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Posts tagged with Beans

Spring, sweet spring, where are you?

Made-from-scratch black bean soup was perfect as the SPRING snow came down.

Made-from-scratch black bean soup was perfect as the SPRING snow came down. by Sarah Henning

I thought I was done with winter. You know, get out the gardening supplies, put the sweaters and boots away.

But, despite Punxsutawney Phil’s “forecast,” snow is on the ground, a chill is still in the air and that whole “out like a lamb” thing belongs in the same shaming hole as that groundhog.

Fabulous.

Not really, but what else can we do but throw the calendar out the window, grab a sweater and make soup? That’s exactly what we did this weekend, and, for a change, we made soup with dried beans.

Normally, we’re a tad too impatient to do the soaking routine, even though we know it’s better for us and cheaper, too. But, in an effort to spice things up, we decided to give it a go (we normally only manage to soak garbanzos), choosing a recipe we’d never made before that starts with dried beans so they’re a blank canvas.

And you know what? Soup made this way really did taste different than all the other soups we make with canned black beans. And by taste, I don’t mean “salt level” (I buy salt-free canned beans). The texture was different — sturdier, almost.

Now, I know this recipe looks long, but it really isn’t much of a hassle. Also of note: Make sure to include one or two of garnishes at the bottom, they really kick this soup up a notch or two.

Black Bean-Vegetable Soup (Recipe from “Veganomicon” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Beans:

1 pound dried black beans, rinsed, soaked for 6 to 8 hours or overnight

6 cups water

2 bay leaves

Pinch of baking soda

Soup:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium-size onions, diced finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced finely (we used 1 cup of a frozen mix of red, yellow and green peppers)

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 stalk celery, diced finely

1 carrot, peeled and diced finely

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

3-4 cups vegetable stock

Garnishes for serving:

Lime wedges

Chopped avocado

Minced fresh cilantro

Prepare the beans: Drain the soaked beans, rinse again, and place the beans in a large stockpot. Pour in the 6 cups of water and add the bay leaves and baking soda. Cover and bring to a boil, boil for about 3 minutes, and then lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender and their skins are soft. Remove the bay leaves.

During the last 30 minutes of the beans’ cooking, prepare the vegetables. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the oil until the garlic begins to sizzle, stir for 30 seconds and add the onions and bell pepper. Stir and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions and peppers are soft, then add the jalapeño, celery and carrot. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the carrot has begun to soften, then remove from the heat.

When the beans are completely tender, stir in the sauteed vegetables and any remaining oil, plus the cumin, oregano, thyme and vegetable stock. Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the carrot and celery are tender.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool 10 minutes, add the vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Like most soups, this soup will be richer and more flavorful the next day.

Garnish each serving of soup with chopped cilantro and chopped avocado. Serve with lime wedges.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 18: Buddha bowl and homemade pizza, summer style

Pizza made with CSA peppers, homegrown tomatoes and local wheat flour.

Pizza made with CSA peppers, homegrown tomatoes and local wheat flour. by Sarah Henning

If you've followed my blog for awhile, you'll note that in the winter, I'll cook, bake and take the immersion blender out for a spin while making soup. In the summer, though, I tend to avoid any recipe that uses my oven.

That seasonal culinary flip-flop helps a bit with the "rut-like" nature of my cooking style. Yes, I like to have the same foods over and over again and it doesn't bore me in the least (Well ... it does take a very long time to bore me. Like months.) But, just about the time I get sick of something (FINALLY), the season changes enough to where I'll get the consistent urge to try something new. Or at least pull out old recipes I haven't made in a year.

Which makes this time of year a bit strange for me. It's still hot enough to be summer, but I've found myself craving, and eating, very fall/winter-type staples like sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Heck, last weekend I even got out the crockpot and made a big pot of garbanzo beans. Yes, I used the slow-cooker a month from the end of summer. This is very weird for me.

But it actually turns out that my sudden late-summer obsession with wintery foods pairs nicely with what happens to be available from our CSA. Or, at least this week it did.

So, to refresh, last week we received the following from Rolling Prairie: Pears, two baby melons, spicy peppers, sweet peppers, mushrooms, grapes and basil.

The melons, pears and grapes were devoured easily by our little fruit-loving tyke. Shocking, I know. The basil also had a home in topping sandwiches and green juice.

The peppers posed a different challenge. Yes, I love peppers to death, but this week we had so many peppers from our CSA and from our personal home garden that we had to really work to get through them all. Between the CSA peppers and the ones from our garden, we had probably 20 peppers to use. I'm not exaggerating.

So, we got creative with old favorites. First, we had a pizza night, where our toppings included not only a few of the peppers, but local red onion, homegrown tomatoes and a crust that had both local whole-wheat flour from Moon on the Meadow and local garlic from Maggie's Farm. You can see the (unbaked) results above. We tend to use this pizza dough recipe (with lots of added garlic plus a half-and-half mixture of bread flour and local whole-wheat flour).

A few nights later, we took the remaining peppers and all the CSA mushrooms and made a batch of our rut-making veggie fajitas. But instead of serving them on tortillas with all the accompaniments of regular fajitas, we repurposed them into a Buddha bowl.

This summer Buddha bowl includes fajita vegetables, quinoa, garbanzo beans and a squirt of lime juice.

This summer Buddha bowl includes fajita vegetables, quinoa, garbanzo beans and a squirt of lime juice. by Sarah Henning

You may remember that this winter and spring we were constantly making Buddha bowls, which basically consist of a grain plus veggies and sauce, mixed in a bowl. It's customizable, and we often would top quinoa or millet with our favorite roasted vegetables or sweet potatoes and some avocado.

Well, the Buddha bowl is still one of my favorite dinners, and I can't believe it took me this long to make a summer version, but I did and it was fantastic. The ingredients:

  • Fajita vegetables (We used an onion, mushrooms and a peppers)

  • Cooked quinoa

  • Cooked garbanzo beans

  • Squirt of lime juice

That's it. And it was delightful. Perfect for a nice, hardy dinner after a long run. Brown or white rice and black beans would also sub nicely in this dish, and if you don't like mushrooms, leave them out. All in all, it was a great "new" way to enjoy one of our summer favorites.

What'd we get this week? Edamame, bell peppers, frying peppers, grapes, apples, pears and cherry tomatoes. Yum!

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