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Showing posts with label beans and legumes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beans and legumes. Show all posts
21 August 2014

Improv Challenge: Beans & Bacon

I'm a sucker for Campbell's "Bean With Bacon" soup, but I don't eat it as often as I crave it as it's full of salt. And, yes, I know the Healthy Request version has half as much sodium, but that's still too much considering I'm likely to eat the entire can in one sitting. Also, quite frankly, the stuff I buy now seems neither as beany nor as delicious as the Campbell's "Bean with Bacon" of my childhood memories!

So I decided to just go ahead and make my own version of the soup for August's Improv Challenge. Sure, it's hot and humid out. Sure, the air conditioner is constantly cycling on. It's the best time ever to make soup! Or not. But I wanted soup and soup I would have.


I started by looking at the ingredients on the back of the soup can:
COOKED PEA BEANS, WATER, TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), BACON (CURED WITH WATER, SALT, SUGAR, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE), CARROTS, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2 % OF: MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SALT, SUGAR, ONION POWDER, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, YEAST EXTRACT, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVORING.
And then converted them into something I could handle:
Canned small white beans, lower-sodium bacon, tomato paste, carrot, celery, onion, bay, thyme, low-sodium fat-free chicken broth, salt, pepper, liquid smoke.
The soup I ended up with was surprisingly tasty for a first attempt ... although, admittedly, not exactly like the canned version! It's smoky, bean-y, and bacon-y and that's good enough for me. (I do find myself thinking I might get better results using finely shredded bits of smoked ham instead of bacon? My mom makes her split pea soup using the meaty bone from her Easter ham and that might work here, too).
White Bean & Bacon Soup

Ingredients
1 1lb 13oz can small white beans, drained and well rinsed
[Goya]
6 strips lower-sodium bacon, chopped fine
3 Tbsp tomato paste [Amore]
1 carrot, chopped small
1 small onion, chopped small
2 stalks of celery, chopped small
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 bay leaf
½ Tbsp dried thyme, crushed
3 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth [Pacific Foods]
Salt and pepper, to taste
Liquid smoke, to taste [Lazy Kettle]
Crispy bacon, for garnish

Directions
Pretend it is late October. Cook bacon in large heavy pot on medium-low for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, or until bacon is crispy and as much fat as possible has rendered out. Remove bacon.



Drain all but 1 Tbsp bacon fat from pot, reserving fat for another use. Add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and covered in bacon-y goodness.


Add the beans, broth, bay, thyme, and tomato paste. Cover and allow to gently simmer on low for 30 minutes.


Remove bay leaf. Puree a little of the bean mixture with your immersion blender (or puree a few cups in a "proper" blender) so your soup is half puree and half chunk (or however you like it best). Stir in bacon. Let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes (this will help the soup thicken).


Season to taste with salt, pepper, and liquid smoke. Garnish with additional crispy bacon bits, if desired.
(I apologize for my photos! I had to take them with my phone as my camera has gone missing. We had people over last weekend and I did a quick tidy hide-all-the-things before they arrived ... and I hid my camera so well I still don't know where it is!)



23 July 2014

More Beanz!

My bush green beans are quite ... prolific ... this year and I'm having a little trouble keeping up! Usually, by the middle of July, the plants have fallen prey to some hungry critter or been crispified by drought and bean production is over. This summer ... well, I'm pretty sure my cats have zeroed out my neighborhood's rabbit population and, thanks to cooler than normal temps and some decent rain, my bean and chard bed is a dense jungle! I'm not bothered that the chard is getting monstrous (it will be good whenever I harvest it) but leave beans too long and they go all woody and "untasty."

Over the weekend, I made a bean and tuna salad using one of Plated's recipes but subbed with my own green beans instead of their haricot vert as those were brownish and unappetizing looking. Anyway, the salad was dead easy to throw together -- just blanched beans, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, parsley, dill, shallot, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon, sea salt, and black pepper -- and I'll definitely make it again with more garden beans and cherry tomatoes (if, by happy coincidence the beans are still bearing when the tomatoes ripen).


The bean salad was meant to be served with oil-poached tuna, but I chose to poach my tuna in low-sodium fat-free chicken broth because the Plated recipe called for poaching the tuna in 1½ cup extra virgin olive oil and my parsimonious brain was like "Dude! That's $7 worth of oil! Duuuude! And you only keep two tablespoons! The rest gets thrown away?! WTF?" Anyway, the salad was fine served with broth-poached tuna as I ended up flaking the tuna and tossing everything together to make two meals for work.


I also made an easy minestrone with green beans, garden basil, canned tomatoes, and a farmers' market zucchini I had kind-of forgotten about in the back of the crisper. It came out pretty well for something that was just "Well, I'll saute some onion and garlic and carrots and celery and then add some chopped green beans and broth and herbs and zucchini and tomatoes and salt and pepper and just keep fiddling until it tastes right."
17 July 2014

Improv Challenge: Popcorn & Peanuts

I had a lot of fun with this month's Improv Challenge ingredients. Neither popcorn nor nuts are something I eat much of anymore as they can cause terrible gastric distress. But I love how they smell and taste and the textures ... sigh. So I set out to make something I could eat that would still meet the Challenge's requirements.


Why not, I thought, literally make popcorn chicken? Served with some kind of spicy peanut butter-based sauce, like the kind you get with chicken satay? Not wanting to spend a lot of time at the grocery store, buying ingredients I might not use again, I stuck to what I already had on hand, using the ingredient lists for Annie Chung's Thai Peanut Sauce and House of Tsang's Bangkok Peanut Sauce as a guide for my sauce.
Popcorn Chicken With Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce
Serves 2 or 3 depending on appetite and sides.

Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
3.3 oz bag microwavable plain salted popcorn, popped
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp plus ½ tsp sriracha sauce [Huy Fong Foods]
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter [Jif Natural]
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos [Coconut Secret]
2 Tbsp lime juice
Peanut oil, for frying [Whole Foods Roasted Peanut Oil]

Directions
Whisk together the peanut butter, coconut aminos, honey, lime juice and ½ tsp sriracha until well combined. Set aside until needed.

Put the popcorn in a food processor and pulverize until fine. Shake through a sieve to remove any unpopped kernels ("widows") or bits of hull. Dump sieved popcorn into a pie plate or bowl. It will be very fluffy.



Whisk the egg whites, cornstarch, and remaining ½ tsp sriracha together in a shallow bowl or pie plate.


Dip the chicken strips first into the cornstarch mixture and then into the popcorn, smooshing the popcorn bits quite firmly into the chicken to help them stick. Set chicken on a wire rack over a jelly roll pan and pop in the fridge for about 30 minutes. (I first read about "resting" the breaded uncooked chicken in an issue of Cuisine at Home and I find the breading does seem to stick better).


Heat enough peanut oil to just cover the surface of a large frying pan. Once hot, cook the chicken strips in batches for 3-4 min on each side or until beautifully golden and cooked through (use a splatter guard, if you have one, because this gets messy). Allow cooked pieces to drain on rack (not the rack that was covered it raw chicken!) as you cook the others.




Serve with spicy peanut butter sauce.
The chicken comes out very light and super crispy -- as if I'd used panko instead of popcorn -- and reminds me a bit of chicken katsu. While there isn't a lot of popcorn or peanut flavor to the chicken strips, it pairs very well with the yummy peanut sauce. Oh, the sauce! All sweet and savory at once, I want to dip so many other things in it. Like crunchy steamed broccoli or bell pepper strips ... or just a finger!


07 June 2014

Cooking With My Love: Crunchy Garbanzo Beans

Bopping around the grocery store together one weekend, The Husband asked if we had any garbanzo beans at home. I stopped dead, confused, because this is not the sort of inquiry I would expect from The Husband. "Do we have any cherry Coke? Do we have any Seriously Sharp? Do we have any microwaveable tomato soups?" Those are expected queries. Garbanzo beans ... what? Why?

Turns out one of his coworkers shared a link to a recipe for "Roasted Chickpeas," saying it was an easy and delicious snack everyone likes. And hence the perfectly reasonable question about garbanzo beans. Of course, it took us nearly a month to get ourselves together and roast the beans, but we finally did it ... and no-one shouted or got a bit stabby or told the other s/he was doing it wrong. A success, really.

The Husband skillfully stirs the beans.
Ingredients: 1 can drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 scant tsp garlic powder, 1 scant tsp salt.

Verdict: "Dunno. Garlic's not a strong as I thought it would be and I can taste the 'Cajun-style blackening'. I thought they would be crunchier."

We took the garbanzo beans out of the oven after eight minutes and a bunch had already burnt. Those that remained did not seem evenly roasted -- some were quite crunchy and dark gold while others were pale gold and still a bit squishy inside. I'm guessing we should have roasted the garbanzos at a lower temperature and stirred the pan after four minutes.

Roasty-toasty blackened beans :(
Will we make them again? Yes, but we'll use Alton Brown's recipe for "Roasted Chickpeas" because Alton has yet to fail me.
28 December 2013

(Belated) Eating the Alphabet: G is for Green Beans & Garlic

I never posted during May's Eating the Alphabet Challenge as I never got around to photographing my dish of garlicky roasted green beans before we ate it and then there wasn't enough time to remake it and photograph the redo. Unfortunate, as it was pretty darn delicious. And it's not as if I haven't made it since ... just never get around to photographing it.

But I have now! Et voilà! The belated green beans:

Supper

Roasted Green Beans with Garlic & Thyme
Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients
12 oz green beans
1 tbsp olive oil
4 small sprigs thyme, chopped
8 garlic cloves, halved if large
salt and pepper, as desired
Additional fresh thyme, for garnish

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a jelly roll pan with parchment or foil.

Lay green beans, garlic, thyme on the jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread them out on the span so that they lay flat. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes.

Roasting Green Beans

Adjust seasonings, if necessary, and serve garnished with additional thyme.
The garlic gets all nutty and, mmm, is just marvelous with the fresh thyme and tender-crisp beans.
23 August 2013

Eat More Fruits & Vegetables, They Say

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, they say, and I'm trying!

Tuna Steak w/ White Beans & Salad

I rubbed tuna steaks with a little olive oil and broiled them for four minutes per side -- leaving a bright pink center, so broil less if you want red -- and served them with white bean and tossed salads. That's vegetables on half the plate, protein on a quarter (beans are a vegetable, because I am a meat eater), and a whopping big hole where grains and dairy should be. Oh, well. Learning!

To make the bean salad, I combined one can of white beans with chopped cherry tomatoes and red onion, parsley, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, pepper, white wine vinegar, and a splodge of pesto. I let it sit on the counter for about an hour while I faffed about on the Internet and, while the flavors were good, I'm guessing they'd will be even better after a night in the fridge.
26 June 2013

Southwestern Chicken & Rice Bowl

Southwestern Chicken & Rice

As with many of the dishes I've made lately, there's no real recipe for the above -- it's just beans and rice, sliced grilled marinated chicken, and guacamole. It's yummy, though, and worth posting about simply so I remember to make it again.

The rice is my first attempt at beans and rice and I think it turned out pretty well. Maybe not restaurant-worthy, but I wouldn't be ashamed to feed it to supper guests.

Start a pot of rice. Sauté chopped red onion and garlic in olive oil. Add one can drained, rinsed black beans and a splash of broth. Season with salt, pepper, and Penzeys Arizona Dreaming. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are heated through and broth has evaporated. Give them a bit of a mash and set aside. When rice is done, add to beans and stir well. Sprinkle with cilantro and adjust seasonings as desired.

A bit of lemon or lime juice would be a nice brightener. Oh! A little lemon zest mixed in with the cilantro?

Southwestern Chicken & Rice
22 April 2013

Chard-tastic Sausage and Black Bean Stoup

Trader Joe's was selling ten ounce bags of washed, chopped, and ready-to-cook Kaleidoscope Chard for $1.99 a bag. Of course, I bought two. And then I brought them home and realized there really wasn't room in the fridge for two bags of chard. So I made soup out of one of them. (The other one I keep patting and calling "pretty" ... as if it were a new pet and not something I will be eating soon).

Red Lentils, Chard, & Sausage Stoup

This soup is based on the recipe for "Black Bean Soup with Sausage and Greens" from Beth Hensperger's Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker for Two. I made Hensperger's recipe a few years ago and, while it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped (my own fault), I'd been meaning to revisit it.

When I made the recipe before I remember it came out too thin for my taste, so I threw in a diced sweet potato and some red lentils this time 'round hoping it would help thicken things up. I also used more chard and sausage, while reducing the amount of broth, and threw in a can of tomatoes for extra flavor.

Darlings, it was fabulous. Spicy, creamy, meaty ... fab. I ate it for breakfast. For lunch. For supper. And, yes, for a snack. It's been four days and the soup is gone and no-one helped me eat it. I ate it all, yum.
Chard, Sausage, and Black Bean Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2 tsp coconut oil
1 large carrot, diced small
1 large onion, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1 cup red lentils, rinsed, drained, and picked over
10 oz bag Trader Joe's raw washed chopped Swiss chard
12 oz package (5 sausages) Trader Joe's fully-cooked spicy jalapeño chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
15 oz can Trader Joe's refried black beans with jalapeño peppers
15 oz can Muir Glen Organic fire-roasted adobo-seasoned petite diced tomatoes

Directions
Heat oil in a large pot. Add carrot, onion, celery, and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and onion is translucent. Add to slow cooker with chard, sweet potato, refried beans, tomatoes, and broth. Stir to combine. Cook on High for 3 hours. Stir and season to taste.
This is really thick soup -- much more like a stew -- so you might want to add more broth at the end. I like thick bean soups so left it as was.
07 March 2013

Quinoa & Ham Salad

The Husband does not like ham. Therefore, I seldom buy ham. However, I like ham. And Dakin Farm was offering a 1.5 pound boneless smoked ham with free cob-smoked bacon and since I needed to stock up on Cabot cheese anyway ... well, it's no surprise there's a ham in my fridge.

I've been making ham-and-cheese microwave scrambled eggs -- beaten eggs, splash of milk, shredded Seriously Sharp, diced ham, cracked pepper all in the microwave for a minute or so -- a while that's a nomilicious combination, it's not very adventurous. Also, I neglected to go grocery shopping over the weekend, so I really needed something hammy to take to work.

Ham & Quinoa Salad

Obviously, I made a salad. Salad-making has become my default cooking setting. When I don't know what to eat, I just start chopping all the things and then toss them in a bowl with random vinaigrette and call it a meal.
Quinoa & Ham Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to packet directions, cooled
15 oz. low-sodium black beans, rinsed, well drained
1 small shallot, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
8 oz cooked ham, chopped
½ cup vinaigrette of choice [Cindy's Kitchen Fresh Avocado Vinaigrette]
Chopped cilantro, as desired

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until vinaigrette is well distributed. Serve over salad greens with additional dressing on the side.
I served this salad over mache, my new salad green BFF. Not only is it tasty stuff, but mache is high vitamins A, C, K and omega-3 fatty acids. Yum.
01 March 2013

Slow Cooker Curried Lentil & Kale Soup

Sunday, I cleared a freezer shelf with this surprisingly tasty slow cooked lentil-kale-everything soup. I used low-sodium organic chicken broth, but substituting vegetable broth would easily make it vegan. (Swapping half the broth for coconut milk might also be a good trade).
Slow Cooker Curried Lentil & Kale Soup
Serves many

Ingredients
8 oz bag frozen chopped onions
8 oz bag frozen mixed pepper strips
10 oz bag frozen cubed sweet potatoes
16 oz bag frozen cubed butternut squash
2 14.5 oz cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Penzeys Maharajah curry powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp smoked paprika
30 oz bag chopped frozen kale
17.63 oz package Melissa's steamed lentils

Directions
Combine everything but the kale and lentils in your slow cooker insert and cook for 5 hours on High.

Making Kale & Lentil Soup

Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

Add lentils and kale. Stir well. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Adjust seasonings to taste -- I added a little lemon juice and sriracha for brightness.
I've been eating this for breakfast, of course, and a big bowl with some fruit on the side keeps me comfortable (and happy) until lunch time -- not surprising as the soup is full of dietary fiber and protein!
05 June 2012

Easy White Bean & Basil Salad

My herb pots and raised vegetable beds experienced a tremendous growth spurt the week we were away and, among other things, the basil already needs pinching back. Harvesting basil in the first week of June? Amazing. And delicious.

As I also suffered a surfeit of tomatoes, red onions, and white beans, I thought I'd make a bean salad to go with pan-seared tuna steaks I'd planned on making for supper. I hadn't really had a clear idea what I was going to serve with the tuna, anyway, and white bean salad seemed more exciting than my usual parslied rice and garlicky green beans.

Basil & Friends

Put chopped seeded (slice off an end and squeeze out the seeds) Campari tomatoes, red onion, capers, and fresh basil in a bowl.

Beans & Such

Add drained, rinsed white beans and your vinaigrette of choice (I used Marie's Greek vinaigrette leftover from May's Alphabet Challenge).

White Bean Salad

Give everything a good stir. Leave on the kitchen side for an hour or so to let the flavors mingle. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
17 April 2012

My First Kabobs

Several years ago, when my parents were moving house, my mother gave me her old set of stainless steel kabob skewers. I didn't really know what to do with them, having never made kabobs, but I was loathe to refuse them as I had fond memories of using them to toast marshmallow/fence with my cousins at many family picnics.

I was the Errol Flynn of marshmallow toasters, I tell you.

Anyway, the skewers sat, unused and unloved, in the back of my kitchen's junk drawer until last week when I decided it was darn well time to skewer something or let them go.

There was a pound of thawed beef chunks in the fridge I'd intended for stew, before the marvelous spring weather we've been having persuaded me that stew was the last thing I wanted to eat. Why not, I thought, skewer and broil 'em?

Beef Skewers, Marinated

I marinated the beef for two days (it was supposed to only be overnight, but ...) in McCormick Grill Mates® 25% Less Sodium Montreal Steak Marinade prepared with vegetable oil, water, and zinfandel vinegar. Sunday afternoon, I threaded the meat onto two metal skewers, lay them on a broiler pan, poured some of the remaining marinade over each skewer, and let them sit for about 20 minutes on the kitchen side.

Beef Skewers, Broiled

Then I heated the broiler and broiled the kabobs about four inches from the element for about 4 minutes on each side.

Beef Skewer Over Rice w/ Pigeon Peas

I served the kabobs on a bed of Southern Living's "Basmati Rice and Pigeon Peas" and it made for a rather nice Sunday dinner. The kabobs were tender and peppery with a good hit of garlic and the lemony basmati rice paired well with them.

Beef Skewer Over Rice w/ Pigeon Peas

Overall, I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself and expect we'll be eating a lot of meat-onna-stick this summer!
15 March 2012

Eating the Alphabet: C is for Chickpeas

I knew I wanted to use chickpeas in this month's Eating the Alphabet Challenge and so was pleased to find Oxmoor House's "Lemony Fusilli with Chickpeas, Raisins, and Spinach" posted on myrecipes.com. This was a warm pasta salad made from whole wheat pasta, lemon juice and zest, chickpeas, baby spinach, and golden raisins. With all that yellow and green, it seemed like an excellent recipe to welcome Spring!

Lemony Fusilli with Chickpeas, Raisins, and Spinach

I made this salad twice and the second time through I changed up the amounts of seasonings (the first iteration was a bit bland) and subbed fresh goat cheese crumbles for the shredded fontina as, while fontina is a tasty cheese, I thought this salad needed a tangy-sweet creaminess to balance the lemon. Also, I really like fresh goat cheese crumbles!
Pasta With Chickpeas, Spinach, and Golden Raisins

3 cups uncooked whole wheat rotini
2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (9-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
¾ cup golden raisins
¼ cup (1 ounce) goat cheese crumbles

Cook pasta as directed.

While pasta cooks, zest lemons and squeeze juice from lemons to measure 4 teaspoons zest and ¼ cup juice. Whisk zest, juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic together in a really big bowl. Add spinach, chickpeas, and raisins; toss well. (I think you could do this an hour or two ahead of time to really let the spinach, raisins, and chickpeas pick up as much flavor from the dressing as possible).

Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Immediately add the spinach mixture, stirring until spinach wilts. Taste for salt. Serve warm sprinkled with goat cheese crumbles. Serves 4.

10 March 2012

Pantry Raid: Tuna, Capers, & White Bean Salad

Restlessly pacing the kitchen at eleven o'clock Thursday evening, eager to slap together something fast and (hopefully) tasty to take to work in the morning, my gaze fell upon a small golden tin of oil-packed tuna and I had the most delicious brainstorm. I would make tuna and white bean salad! Why not?! I had tuna. I had beans. I had capers. And shallots. And lemon. Mmm, lemon! It was going to be the most awesome tuna salad ever.

IMG_3124

And, you know, it pretty much was. If you're sensible, this recipe serves two. I am not sensible and went omnomnom until it was all gone and then I wished for more.
Tuna & White Bean Salad

5 oz tin oil packed tuna, undrained
15.5 oz tin white beans, drained and rinsed
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp capers, drained but not rinsed
Lemon juice
Black pepper
Parsley
Baby spinach

Mix undrained tuna, beans, shallot, and capers together. Season with lemon juice, black pepper, and parsley to taste. Serve on a bed of baby spinach.
Tuna & White Bean Sala

I'm thinking this would be awesome in the summer with chopped garden tomatoes and fresh basil or tarragon.
18 February 2012

Kale Is For Stew

I stopped in a Trader Joe's last weekend and bought a big bag of washed chopped kale on impulse, which is the kind of thing that always happens to be when I go shopping without a grocery list. Officially, I'm the only one who eats kale in this household so I knew I was free to do with it whatever I liked. Being traditionally-minded, I made a big pot of Bon Appetit's "Kale and White Bean Stew." I had to make some changes based on what I had in my pantry, but tried to stick pretty close to the original recipe where I could. The stew came out really well and I took forward to making it again.

Kale & Bean Soup

Modified Kale & White Bean Stew

10 oz bag Trader Joe's Kale
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 shallots, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Beringer 2009 Californian Chenin Blanc (or whatever you're drinking)
1 15-ounce can Goya Habas Grandes (large butter beans), drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can Muir Glen Organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
1 cup slightly wrinkly cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups turkey broth (more if you like broth-y stews)
2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
Really good sherry or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Blanch kale in boiling salted water for 1 minute or until brilliant green. Immediately drain and plunge into a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside for later.

Heat oil in a French/Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, shallots, red onion, and garlic. Cook until tender, stirring, about 15 minutes (vegetables will probably brown a little -- I liked this but Bon Appetit said not to).

Add wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove bay. Add more broth if stew is too thick for you. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and served drizzled with sherry or red wine vinegar. Have a bit of crusty bread on the side for dunking.
(I didn't have any sherry vinegar to mix into the finished stew, but used the really delicious, fruity Katz Late Harvest Zinfandel AgroDolce Vinegar in its place and ... wow! It just made the stew sing).
09 February 2012

Lunch by Bush's Beans

I was pokin' 'round the internetz, looking for black bean soup recipes, when I found Bush's Black Best Bean Soup Meal and thought "there is nothing on that page I do not want to eat and cannot make rightnowthisminute" so I did.

Lunch :)

Best work lunch since I made that delicious curried pumpkin-vegetable soup a few weeks ago!

I did end up modifying the black bean soup a bit to keep with the pantry challenge, but it still came out pretty darn delicious.
Pantry Challenge Black Bean Soup

Ingredients
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, undrained and pureed
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free organic chicken broth
½ cup Green Mountain Gringo Roasted Garlic salsa
1 Tbsp Penzeys salt-free Arizona Dreaming seasoning blend

Directions
Add beans, chicken broth, salsa, and seasoning blend to pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or until some liquid has evaporated and soup is thickened to your liking. Serve topped with a sprinkle of dried cilantro.
I like to crumble the corn muffin into the soup and stir them together, but I am bit of a barbarian.
18 January 2012

Pantry Challenge: Clean Out The Cupboards With Soup

Trying to stay on track with the Pantry Challenge, I made a couple soups. There's nothing as comforting or forgiving as soup, after all, and it's always an excellent way to use up odds and ends.

First I made a batch of Pillsbury's "Curried Pumpkin-Vegetable Soup." It was a really tasty, easy soup with lots of good curry flavor. I admit I used 1 tsp more curry than called for and I bloomed the spices with the sauteed onions before adding the remaining ingredients, because that's what I learned from Cook's Illustrated -- always bloom spice blends like curry powder to help develop their rich, complex flavors. I wanted a flavorful soup, so I bloomed.

Did it work? I think so. Certainly, I was so interested in eating it that I never stopped to take a picture of the finished soup! This is one of the best recipes ever! Simple and healthy and yet also so rich and flavorful.

Curried Pumpkin-Vegetable Soup, Ingredients

Ingredients: pumpkin, frozen mixed vegetables, broth, curry powder, paprika, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, salt, black pepper.
Pantry challenge items used: 1 can pumpkin, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can turkey broth.

Emboldened by my success, I went on to make a big pot of Taste of Home's "Vegetable Bean Soup" which not only allowed me to use pantry challenge ingredients, but also some limp celery and ancient frozen chopped spinach.  Unfortunately, this soup was not quite as tasty as the pumpkin soup. Rich and hearty, yes, with lots of vegetable goodness and I'm sure I'll make it again, but ... the pumpkin soup was just the bomb, you know?

Vegetable Bean Soup, Ingredients

Soup!


Ingredients: black beans, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, diced tomatoes, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, no-salt powdered beef bouillon, quick-cooking barley.
Pantry challenge items used: 1 can black beans, 2 cans diced tomatoes, partial box of quick-cooking oats.
21 August 2011

Tasty Chard & Bean Soup

For work this week, I made a black bean, Swiss chard, and sausage soup based on Beth Hensperger's recipe for "Black Bean Soup with Sausage and Greens" from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two. Hot soup in August may sound crazy to you, but my work's staff room is so cold in the summer that hot soup is just the ticket!

Soup Time

Ingredients: precooked organic spicy chicken sausage, Swiss chard from my garden, low-sodium organic chicken broth, organic fat-free refried black beans, red onion, garlic, low-sodium organic black beans.

To make this soup, I heated the sliced sausage with red onion and garlic until the sausage was a lovely brown and the onion was translucent. Then I dumped the chopped chard into the pan with the sausage and gave everything a good stir 'round until the chard started to wilt. Hensperger's recipe said to discard the stems and use only the leaves, but I used the stems and leaves -- just chopped the stems very finely as if I was chopping celery for tuna salad.

Once the chard was wilted, I dumped the broth, refried beans, and chard-sausage mixture into my slow cooker and cooked everything on HIGH for 2½ hours. At the end, I decided the soup was too thin and stirred in a can of mashed up black beans and let everything sit at WARM for thirty minutes or so. This helped somewhat, but I still feel the soup was not thick enough. Especially as Hensperger's recipe indicated this soup would come out so thick that I might want to thin it with a little boiling water!

Still, this soup turned out really quite tasty and I recommend you give it a try.
22 June 2011

Tabouli(ish) Lentils

Sorrel is for SoupI planted a wee pot of sorrel in my vegetables garden about a month ago and the plant is now quite enormous. I had planned make soup with my sorrel Sunday afternoon, but it just didn't work out. I had the recipe all picked out -- "Sorrel and Potato Soup (Potage à L'oseille)" -- and was ready to go. Just needed to pick up potatoes and heavy cream at the market. Well, wouldn't you know, the market was out of heavy cream. Yes. Madness. The rest of my groceries couldn't stay in the hot car while I scouted other markets for heavy cream so I just went home and sulked a bit.

Then, I made a lentil-sorrel salad by modifying Robin Asbell's recipe for "Sorrel-Freekeh Tabouli." I used a 17.63 ounce package of cooked lentils instead of cracked freekeh, because I was in the mood for lentils. The mint and sorrel flavors work well together -- the mint mellows the sorrel's tartness while the sorrel keeps the mint from taking over.

I served this salad over lettuce greens from my garden and sprinkled it with some goat cheese crumbles. It makes for a filling lunch and I've found it will carry me through the afternoon without a three o'clock snack binge. Yay, for soluble fiber?

Lentil-Sorrel Tabouli(ish)
23 March 2011

Quick & Easy Lentil Stew

While shopping at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to pick up a packet of refrigerated steamed ready-to-eat lentils since I love lentils but almost never think about cooking with them since I lapsed from vegetarianism all those years ago.

Of course, you know what happened once I got the lentils home. Yes, I stuffed them in the fridge and would probably have never thought about them again except they (eventually) started being in the way. It seemed as if every time I reached for something, the lentils were there in its place. It was obvious I need to use the lentils and, happily, the Internetz was full of good ideas for soups and salads. When I found "Easy Trader Joe’s Recipe: Lentil Stew" over at Rookie Moms I simply knew I had found the dish for me.

Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew

Because I didn't want to do any extra shopping, I made a few changes to Rookie Moms' recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand -- basically, I swapped Campbell's V8 Tomato Herb Soup in for Trader Joe's Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup and added file powder with the cumin. Using file powder might sound a bit weird, but it's a traditional stew thickener and I quite like the flavor.

To make this stew I combined the following in a soup pot and brought it to a low simmer for about ten minutes or so:
  • 1 18.3 oz carton Campbell's V8 Tomato Herb Soup
  • 1 package pre-cooked steamed lentils
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp file powder
  • 1 baked sweet potato, cut into small chunks
Of course, if you want to be fancy, you could saute chopped onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in a little olive oil before adding the other ingredients to the pot. Also, if you'd like a thinner stew, simply dilute it with a little broth.
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