A week of beans

January 7, 2010

It’s been a week of beans chez Onepot.  So, if you don’t care for beans and/or feel compelled to go straight to the comments section to explain how they give you gas, you should probably just switch to some babies-and-cookies blog now and come back tomorrow.

Still here?  Onto beans, then.  A $3.71 bag of dry black beans, acquired on Sunday when Mr. Onepot apparently found a deal he could not turn down, has been transformed into three dinners and four lunches for the two of us.

First there was this:

  • 1 giant, slightly intimidating heap of dry black beaks
  • enough water to cover the heap in the pressure cooker
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (slightly less than full; I was hungry) jar Trader Joe’s habanero+lime salsa
  • 2 jalapeno peppers + 1 banana pepper, cut into ringlets of fire
  • cilantro and scallions (you know, for prettiness)

Then I…

  1. Cooked the beans in the pressure cooker for approximately 30 minutes post-whistle.  (Of course, this would work in a regular pot as well, but the cooking time will be different.)
  2. Drained the beans.  While they were relaxing in the colander I…
  3. Sauted the onion, garlic, carrot, and peppers in the same pot for 3-5 minutes.  And finally, I…
  4. Added the beans and salsa; stirred; let it all simmer for another minute or so.

Night 1: the beans went into a tortilla with some hot sauce and queso fresco:

Night 2: the beans cuddled with some saffron couscous and rapini stir-fried with garlic and lemon:

Night 3: here they finally are, just gently revived with a can of chopped tomatoes, in a rice + beans interpretation:

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Have I mentioned how much I love my slow cooker, but resent the fact that it does just fine without me and actually seems to frown upon my frequent poking and prodding and stirring?  It seems to sternly imply that things were going just fine under its tantalizingly steamy lid until I came along with my big spoon to assault it.  And indeed, the slow cooker does turn the most unlikely ingredients into rather lovely dishes with so little involvement on my part that I can hardly claim any credit–especially if leftovers are involved.  Like in the case of this soup…

Turkey + rice + kale + sweet potato soup

  • turkey leftovers–whatever you have!  (I used just that drumstick in the picture and it was plenty, flavor- and meat-wise; however, a fistful of white meat or dark meat should work just as well, and so should a piece of the good old carcass)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 10 cups water
  • 1.5 cup rice
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste (may I recommend chipotle pepper, cayenne pepper, and some oregano?)
  1. Put everything except the kale into the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  3. Add the kale and cook for another 30 minutes.

Three-rice pudding

November 28, 2009

Remember how the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” kept Hansel in a cage and fed and fed and fed him to fatten him up?  (Oh wait–is this another one of those stories that has a gentler American version?)  Well, I’ve spent the last week feeling a bit like Hansel.  First there were the four days in New Orleans, each of which typically started with something like this:

and ended with something like this:

with a bit of something like this in between:

And then we returned home to not one but TWO back-to-back Thanksgiving dinners:


Turns out, even a scrawny woman with a pro-wrestler’s appetite needs to rest after a multi-day food marathon like that.  And you know what’s a restful, soothing, straight-back-to childhood dish that really hits the spot at a time like this?…

Three-rice pudding

  • 1.5 cup rice (combination of wild, brown basmati, arborio… or whatever you have)
  • 3.5 cups milk (skim, in our case, since that’s what we had–but how could additional fat here not be tasty?)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • a splash of vanilla
  • a dash of cinnamon
  1. Combine everything and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down and simmer on low until soft.

(If you’re using a pressure cooker–which is just perfect for this, because you don’t have to worry about the milk boiling over and making a mess all over your stove–wait until you hear the whistle.  Once you’ve turned down the heat, 15 minutes in the pressure cooker should do the trick; it will take more like 25+, and some intermittent stirring, in a regular pot.)

This is a fabulous starting point.  From here, you may decide that you want to add more sugar, or honey, or some powdered chocolate…

Best enjoyed curled up on a sofa with one husband, two cats, and three episodes of Mad Men.