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Archive for the ‘beans’ Category

My lovely aunt has given me the most wonderful gift – the gift of Persian style rice. I don’t think I’ll ever make it any other way.

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As you can see, the rice is really not the highlight of the rice. Does that make sense? It’s early. Directly from my South-African by location, Persian by marriage, Southern Californian by birth auntie. Didn’t I say I have a multicultural family?

Chelo

basmati or long-grain rice – about 3 cups
2 or 3 potatoes peeled and sliced about ¼ inch thick
Butter / oil
salt

Wash rice two or three times (fill the bowl of rice with water, gently move the rice around with your hand to release the starch and drain) and soak in water for 3-4 hours, then drain the water.  Pour water in a large non-stick pan until it is half-full and bring it to a boil. Add rice and a spoonful of salt and continue boiling until rice slightly softens.  Pour rice into a large strainer and wash it with slightly warm water.

Melt a few spoonfuls of butter and cooking oil into the pan.  Place the potato slices in the bottom of the pan and then add the rice taking care not to pack it too tightly.  The rice should be in a bit of a cone shape in the pot.  Add a couple knobs of butter to the top of the rice and then about a ¼ cup water.  Cover the pan and cook over low heat for about an hour.  A delicious crispy layer of rice and potato (called ta-dig) will form at the bottom of the pan.

 Now, instead of fighting over the ta-dig with my cousins, it’s all mine!  Bwah-ha-ha!

Thanks, MP.

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Beanoa

Man, was I pleased with myself over this title. Try saying it out loud – you might not be able to stop.

These days, I work a few normal days and a few late days per week. On those days when I start work at noon, I have time to putz, patter and laze around the house and garden, and time to build myself a lovely lunch before heading off to the gym before work. Of course, when I get home at night it feels like midnight and I pass out cold, but it’s worth it.

Today’s healthful fresh veggie meal was a simple mixture of beans, greens and quinoa. The beans were Flor de Junio, the greens were turnip tops straight from the garden, and the quinoa was their perfect accompaniment.

I didn’t soak the beans the night before (see passing out cold, above), so I covered them with water and brough them to a boil. I then turned off the heat and let them sit, covered while I finished the rest of my prep. I sauteed a mirepoix of carrots, celery, onion and garlic in olive oil and steamed the quinoa with some salt, garlic and mixed Indian spices (I had a small tupperware that was begging to be used – a homemade ground blend of toasted cumin seed, cardamom seed, coriander seed from the garden, turmeric and pepper). Yeah. Smokiness and depth. Yum.

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When I had delayed as long as possible, I started the beans and added the veggies. They took a little longer than usual to cook because of the no-soak method, but it allowed me to stick around while my neighbor’s banana muffins came out of the oven – score! When the bean texture seemed just right, I pulled them off the heat, added some salt and a frozen chipotle pepper in adobo, and mixed the whole shebang together. After taking this pic, I had another idea and ran out to the garden and pulled a few turnips. A quick rinse and sautee later and this dish came together.

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Introducing…beanoa!

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I’m a little obsessed with my two Chrismas cookbook treats – the first is one I bought myself – Dorie Greenspan’s Baking.  I need to put it away.  Seriously.  I’ve made far too many baked goods, and my pants are getting a little too tight for my tastes.  The title to this post also refers to my midsection at this point.  But damn, the chewy chunky blondies?  Yeah man.

My lovely and wonderful sister gifted me another beautiful one, the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.  It’s not the book you pick up when you’re looking for a quick and easy supper recipe, because many of the dishes are time and/or labor intensive.  It’s perfect for a special treat, though.  Everything sounds amazing, and it’s fun to leaf through, imagining.  I’ve made two dishes so far – their famous roasted chicken and a bean dish that was to die for.  The chicken was an amazing discovery, because using a few of their small tricks, you can turn out a deliciously tender and moist chicken.  It’s all about salting the chicken heavily and early, using a small bird and roasting it at a very high temperature.  I’ll never roast a chicken the same way again – it was delicious.

To go with the chicken, I took on another recipe from this book – Fagioli all’Uccelletto.  Y’all know my obsession with the beans, and the herb section of the garden has been thriving lately, so this was a natural choice.  You should start this a day early (just like the chicken), to cook the beans and let them sit overnight to become more tender and creamy.  I used Rancho Gordo’s Good Mother Stallard beans, and they plumped up to become the most creamy, delectable beans I’ve ever tasted.

Fagiolo all’Uccelletto

1/2 cup diced ripe red or gold tomato or chopped drained canned tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns – if you’re not interested in the occasional
spicy bite, you can grind them
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
a leafy sprig of fresh sage
a leafy branch of fresh thyme
a small sprig of fresh rosemary
a sprig of fresh flat-leaf parsley (sprig, sprig, sprig)
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1-2 ounces cleaned wild mushrooms, chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked beans with their cooking liquid, cooked a day or two in advance

Warm about half the olive oil in a 3-quart saute pan or a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, stir and cook until translucent.  Add the peppercorns.  Smash up the herbs a bit to release their flavor, then toss in with the onions.  Stir in the garlic and mushrooms.  Raise the heat slightly, stir and cook until the onions at the edges of the pan are just “threatening to color” (don’t you love that phrase?).

Reduce the heat to low and add the rest of the olive oil and the beans, with most of their cooking liquid.  Add the tomatoes.  The beans should be just covered – add a little more liquid if they aren’t.  Bring to a bare simmer and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste.

Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, uncovered.  If the beans seem shy on sauce, or if the sauce seems pasty, add more liquid.

About 10 minutes before serving, reheat the beans, stirring gently once or twice over low heat, being careful not to boil.  Take out the herb stems and remove any stubborn leaves into the sauce.

My neighbor brought over some rice, so we had it with the beans, but I had the leftovers the next night on their own, with some steamed veggies, and it was just as delicious.  Pleasingly, pleasantly plump. Thanks, Jen!

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Senate Bean Soup

According to custom, bean soup must be on the menu every day in the Senate dining areas. I came across the famous recipe when deciding what to do with my lovely Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye beans, and couldn’t resist it. How much easier does it get, really? Four basic ingredients that can be set and forgotten about. Because that’s what politicians love, isn’t it? Basic things with no frills or confusion, that don’t cost a lot of money… hmm.

I so highly recommend this soup. The ingredients, or rather – the lack thereof – gave me pause, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the taste – no description or picture does it justice. The beans are super tender and buttery and perfectly exhibited in this simple soup. It’s super.  And costs about $5.00.  You should make it today.

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The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe

2 pounds dried navy beans
four quarts hot water
1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the navy beans and run hot water through them until they are slightly whitened. Place beans into pot with hot water. Add ham hocks and simmer approximately three hours in a covered pot, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Dice meat and return to soup. Lightly brown the onion in butter. Add to soup. Before serving, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

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The wildfires have been raging all week here in San Diego – so many people have been evacuated, and now over 1500 homes have been destroyed.  It’s totally surreal, because even though the fires are happening all around, you’d hardly know it from where I live.  There’s the tell-tale haze in the air, and a faint smoky smell, but we’ve been spared much of the exposure here in Ocean Beach.  Even so, they keep saying that the air quality is really bad, so we’re encouraged to stay indoors and limit activity.  To avoid becoming too news-laden and freaked out, I took on a few kitchen projects.  My camera is still traveling, so no pictures this week.  You’ll have to trust me – this is good stuff.  It’s a little time consuming, so I’d save it for a lazy Sunday.  Or a hazy Wednesday, if you’re in SD.

Three Sisters Baked Beans (adapted from Vegetarian Times)

1 cup dried beans (I used Vaquero)
1 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 canned chipotle peppers
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano (thanks, Mom!) 
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
15-oz. can hominy, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
4 cups winter greens (such as collards, kale, chard)

Rinse, soak and cook the beans.  Reserve the cooking liquid and add enough water to make 4 cups. 

In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups liquid, sun-dried tomatoes, chipotles and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, and then transfer tomato-chipotle mixture to food processor and process until smooth; set aside.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, oregano and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, about 4 minutes. Add squash and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Stir in beans, hominy, molasses, tomato-chipotle puree and remaining 1 cup liquid. Cover, transfer to oven and bake 40 minutes.

Remove bean mixture from oven and stir in vinegar. Serve hot.

I ate the dish at this point and loved it.  On the reheat, though, I added some greens and it came to a whole new level – I’d recommend their addition – I bet even stirring them in after baking the beans would wilt them enough.  Yum.  Hearty and comforting, and perfect for eating in front of the tv, watching for any good news that might appear.

An addition: I received this attachment of homeopatic remedies to fire-related symptoms in an email from my massage school. Hopefully it will come in handy for some.

For acute anxiety, fear, shock or grief:
Rescue remedy drops or spray: Take under the tongue or pour into a water bottle and sip throughout the day. See dosage information on the bottle.
Rescue remedy be used together alone or together with any of the following homeopathic remedies:
Aconite 30c/200c: for any illness that arises from fright
Ignatia 30c/200c: for acute grief or loss.
Pulsatilla: for anxiety in children (or adults) who are weepy, clingy and want to be held.
Calcarea carbonica: for undue fear of calamities or natural disasters. They cannot sleep due to the fear of losing their homes or loved ones.
Phosphorous: for anxiety in open, excitable types who want to be able to help everyone and get ill seeing the suffering of others.
Natrum Muriaticum: These types are equally as sensitive to the suffering of others, especially if they see any injustice. They are more serious or closed than Phosphorous types. This is also useful for grief, especially long-standing or silent grief, where they are not able to cry, or hide their tears behind a brave face.

For sore throats from exposure to smoke:
Echinacea and goldenseal throat spray: take as directed on the bottle
Home-made ginger tea: Cut up fresh ginger root and add to water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer. Drink throughout the day. (This will also help with mucus)
Zinc or Propolis throat lozenges

Eye irritation from smoke:
Try to use goggles when outside to protect your eyes. Use saline solution to rinse your eyes. If redness continues use Euphrasia eye drops or take homeopathic Euphrasia orally. For tearing, burning eyes that feel like you’ve been peeling onions, use Allium cepa (Especially if you also have a watery, burning nasal discharge)

General advice: Smoke exposure increases your need for Vitamin C, thus I recommend increasing your intake of Vitamin C during this time. Grapefruit seed extract can help your immune system deal with the air pollution.

Information provided by Tammara Guterman, homeopathic practitioner.

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