoes with quinoa; cuminy black beans with steamed beets, broc, brussels, greens and carrots over quinoa, all drizzled with Bragg's and olive or flaxseed oil.  

  2. Maven said...

    Man, and some people still wonder what vegans/veggies eat. I think it's going to be a sweet potato/quinoa night over here too but with roasted cauliflower instead of brussels.  

  3. Wendell said...

    I have almost every spice in the universe, which is handy, plus plenty of flour, rye flour, wheat flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda/powder, shortening and butter to facilitate baking.

    Fresh parsley and cilantro are always in my fridge.

    Thanks to Dom I always have a bunch of canned pigeon peas and pink beans around to make PR beans and rice. Plus baggies of frozen sofrito.