No, I don't mean stuff that is REALLY, REALLY high in fiber. I'm dreaming of those bulk bins full of things like ryeberries (who knew? I thought it was a grass), dried goji berries, the thousand kinds of trail mix that launched a thousand hikes, wild rice, adzuki beans, millet, macadamias, mung beans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, pancake mix, pecans, polenta... but I wax alliterative here, and need to get a grip. Just be glad I am not waxing poetic (or Brazilian - eeeuw) instead.
I love bulk foods - another reason I love Whole Food Market is because of the awesome bulk section (at least in the older store), where new recipe ideas can just form in your mind, while you drift by looking at all those ingredients. And, you get try a little bit of something, instead of buying 3 lbs of barley flour in a bag, which you use 1/2 cup of, and then wonder for years what the heck it is doing in your pantry.
Bulk foods keep me connected to the past: I keep my bulk purchased oatmeal in the same paper round container I bought my first organic oatmeal in when my daughter was 6 months old. That was 13 1/2 years ago. Maybe when she goes to college I'll retire it. I store my plastic bags full of wild rice, couscous, polenta, oat bran (makes a GREAT tasting, low sugar, low fat banana bread), etc. in an antique round bottomed copper bowl, that my mom gave me. I was supposed to use it to beat eggs white in by hand, since copper apparently improves the loft, but honestly, my upper arms aren't THAT flabby, so I stick to the mixer :-)
And speaking of Whole Foods, there's also that fantastic bulk herbs section (at least at the Washtenaw store, Eisenhower location is decidedly inferior). Although as I've said, I'm a big fan of buying cheap good spices at Indian groceries, you'd better be sure that you really do want and need that whole 8 oz. of fenugreek, because they tend to come in larger packages. I personally have a big bag of turmeric that has been creating little drifts of orangey powder in my spice drawer for at least a million years. So, buying tiny quantities of new things, or things you rarely use (but wish you used more often) at WFM makes more sense.
I scrolled through my posts just now, and realized that something like half these recipes include ingredients that I regularly buy in bulk (and that's not counting the spices). Since this is my paean to bulk, I wanted to do a recipe that was all bulk - but couldn't quite come up with one - you do need a few carrots, onions, etc., and I didn't want to substitute a soup mix for that. But this is close.
Couscous with Garbanzos, Pine Nuts and Candied Ginger
This is another of those recipes where you can toss in a little of whatever you happen to have in the fridge or pantry that needs to be used. I'm providing recommendations, but improvisation is good too. I've marked the items available as bulk with an asterisk.
Four 4 people as a side dish
2 cups couscous* (I prefer whole wheat)
2 cups boiling water
2 TB candied ginger* diced very fine
3/4 cup dried garbanzo beans* (soaked and cooked)
1/2 cup pine nuts* (if you want a little extra, toast these in a pan first)
2 tsp dried parsley * (better to use 2TB fresh chopped, but I'm sticking with the there here. You, on the other hand, don't have to)
2 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or run through a garlic press
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 carrot peeled and diced
optional: diced red pepper, broccoli florets, scallions, or what ever else you want to use up
Pour 4 cups of boiling water over the couscous in a saucepan, cover and set aside for 15 minutes or so. If you are using the dried parsley sprinkle it in the pan after about 5 minutes, and recover.
Saute the garlic onion, carrot, and any other vegetables that take your fancy (such as red pepper, broccoli, snow peas, etc.) in the olive oil on fairly low heat for about 8-10 minutes; use a large pan, so you can put everything in it.
Add the soaked, cooked garbanzos and stir to warm them up, Then add the chopped ginger and pine nuts, and stir again. Finally put in the couscous. If it is a little dry, you can add some water. Stir it all up and serve. If you opted for fresh parsley, add it last. Dee Dee