Week 6-The Whole Legume Family

This week we decided to make one of our favorite lentil recipes. We had the lentils in our cupboard, so it seemed pretty sensible. Just to be on the safe side, we also made some more of those great refried beans. We had some of those with our friends last Saturday night. We did hot dog tortas, which, obviously, completely negates the fact that the beans are vegan, but alas.

It’s strange, because I am just now realizing that I’m pretty sure I have never actually posted a picture of the Spiced Spinach Dal that we made this week, even though we have made it at least 10 times. No surprise then that I didn’t take any pictures of it this time either, right?

So, I’ll tell you what it looks like. It’s kinda brown but then it has some green in it too (from the spinach). It’s also kinda soupy, but then the rice soaks it up and turns the same color brown. Perhaps you see why I don’t take any pictures of it. My food photography leaves something to be desired as it is, so I think it is best if I don’t take pictures of brown stuff.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. It is good. And you can make it in the crock pot. So, it is easy. Easy and Good. Oh yeah, and healthy.

I’ll post a picture of the snow instead.

this is not a picture of dal

Week 5-Baked Brazilian Black Beans

I realize that this is a little bit late. The last few weeks have been those sort of stressful weeks where your life isn’t any busier, but the things happening to people around you make you feel like you don’t have any time to do anything. Also, I was going to post this last weekend, but I was away from my cookbooks and couldn’t find the recipe online.

We have a new obsession: plantains

This might not be a surprise when you consider that a word was made, bananaganize, to describe how we deal with our bananas. I don’t know why Hank started separating and organizing bananas (actually, I do. His mom does it.), but I don’t recall it taking much convincing for me to do the same.

bananaganized

So, as I was flipping through ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’ by Mark Bittman, this recipe for Baked Brazilian Black Beans with plantains in it definitely caught my eye. Here’s the recipe with my comments included:

Makes: 4 Servings (For the first time this was actually accurate for us.)

Time: About 1 hour with cooked beans, largely unattended (I honestly never keep track of how long it takes me to make something.)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh chile (like jalapeno or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste (We used jalapenos)
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger (We always keep our ginger in the freezer. When we want some, we take it out, and use a Microplane zester/grater to grate it. There is no need to peel the ginger. This basically makes ginger fluff, and it is wonderful.)
  • 1.5 cups chopped ripe tomato (about 12 ounces; canned are fine; don’t bother to drain) (We used a jar that we canned this past summer.)
  • 1 large yellow-black plantain or ripe banana, peeled and cut into chunks (We, of course, used the plantain.)
  • 3 cups cooked or canned black beans with about 1 cup of their cooking liquid (Dried black beans all the way!)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Rice (We had it on brown rice, but Mark says you can eat it with rice, bread, tortillas, whatevs.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Put the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chile and ginger and cook for another minute, stirring.
  2. Transfer the onion mixture, along with the tomato and plantain, to a food processor or blender and puree. (I only put half of the plantain in the food processor. The other half I chopped up and put into the bean mixture. This gave a little extra texture to the dish and provided wonderful bites of intense plantainy goodness.)
  3. Combine the tomato mixture with the beans and thyme in an ovenproof dish. Taste and add salt and pepper, then cover and bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

avocado vacuum

Guys, this was good. Really good. Of course, we added avocado and Greek yogurt to make it even jazzier.

The most important lesson I learned from this meal: If you are going to eat it for lunch at work the next day, make sure to check your teeth after you eat. Black beans can be brutal.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4-Vegan refried beans

We had a lot of fun with these. I have no idea why that is the adjective that I decided to use. How can beans be fun? I guess we had fun eating them. The recipe made enough for 2 dinners, one lunch, and enough to freeze for another meal (I think those lived in the freezer for about 2 days until we got them out to make nachos tonight).

As you can see from the following pictures, we had a lot of yummy toppings lying around. Pretty much everything except for the tortillas and plantains we had as extras from making other meals and snacks.

mashing into an inappropriate consistancy

a plethora of goodies

i want these on everything that i eat

burrito porn

Here’s the recipe:

Smoky Chipotle Refried Beans
From Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run

3 cups dried pinto beans
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
Half inch piece dried Kombu seaweed (optional…we did not use this)
1-2 dried whole chipotle peppers or canned chipotles in adobo to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried epazote (we did not use this, but added cilantro instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and a half teaspoons sea salt

Soak the beans in water to cover by 2 inches, 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander a few times, then transfer to a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, seaweed, chipotles, and spices. Add water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, or until the beans are soft and cooked through.

Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of the liquid, remove the seaweed. Remove the chiles, or leave one in if spicier beans are desired. Cool the beans for 15 minutes, then place in a food processor along with half cup of the liquid and process until smooth. If desired, you may thin the beans with additional cooking liquid.

Return the pureed beans to the pot with the olive oil and salt. Simmer over low to medium-low heat for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve warm.

Makes 7 cups, 8-10 servings.

Menu: January 19-25, 2013

Saturday-Yam and peanut stew (we already made this and it was outstanding.)

Sunday- Swupper

Monday- Pad Thai with broccoli (from ‘The Best Simple Recipes’ from America’s Test Kitchen)

Tuesday- Smoky Chipotle Refried Beans in burritos(this recipe came out of ‘Eat & Run’, which is Scott Jurek’s book about being a vegan ultramarathoner.)

Wednesday-  probably leftovers

Thursday- Stone Hearth Pizza. We’ve got a Groupon that we need to use.

Friday- We have been saving up our monthly eating out money and are using it at Grill 23

Saturday- Hot Dog party at our place!

Beans, beans for every meal

Ok, not every meal, but we have been making a batch once a week that gives us 6-8 servings. When we decided to try and shift some money around in our budget, we decided to save grocery money by making rice and beans once a week. In theory, this is a great idea, but rice and beans for 3 or 4 meals a week can get a little bit boring. So, we have decided to try and mix it up every week. Rice and beans will still make an appearance, but the main goal is to have beans once a week.

This past week we stuck with the R&B (that’s rice and beans, not music you make love to) combo.We went ahead and added some ‘awesomesauce‘ though. This ‘awesomesauce’ sounds stupid, I know, but it was kinda awesome. I’d be tempted to put it on other things as well: pasta, corn chips, my finger, stuff like that.  We threw some pepper jack cheese on top and scarfed it down.20130117_184001

Tune in next week for vegan refried beans.

How we spend our weekends

I would say that at least 6 hours out of every weekend we spend cooking. Not only do we like to prep things for the week ahead, but we like to cook a big meal as well, usually on Saturday. This weekend was no different.

Hank was working on some freelance librarian mind melding, so I spent Saturday in the kitchen, wearing my new fancy pants apron that I got for Christmas (I took a break to clean our yoga mats, which might be the most rewarding thing that I have done in a few days). My hours spent in the kitchen produced a loaf of homemade bread, vegan tofu spread for pizza, and all of the fixins for the curry that we were making that night.

We had soaked some chickpeas overnight (I’m not sure if I have said this before, but if you have only ever eaten chickpeas out of the can then you are really missing out. Dried chickpeas are super easy, don’t have that slimy film that comes in the canned version, and taste possibly…300% better.), so I boiled them until they were soft. I also made homemade curry paste. This was a first, and we may never buy it out of a can again. Jamie Oliver has a bunch of recipes in his ‘Food Revolution’ cookbook. I made the Jalfrezi. I could have ate it by the spoonful. Make it, guys. Make it! Then there was lots of chopping since it was veggie curry we were making, and I made some brown rice. It was possibly the best curry that we have made, and we make a lot of curry. I only have one picture to show for all of this, and it is hard to tell, but it is at least a gallon of curry.

bubblin' away

Today is Sunday, and I am happy to announce that we are having pizza twice today, and I don’t mean that we are having pizza and then we are having leftover pizza. I mean that we went out to get pizza for lunch (Jess and Kara, we may have driven 4 hours round trip to get this pizza), and are now making homemade pizza for dinner. I’d call this day a win!

Menu: January 6-12, 2013

We didn’t do so great on the budget this week, but it was worth it for the Party that we had on Sunday (post to come).

Sunday- The whole Sway gang will be over for a Swupper Festival of Awesome. Another themed party to celebrate the holidays and our family awesomeness.

MondayGrilled Halloumi and Quinoa Salad

Tuesday- Zucchini Quesadillas

Wednesday-  Cuban Black Bean Soup (our weekly bean meal)

Thursday- Hot and Sour Mushroom, Cabbage and Rice Soup (We actually ate this on Saturday night, but we have so many leftovers that we will be able to eat it again.)

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- TBD