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.
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.
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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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.