Archive for the ‘Beans’ Category

Swiss Chard with White Beans and Tomatoes…(and the Zombie Apocalypse)

I seem to have a neverending supply of Swiss chard in my garden. It didn’t die during the truly freezing temps this winter or during the freak Spring snowstorm that hit a few weeks ago after many days in the 70s and 80s. Yeah, so I can’t manage to grow tomatoes under perfect conditions, but chard?? Sure. Whatever. Good thing it’s so good and will obviously still be around to feed us all when the Zombie Apocalypse* finally rolls around.

Apocalypic chard: saving you from zombies since 2011.

Swiss Chard with White Beans and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

*1 bunch of Swiss chard (or whatever other hearty green you might have)

*1 can (or equivalent) white beans

*7 oz grape tomatoes, halved

*2 tbsp olive oil

*5 cloves garlic, minced or grated

*Splash of white wine or vegetable broth

*Salt and pepper, to taste

To Make:

*Heat oil in a large pan & add garlic.

*When garlic is just barely fragrant, add the greens & saute until they cook down.

*Add beans & tomatoes, salt & pepper and incorporate thoroughly.

*Here’s where you can splash in your wine or stock to make sure the mixture isn’t too dry.

*Simmer until heated through & you’ve achieved your desired consistency. (I usually let mine go for at least 25-30 minutes while I work on getting Gemma to bed)

Survey Says:

This has turned out to be a fantastic way to use up the Swiss chard!  Gemma asks for seconds every time she has leftovers for lunch.

 

*Some people think that having boats or weapons or huge stashes of food or toothpaste or deodorant or gold or power washers is going to save them from zombies. I, however, believe Swiss chard is the key. You can thank me later by not tearing me to bits when you turn into a zombie.  Is it that obvious that I’ve been immersed in The Bloggess’ book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”?  Seriously.  We should probably just pretend that this blog post never happened.

 

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I cooked dried beans in the slow cooker! Ask me how!

Well you don’t really have to ask me how.  That’s the point of this post.  I’m not only going to tell you how to do it, but I’m going to give you a little info about why you should.  Boom.  It’s like two posts in one.  One where I’m all helpful and out to teach you something that’s going to save you money.  Another one where I’m all super bossy and up on my proverbial soapbox, because seriously…does soap even come in boxes anymore, or are those just something that we can find at Pottery Barn?  “My living room will SO not be complete if I don’t get the PB Soapbox to put in the corner, but if you think yours is going to be OK without it, then you’re probably right.”  **insert disapproving look and shaking of the head here**

Yeah…so…fun with dried beans.

You are all very aware of my legume obsession.  I have not made any attempt to hide it from you.  The worst part about this obsession, however, is the sheer number of cans that come through my house and out into the recycling pile in any given week.  Disgraceful.  Not only disgraceful because although I’m recycling that metal still took a lot of resources to make, but also because there are some pretty nefarious things that can be found in cans.  BPA is the big one, and although I am FAR from an expert on cans and BPA it is still something that concerns me.  BPA can leech from the cans into the food within.  Yuck.  I also decided to embark on this adventure because it is in my interests financially to make my own beans.  If you only eat them every so often, then this may not be for you.  If you are like me and you find yourself spending half of your Trader Joe’s bill each week on canned beans, then you’ve come to the right place.  All right.  I think that’s enough with the crazy.  The process that follows is SUPER simple and really easy.

Cooking Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker

from A Year of Slow Cooking 

Ingredients:

*16oz (by weight) dried beans (so far I’ve used garbanzo and white)

*Water

*Yes…that’s it!

To Make:

*Pick through the dried beans and get rid of any that are broken in half or that look gross.

*Put the beans in a large bowl and cover (+ 2 inches)  with water.

*Soak overnight, or at least 6 hours.

*Dump the water from your beans and move them to your slow cooker (at least a 4qt cooker).

*Add enough water to the slow cooker to cover (+ 2 inches) the beans.

*Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. (the chickpeas were perfect at 8 hours, but the white beans were ready at 7.5.  Get to know your cooker and see what really works for you.)

*Drain the beans and let them cool.

*When they’ve cooled, add about 1 2/3 cups to plastic freezer bags. (This is the right amount for a can of beans)

*Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer (flat for more convenient storage)  for 6 months.

 

Survey Says:

This is just awesome.  You all know how much I love (and depend on) beans, so to finally have a super easy way to deal with them myself is liberating!  I think I’ve always been afraid of overcooking them or having to spend hours monitoring them on the stove, but the slow cooker eliminates both of those problems.  Use them as you would any canned beans!!

Vegan White Bean Burgers

This cooking thing that I seem to have gotten myself into has changed my life in a rather unexpected way.  You see, my friends, I have lost the taste for some of my (previously) favorite convenience foods.  Frozen pizzas (and even take-out pizzas) are bland and greasy, jarred pasta sauce is sweet and fake tasting, and worst of all…my beloved Gardenburgers just plain old don’t taste good anymore.  Like not at all.  Like to the point where that when I smell them cooking (when Jake or I cook one up for Gemma) my stomach lurches.  This, my friends, is both a blessing and a curse.  Blessing:  a pack of 4 runs between $3.50-$5+ a pop.  Curse:  It is seriously one of the easiest lunches around.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to cope with this not only for myself, but also for Gemma.  She has a Gardenburger for lunch or dinner at least twice a week and that’s a convenience that I’m not quite ready to give up.  So here I venture into the world of making my own “burgers”.  I’ve been looking for something that will freeze well so I can have it on hand much like I would with the Gardenburgers, and I’m hoping that what follows fits the bill and will put me well on my way to freedom from store-bought veggie burgers!

White Bean Burgers
(makes approximately 4 thin, round burgers)

adapted from What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?

Ingredients:

15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 tsp. rosemary, minced

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

*In a mixing bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher.

*Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

(if you find that your mixture is wet, add more breadcrumbs to get desired texture)

*Form into patties of your desired shape/thickness. (I prefer patties that are on the thin side)

* Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

*Heat a pan over medium/medium-high heat with enough olive oil to coat the pan.

*Add patties, and fry until browned.

Survey Says:

I think we have a winner!!!  These were tasty and really easy to make.  Most bean burger recipes have an egg in them, but I’ve found that this makes the mixture much harder to work with.  If you keep your hands wet with these, you shouldn’t have any problem getting them to stick together.  Gemma inhaled hers (that I topped with melted shredded mozzarella cheese) and Jake tried to go back for more.  We topped ours with Trader Joe’s pesto and tomato slices.  I can’t wait to make more of these to stash in the freezer!

Pasta e Ceci

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I don’t do meal planning.  I am in AWE of the people who can plan their meals a week or a month at a time and stick to it.  I never know what I’m going to feel like from one day to another, so I just keep my arsenal of basics stocked up and I go from there.  This morning while catching up on Facebook, I was reminded exactly why meal planning isn’t an attractive notion in this household.  My friend Chiara, who happens to live in Rome, posted something about the weather getting cooler, and that this would be a good time to snuggle up and eat some Pasta e Ceci. I actually have eaten Pasta e Ceci in Rome & had totally forgotten about it until Chiara mentioned it!  It was at the Antica Birreria Peroni one afternoon when we popped in for lunch on our trip this summer.  Super simple and delicious, but I had never made it.  That has all changed now, and I give you…

Pasta e Ceci

adapted from italian-ate.com

Ingredients:

*1 can chickpeas, drained with some liquid reserved

*14 oz crushed tomatoes

*8 oz ditalini pasta (I suppose another smallish pasta would suffice, but ditalini seems pretty traditional)

*2 tbsp olive oil

*6 cloves of garlic, grated or minced

*salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

To Make:

*Saute garlic in olive oil until it begins to become fragrant.

*Add the tomatoes to the garlic.

*Season mixture to your taste (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes) and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

*Add chickpeas to the sauce with reserved liquid and continue to let simmer.

*Boil pasta until it is about halfway cooked, then add it to the sauce to finish cooking completely.

*Pour yourself a glass of Italian red wine (Chianti, Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola) to congratulate yourself on what promises to be a fantastic dinner.

*Sip on your glass of wine.

*This is ready to serve when the pasta has reached al dente doneness and when you’ve refilled your wine glass.

Please excuse the terrible phone photograph, but the battery for the real camera was dead!!

Survey Says:

Perfection in a bowl!  I think that Jake was a little wary of it to begin with, and seriously, who could blame him?  We eat a lot of pasta/legumes/tomatoes/garlic in this house!  He did, however, love it and tell me that it was definitely something that needed to be made on a regular basis.  Awesome, because although it’s not necessarily quick, it’s an easy and filling  meal!

Week 3 Pinterest Challenge: Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Yeah yeah…I know…I missed Week 2 of the Challenge.  The funny thing is that I did it.  I made a great polenta, bean, and veggie dish in the slow cooker, but I just did not have the energy to write up the post.  That recipe will come a bit later because it’s a little bit more involved (and too tasty to not share with all of you), and again, I don’t have the energy to write it up!!  So as you well know by know, it always comes back to beans with me!  I’ve always thought about making my own “refried” beans, but so many recipes call for meat of some sort.  I came across the following technique on Pinterest, and pinned it right away.  As you will see in the original, you don’t need to use meat, and you can use onions and other seasonings, depending on your tastes.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I hate onions.  I really don’t like eating them, and I DEFINITELY hate cooking with them because they make my kitchen and my hands smell like hell and it’s seriously like Lady Macbeth’s “damned spot”:  I see (and smell) it even after it has seemingly been eradicated! 😉

So…to reward you for enduring the crazy rant, I proudly present you with my (more New Mexican than Mexican)…

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

adapted from 100 Days of Real Food 

Ingredients:

*2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed

*6 cups of water

*5 cloves of garlic, grated or minced

*2 ounces (1/2 of a small can) chopped green chiles

*Pinch of cumin

*Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

*Combine ALL ingredients in the slow cooker

*Cook on HIGH for 8-9 hours (I cooked mine for 9 just to make sure that they were really easy to mash)

*Drain the excess liquid from cooker, but put some/all aside to ensure that your beans reach your desired consistency

*Mash the beans with a potato masher (using the reserved bean liquid to reach your desired consistency…)  aaaaannnnddd you haaaaaave…

Survey Says:

These were REALLY good!  I actually used them to make Tofu Tostadas that same night, but that is a post for another (not so lazy) day.  Gemma loved them, and they were still good a few days later.  I assume that they would freeze well too.  I’m not sure we could keep them around this house long enough to find that out!!

PLEASE go take a look at the other participants in the Challenge!!  There is some awesome stuff over there!  I plan on easing myself into the awesome.  Look for some here around the holidays!

Baked White Bean Cakes

I know I’ve mentioned before that I have a love affair with legumes, and let me tell you…it’s a pretty sordid one.  Beans are always in our cupboard, but I’m not always inspired to do anything with them.  I have a few super simple go-to recipes, and I find myself rarely straying from them.  White beans are a favorite of mine, but I find that I have gotten lazy with them.  Sure they’re great in soup, as a dip (wow…those old photos really make my recent efforts look pretty good!) , and who could forget the mind-blowing Bruschetta ai Fagioli which was perhaps even better than the Roman appetizer from which I gathered inspiration.  Inspiration, however, is something that has been sorely lacking around here lately, so I found myself sifting through the How to Cook Everything Vegetarian app and lo and behold…I found something!  It’s neither, dip, nor soup, nor appetizer…it’s a bean cake!  Follow me…it’s made of beans, it’s a cake,  and it’s actually really good!  So, dear readers, bear with me as I present you with…

Baked White Bean Cakes

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian app for the iPhone

Ingredients:

*2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

*2 eggs, beaten

*1/4-1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

*6 cloves of garlic, grated or minced

*1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

*1/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus more if needed)

*1/2 teaspoon baking powder

*salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To Make:

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

*Put the beans in a large bowl and mash to your desired consistency with a fork or potato masher.

*Add the eggs and cheese to the beans and incorporate thoroughly.

*Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and saute the garlic until fragrant and golden.

*Stir in the rosemary and remove from heat.

*Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper to the bean mixture.

*Add the garlic to the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. (The mixture should be thick like cookie dough.  If it isn’t, this is where you can add some more flour.)

*Grease a baking sheet or place a piece of parchment paper on it.

*Form the bean mixture into 8-10 bean cakes.

*Bake for 30 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden.

Survey Says:

This is something that I would have NEVER come up with on my own, but I am so glad that I stumbled upon it while messing around with the app!  These were delicious, and I am so glad to find something to do with white beans that doesn’t involve dip!  The look, size, and consistency remind me a lot of the shortcakes that my mother in law makes with Bisquick.  Gemma ate two huge ones and I ate the plate pictured above.  Give them a try, and if you are a legume lover I promise that you won’t be disappointed!

Hell Froze Over With Muffin Cup Huevos Rancheros

Dearest Readers:  Although one of my main goals when I started this blog was to focus on eating out less often, I am an epic and complete failure when it comes to making breakfast.  Sure, I can scramble a few eggs for myself or Gemma, but when it comes to “making breakfast” for everyone (whether it be eggs, waffles, pancakes…oh sweet Jesus I hate when Jake wants to make pancakes…) I freaking hate it.  It is messy and time-consuming and it makes me want to curl up in the fetal position while consuming mass amounts of both coffee and mimosas.  We go out for breakfast at least once a weekend, and I’m pretty much OK with that.  That said…you all know me well enough by now and therefore know that I cannot resist Huevos Rancheros.  I came across the following recipe one Saturday morning while watching Food Network (and waiting for Jake to return with breakfast from our favorite restaurant down the street…I told you we love take out!!) and I knew that I was going to have to give it a try.  Father’s Day seemed like the perfect occasion, but alas, no occasion is perfect for making breakfast.  Ir was still annoying, still messy, and still freaking time-consuming…but really freaking delicious!!

Muffin Cup Huevos Rancheros

from Melissa d’Arabian

Ingredients:

*8 5-inch flour tortillas

*8 eggs

*Non-stick cooking spray

*1/2-3/4 cup green chile (or your favorite salsa)

*3/4 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)

*1/2 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (I used a sharp cheddar)

To Make:

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

*Trim the outer edge of each tortilla.  Spray each side of the tortilla with the cooking spray and press it into the muffin tin to create a little tortilla cup.

*In a bowl, mix the chile (or salsa) with the beans and season with salt and pepper.

*Put a heaping tablespoon of the black bean mixture into each cup.

*Crack an egg into each cup and bake until barely set (8-10 minutes).

*Top each egg cup with cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for another 6-8 minutes.

*Top with more chile/salsa and some sour cream, if desired.

Survey Says:

This is pretty easy and tasty as far as breakfast goes, but oh man…did it remind me why we are big on going out for breakfast!  Jake and Gemma both loved it, so I’ll probably have to give it another try…hold me.

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