Archive for the ‘Dried Beans’ Category

A Stir-fry with Indian Spices

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

2 handfuls baby red, gold & purple potatoes
1 handful green beans
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
Onion, chopped

Indian Spices (mix & match as you like or use everything as I prefer):
1/4 Tsp Tumeric
1/2 Tsp Black Mustard Seed
1/2 Tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1/2 Tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, cut in match sticks
15 Curry Leaves (optional)
Pinch of Asafetida (optional)
Dash of ground Fenugreek (optional)
Dried Red Pepper

Oil for stir-frying
Melted ghee or butter for finishing (optional)
Fresh coriander leaves & lemon wedges for garnish

Boil the potatoes till just tender, then cool and cut in halves. Steam green beans till they turn dark green. Drain chick peas and dice the onion.

Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat, add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop add the ginger and curry leaves (if using). Add cumin, coriander seed, dried red pepper broken in half and let sizzle for a few seconds. Add onions, turmeric and asafetida/fenugreek if using. Add potatoes and toss with the onions and spices, letting them begin to brown around the edges. Add drained garbanzos, cover and let steam briefly. Remove lid, toss in green beans, and remove from heat. Adjust salt and add a little melted ghee or butter over the top for added flavor if you like.

Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh coriander if using. Serve with warmed Indian flat bread (naan, roti, chapati, parathas), yoghurt, and some mango or lemon pickle, or chutney.

NOTE: Indian flatbreads, curry leaves and mango & lemon pickles are all available at the Indian grocery at 42nd and Walnut next to the Wawa.

What to do with Arugula, Part II

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Arugula is a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins and minerals and esoteric organic compounds with long scientific names to cure whatever ails you. One square foot of garden real-estate will grow more than enough for one person. Only problem is that when the weather gets hot, so does the arugula.

So when your arugula is too hot for the salad bowl, tame it in this great tasting wilted salad with garbanzos and an oriental-flavored vinaigrette from Mark Bittman.

1 cup dry garbanzos
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 heaping Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
4 cups arugula leaves from the garden

1 smallish red onion or sweet Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, halved and sliced thinly

4 hard-cooked eggs, quartered (optional)

Soak garbanzos overnight, rinse well, and simmer slowly in ample salted water till soft but not falling apart.

Heat the olive oil gently in a deep skillet and when hot, add the ginger, cumin and garlic, stirring constantly until fragrant. Add garbanzos, salt & pepper and simmer gently until beans are hot and have absorbed some of the oil, about 3 min.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 teaspoon honey. Mash a few garbanzos to thicken and texturize the dressing. Add the arugula and onions and toss till arugula is wilted. Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar.

Serve warm. Garnish with hard boiled eggs to make a light meal.

NOTE: Avoid wimpy pre-packaged “baby arugula” from the store, it doesn’t have the oomph to make this salad sing.

Easy Pasta (or Navy Bean) Salad

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

It’s the time of year to harvest the last of our over-wintered chard before it bolts and goes to seed. Here’s a recipe to put the last of those greens to good use.

* Chard, or a mixture of chard, kale, spinach, or other greens that happen to be available
* Sun-dried tomatoes
* Pasta (or cooked navy beans)
* Olive oil
* Feta cheese or toasted pine nuts for garnish

Cut the sun-dried tomatoes in thin strips and soak in a little boiling water.
Remove the stems and central vein from the chard and cut leaves into 3″ pieces.

In a large pot, heat lightly salted water to boiling and add chard or other greens. Cook a minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. Cook the pasta al dente in the water that the chard was cooked in. Drain.

Combine the chard, drained sun-dried tomatoes, and pasta (or cooked navy beans) in a bowl and dress with olive oil. Garnish with feta cheese and/or toasted pine nuts and serve.

*NOTE: I used an interesting pea-shaped Sardinian pasta called Fregula Sarda which I found at Claudio’s in the Italian Market. It was very good. Cooked navy or other small white bean would be an interesting variation of taste and texture.

Chard & Fava: A Simple Peasant Lunch

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

It’s nice to make this ahead of time and leave on the kitchen counter so when you get back from a morning’s gardening, sweaty and tired, it is ready. It’s really good eaten at room temperature, and makes a satisfying lunch.

1 cup split, skinned fava beans (you can get these at Claudio’s in the Italian Market)
Salt & pepper

Chard (or chicory or dandelion greens), torn in bite-sized pieces

For dressing: lots of good olive oil

Wash the split fava beans, put in a small pot and cover with enough water to reach about 2 inches above the beans. Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until they get the consistency of mashed potatoes. Turn off the heat, salt to taste, and cover.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the chard or other greens, and cook only till tender. Drain and set aside.

When it is time to eat, put a scoop of the fava bean puree on a plate. Next to it, place a scoop of chard or greens. Pour a goodly amount of olive oil over both the bean puree and the greens, season with sea salt and cracked pepper, and enjoy.

- Barb McKenzie

Black Beans with Epazote

Friday, July 1st, 2011

The ancient Mayan word for bean is bu’ul, plural is bu’ul-ob (the ‘ is a glottal stop)

Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides) is a rough, weedy plant with pungent taste and pointed serrated leaves, a native of tropical America and used a lot in central and south Mexico but not much in the north and northwest. Barbara McKenzie, who always has some in her plot, would be happy to share if you want to try it.

This recipe is from Diana Kennedy’s “The Cuisines of Mexico”. Diana writes: “It is very much an acquired taste, but after a while to cook black beans without it is unthinkable”.  I agree!

1 lb black turtle beans
1/2 a large onion, peeled
about 10 cups water
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil (Diana uses lard)
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
2 large sprigs epazote

Wash the beans, drain, and add to a pot (earthenware is best if you have one). Cut the onion in half vertically, then slice into very thin half-moons and add to beans (this looks like a lot of onion for the amt of beans but the onion disintegrates during the cooking and becomes part of the great soupy liquid). Add water and olive oil, bring to a boil, turn down to a slow simmer, cover and cook for about 2 hours or until the beans are almost done. Add water along the way so there is always ample liquid.

Add the epazote and salt and cook for an additional half hour or until the beans are very soft. Set aside, preferably overnight. There should be plenty of soupy liquid

Diana writes: “Frijoles de olla are traditionally served, beans and broth together, in small earthenware bowls, after the main course and before the dessert”.

Herbs to use when cooking dried beans…

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I am currently cooking my way through “Fagioli: The Bean Cuisine of Italy” by Judith Barrett. Since dried beans are the basis for so many salads, soups and entrees, I was interested in which fresh garden herbs Italians traditionally use to flavor dried beans during the initial cooking period.

The general idea is to soak the bean of choice overnight, then drain, rinse and add fresh water, herbs, & sea salt, and simmer slowly until done. Beans are usually stored in the fridge with their cooking liquid until used in another recipe Here’s a summary of what herbs go with which bean in the initial step:

White beans (cannellini, navy, great northern) — sage only, sage & whole garlic clove, bay leaf only, whole garlic cloves with bay leaf, or rosemary.

Cannellini only: Rosemary alone or rosemary & garlic are good, as is sage and garlic. Cannellini are also good with fresh marjoram.

Chick Peas — bay leaf goes surprisingly well with chickpeas, and lots of Italian chick pea recipes call for bay leaves during the initial cooking period. Cynthia Rafferty’s bay leaf tree is a good source in the garden. Sage and garlic are good alternatives to bay leaves. Rosemary and garlic also go well with chick peas.

Split and Skinned Favas (available at Claudio’s in the Italian Market) — bay leaf

Red Kidney beans go well with bay leaves and garlic

Lima – sage

Dried beans in general– Summer savory