Black beans are a staple in my home. Whether it is a bowl of seasoned black beans with broccoli for breakfast, or a piping hot mug of black bean chili for dinner, black beans are here to stay. My favorite way to cook black beans is with a spoonful of feta and a sprig of cilantro. What can I say, I'm fairly boring.
But not tonight. Tonight this lady is going to be fancy because black beans were on SALE last week. Okay, so I'm cheap too --oh god, that extra two cents toward saving for a house -- and so I bought 10 pounds of them.
Yes. Ten pounds. Don't worry, the house doesn't stink like poo. I used my stock pot with a LID to keep that stench in the pot...at least until I turn up the heat. When you eat enough beans, you stop tooting.
This is my recipe for chunky black bean soup. It is vegan, but you could switch it up by adding chicken or steak to it if you must. My mom always adds cheese to hers...
Roasted cauliflower, carrots, and spinach go into this warming red curry made completely vegan and completely good-for-your-soul. When I lived in San Francisco, I was able to stop into any of the hundred Asian market to pick the ingredients, but now, I have to make a solid effort to find these ingredients. In my hunt to make this Thai soup, I was able to source the lemongrass and ginger from a small market with the rest of it from the local market.
So, I always have them in stock. My kitchen is very rustic, Asian-inspired, and a little wacky. This curry is spicy, but in a warm sense and will appease kids and adults. Your entire home will smell of lemongrass, ginger, and meaty roasted cauliflower.
Spice. Fish. And everything nice. And while I know that seafood stew seems to be a summertime love, I prefer to cook it in the bare autumn, as the temperatures dip. I need something healthy and full of protein to keep me moving in the cold.
In our house, we stick to a fairly clean diet: fresh produce, fresh fish, seeds, nuts and a bit of rice. Eating out is rare, as is dairy (which doesn't mean you won't find some hand-churned mint chocolate chip in the freezer because I do).
This recipe is perfect for the paleo folk, but also delicious with a buttered slice of sourdough.
8 (6-ounce) pieces skinless Pacific cod fillet
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 pound large shrimp in shell, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pound roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
2 yellow plantains, cut diagonally into 8 pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Pat fish fillets dry and put in a bowl. Stir together lime juice, peppers, 1 tablespoon garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, then pour over fish and toss to combine. Marinate, covered and chilled, 30 minutes. Add shrimp and chill at least 30 minutes but no longer than 1 1/2 hours more.
2. Put tomatoes in bottom of a wide 5- to 6-quart heavy pot. Add the onions, then the plantains to the pot, layering evenly. Sprinkle the remaining salt. Place the fish in the pot, add the cilantro and parsley. Layer the shrimp, and finally pour the oil and marinade evenly over the ingredients.
3. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot. Adjust heat to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Chilled soup can make a great main dish during the fall because it is not cool enough for hot soup, and that is why gazpacho makes a great soup. Give this one a try, I promise the flavors will have you wishing you made enough for seconds!
Do you know what I miss more about living in San Diego? Good barbecue. Deliciously good BBQ baked beans, creamy coleslaw (with a bite of acid), and skillet cornbread. I made myself a promise the other night that I would go back to my home flavors and make BBQ baked beans that wouldn't come from a can. Gritty, honey cornbread too. Recipe to follow.
Thanksgiving left a lot of food in my fridge -- mostly turkey -- turkey wings; turkey legs ; turkey everything...turkey carcass...yup. I used the turkey bones to make a rich, marrowy stock that served as the base for the soup that I made last night. The soup is so easy -- you can use veggie leftovers and add new veggies to the soup for a rich, winter stew. It features spinach, carrots, potatoes, corn and ditalini pasta.
I love this recipe because you can eat it immediately, store some in the fridge and freeze the rest in heavy-duty bags for another night. The stew will last 3-6 months in the freezer if properly packaged.
This soup pairs well with crust bread and butter.
Chili is a great way to have a dinner party. Yes, I'm serious. A chili dinner party. Throughout my undergraduate education, I held monthly dinner parties for friends and classmates. Instead of slaving away over a plate that requires 3 components cooked to perfection (in my tiny kitchen, no way), I made of pot of something delicious that puts a smile on everybody's faces.
Given that some of my friends are vegetarians, vegans, or otherwise, I always made the dish eater-friendly. No meat. No dairy, and a gluten-free side. My three-bean chili with soyrizo always won people over.
It is rich, hearty, and healthy. The soyrizo lends a textured spicy addition to the beans. The chili can sit on the stove for hours, making it a great set-it and come back to get it dish. I make cornbread with the dish, but it does great on its own too.
My Thai yellow curry will change the way you look at dinnertime. In this house, we live on one-pot creations, primarily dishes inspired by Asian influences. Sometimes it is u-don soup, and other times it is curry.
Okay okay, it is almost always curry. Or curry soup. Or curried veggies with lentils or something of the sort. Curried quinoa anybody? Delightful.
Tonight was a curry night. After five or six years of curry cooking, I am still adjusting my recipe. But I believe that I've stumbled upon the final twist. The right brand of coconut milk.
Carrot and ginger soup is refreshing, light, and super nutritious. This soup gets made at least twice per month. Sometimes by me, but mostly by my sister who has become pretty killer at it. The carrot soup is loaded with vitamin A, healthy fats, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and zinc. This soup is a powerhouse.
Consider pairing this soup with a dollop of goat cheese, a slice of crusty French bread, white fish (halibut, cod...), or just on its own.
If you are interested in growing your own carrots, then consider heirloom seeds. Most carrot seeds can be planted in late Spring for early fall harvest, and you can plant carrot seeds every two weeks until the next summer....yep, carrots year round.