Posts tagged beans

French ranchero black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas picEvery year my mom would have each of my brothers and sisters eat at least one black-eyed pea on New Year’s Day. She said it was supposed to bring you good luck for the coming year. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s is a tradition I’m now passing along to my kids.

 

I’m not sure exactly where my mom picked up this tradition, but many different cultures hail this humble bean (quizically called a “pea”) as a bringer of prosperity. During Rosh Hashanah, black-eyed peas are thought to bear good fortune, the idea dating back to mentions in ancient text.

 

In the South, the story goes that black-eyed peas became a symbol of survival and good luck because of their Civil War connection. Union troops took everything they could from the land as they left the South, leaving behind what they thought was a somewhat inedible field green, black-eyed peas.

 

Today a favorite Southern dish, especially for New Year’s, is Hoppin’ John, which includes pork, rice, and of course, black-eyed peas. I like to think that the unusual appearance of black-eyed peas–with one black “eye” nestled in the middle of each one–may also be a reason it’s become associated with good fortune. Eyes equal wisdom, something like that…

 

We infused flavor into the mild beans by using a Mexican cooking style for frijoles rancheros, then used French seasonings. I wasn’t quite sure what to call our concoction that blended a world of cuisines into one cast iron, the best I could come up with was French Ranchero Black-Eyed Peas.

French ranchero black-eyed peas

Recipe

 

Ingredients

1 large shallot, diced (about 1/2 cup)

4 cups cooked, drained black-eyed peas (I used dried ones that I’d cooked in the crockpot during the day)

1/2 cup chicken broth

5 slices bacon, cut into small slivers (the kitchen scissors are perfect for this!)

Handful of parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. white pepper

Salt to taste

Olive oil

 

Directions

  1. Bring 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  2. Cook the bacon in the olive oil until just barely beginning to crisp. Add in the shallots and the garlic and cook until the shallots become translucent and the bacon crisped.
  3. Add the beans to the pan all at once along with the chicken broth.
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in thyme, white pepper, and parsley. Season with salt. (If you’re feeling crazy add in a little smoked paprika and rosemary, too.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin hummus

Pumpkin hummus closeup picPumpkin loves garbanzo beans–the proof is in the hummus. Add pureed pumpkin into your hummus for a subtle, earthy underlying flavor.

 

The basic recipe is fast and easy to put together:

1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans

4 tbsp. tahini

4 tbsp. pureed pumpkin

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. Drain beans (reserving liquid) and place them into a food processor along with the pumpkin.
  2. With the blade running add in the olive oil and half of the reserved bean liquid.
  3. Remove the top of the food processor, scrap down the sides and add salt and tahini.
  4. Adjust the texture and flavor of the hummus using seasoning and more pumpkin, bean liquid, and/or spices.

 

For pumpkin pie hummus:

Add 1/2-1 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) and more pureed pumpkin

 

For Lebanese pumpkin hummus:

Add 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, and the juice from one lemon

Pumpkin hummus pic

 

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Fagioli Calabrese from Compari’s on the Park

Compari’s on the Park chef, Tony Yaquinto, shared his restaurant’s favorite recipe for fagioli calabrese.

Recipe
Ingredients

2 Tbs julienne fennel
2 Tbs julienne hungarian pepper (hot)
1 Link Hot Italian Sausage (cooked & chopped)
1 Tbs roasted red pepper
pinch chopped fresh garlic
3 Tbs butter beans
1 Cup fresh spinach
1/8 cup chicken stock
1/8 cup white wine (substitute: white grape juice)
2 cups cooked tubetti pasta
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
Directions

  1. Saute fennel, hungarian pepper and italian sausage in canola oil, cook until the veggies are tender.
    Add roasted red peppers, garlic, beans, and spinach, then cook till beans are hot and spinach cooks down.
  2. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock and white wine (or white grape juice).
  3. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese; simmer till creamy.
  4. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper (or crushed red pepper).
  5. Enjoy this Southern italian favorite with fresh Italian bread with butter.

Keep reading during MKES’s Chef Week, tomorrow I’ll be starting a cool giveaway!

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Quick black bean salsa

Black beans and salsa make a tasty combo. The beans give the salsa heft, while the tomatoes, peppers and lime add a punch of flavor to beans that might otherwise go—well, let’s admit it–uneaten. So if you’ve always been reaching for pinto beans or refried beans at the grocery store, go ahead a pick up a can or two of black.

These smaller beans are just slightly harder than pinto. They also have a meatier flavor. Now I could also point out that black beans top pinto in terms of nutritional value and fiber content, but what I really like about them in this dish is the color—the shiny black color pops against the red tomato and the specks of green cilantro. So if you’re family usually shuns beans, this colorful combination might just convince them to give it a try.

Now a word about the chili peppers: First, I run the knife lengthwise across the pepper, then open it up and remove the seeds. Some people wear gloves to do this but I just make sure to wash my hands well after messing with the seeds. The oil from the seeds can sting if it gets in your eyes so be careful. I add the pepper in parts—1/4 at a time. It’s easy to add a little heat and a whole lot harder to take it out if you put in too much. I’d stir all the ingredients together, let it sit for half an hour, then add more if the heat isn’t enough. I save any extras in a small plastic baggy to put into other dishes. Also, while fresh is best, you can use pickled jalapeno peppers.

Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 19.75-ounce can black beans (or similar size)

2 medium tomatoes

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 limes (or one if it’s really juicy)

1 small onion

1 jalapeno or Serrano chili pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Drain the liquid from the black beans place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and onion into small, uniformly sized pieces. Add them to the beans
  3. Remove the seeds from the pepper carefully then add ¼ to the mix. Test the heat level and add more until you reach the desired level.
  4. Squeeze the juice from two limes directly into the salsa.
  5. Add the cilantro, salt and pepper, stir and adjust seasonings, then serve with tortilla chips.
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DIY, easy heating pad

If you read my last post you’ll understand why I haven’t been doing much cooking lately. After taking care of my crew (and gratefully not picking up the stomach flu myself–thank you, Lysol!), I needed a little TLC tonight.

Enter the heating pad. It’s not much to look at, but this is the best hot pack you’ll find–and you can make your own in under 5 minutes. I used one of my husband’s thick athletic socks (it had lost its mate anyway), filled it with Jasmine rice, tied a knot in the top and viola! Hot pad.

I usually put mine in the microwave for about 1 minute, twenty seconds to get the heat just right. Keep in mind, you can use regular rice or just about any kind of beans to fill your heating pad. And you can adjust the firmness of the pad by the amount of rice or beans that you place inside. I like to squish mine between my shoulder blades, so I don’t make it too firm.

My husband tried to swap out my sock heating pad with one he bought for me at the store, but I must admit, I still like my DIY version better. (Trust me, the rice hold the heat just as well as any commercial heating pad–you’ll be amazed.)

Plus, if I ever lose it, it’s easy enough to replace!

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