Posts Tagged ‘Easy’
No. I’m not dead. Just warped-up in work and studies. I’m in progress on a post on some great Mexican cooking I’ve been able to squeeze in. Those meals have all included this been recipe from Truly Mexican a cook book I wrote-up a while back.
This black bean recipe is great pair for a taco night or just eating over rice. The mashing and added liquid means the beans are sitting in a tasty bean sauce. In fact, I’ve had this little dish over rice for dinner countless times in the last few months. (Aside: I love my rice cooker.) Reheated, the beans and rice make a great lunch. The recipe is easy to double or triple and it’s great to have some in the fridge for a near instant meal or side.
- 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, including liquid
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Chipotel Chile Powder (or sub in a couple drops of very hot hot sauce)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the beans vigorously, mashing them slightly with potato masher or fork. Season to taste with slat.
BOOM! In under 10 minutes you’ve got yourself some awesome beans!
I love a good cook. A well contemplated meal to share with friends made over hours. But on a weeknight, after a long day, I sometimes can’t just make it happen. And, despite having roomies, I often find myself cooking for one at 9 o’clock in the evening. And I end-up eating some wacky dinners.
Tonight, my roomies ordered Thai. But, in the name of frugality and trying to reduce my weeknight dinner sizes, I was bent on making my own a meal. With my mind sluggish from a day of learning my new job, I wandered Union Market after running a few errands. After five minutes I still couldn’t form a meal. I decided to keep it simple and roll with an old favorite: eggs and black beans.
Back when I dated Meg, and right before I started this blog, we did a month challenge of a $30 a week food budget (#missedblogpost). One of our cheap meals was black beans, rice, and diced tomatoes (canned or fresh). I now often add an egg for a quick savory breakfast.
Tonight, I wasn’t ready make rice. I only had brown rice with an hour cook time. I was too hungry to wait. And, well, to be honest, I don’t like making rice (it’s the folding laundry of kitchen work). So I decided to forgo the starch.
I mixed a medium can of black beans and a small can of tomatoes in a pot. As the beans and tomatoes heated I cooked two sunny side up eggs. In under 10 minutes I had my bastardized breakfast/dinner. Mmmmm…. I’m satisfied with my crazy mid-week dinner.
Last month, Arthur started a forum on canning and Meg issued a challenge for all of us to try it out. Despite the upheaval of quitting the job I’ve had for 5 years and starting full-time culinary school a couple of weeks ago, I thought I was up to the challenge. I went to the farmer’s market and purchased about 6 lbs of roma tomatoes, thinking there was no way I could let that much produce go to waste (guilt over waste is a good motivator for me). My mom got down ye olde canning book and turned to the page(s!) on tomato canning. After reading about the threat of botulism and learning I would have to have at least 3 large vessels a-boilin’ on my mom’s stove to get this “simple” operation overwith, well, I chickened out.
But fear not! I just last weekend turned those tomatoes into some pretty delicious soup and pizza sauce, so my conscience is clear. And I came up with a way to say I’ve canned something, even though I’m not really sure putting something in a jar that keeps for a little while in the refrigerator counts as canning. However, it’s as close as I’m going to get this season! I decided to make pickles. Over the last few weeks (because that’s how long it took to wrangle space in the prime real estate that is my mom’s refrigerator), I made 4 versions of quick pickles (quick meaning they’re ready to eat in 24 hours or less), including a couple of old favorites and 2 new additions to my repertoire. I’ve included the specific vegetables I used, but you can certainly try others if you prefer.
This recipe is from Food & Wine Magazine. With cucumbers, it reminds me of my favorite store-bought (no more, ha ha!) Claussen pickles. If you’re doing cucumbers, I recommend using English cucumbers or buying organic/farmer’s market/grow your own to avoid the wax coating of store-bought cucumbers. Spice fiends, before you protest, despite the name the chiles add a delightfully SUBTLE zing to these pickles. I remove the seeds, but if you leave them in I’m sure it’s spicier.
Makes 2 Quarts
cucumbers, cut into spears, stem end removed (you’ll have to eyeball the amount depending on the size)
3 T kosher salt
2 T sugar
1 1/4 C distilled white vinegar
2 T coriander seeds
6 large garlic cloves, halved
4-6 long redor green hot chiles, halved lengthwise
16 dill sprigs
Pack cucumbers into 2 clean 1-quart glass jars. In another jar, combine salt, sugar, vinegar, coriander and garlic. Shake to dissolve salt and sugar. Add 2 cups water; pour brine over cucumbers. Tuck chiles and dill between vegetables (note: if you’re like me and try to cram that last cucumber spear in there, this step will be difficult or impossible. Resist the urge. If there are too many cucumber spears in there, the ones on the bottom won’t get as much flavor until you’ve eaten some of the top spears). Add water if necessary to keep cucumbers submerged. Close jars; refrigerate overnight or up to 1 month.
This recipe is also from Food & Wine (the same article, in fact!) and is a favorite of Arthur’s. Here you go, Arthur! Now you can make them too! I think this one is just perfect with carrots, but I’m sure other vegetables would taste good in it too.
Makes 2 Quarts
Carrot sticks, peeled & blanched in boiling water for 2 min, drained & cooled
3 T kosher salt
1 T sugar
1/2 C thin matchsticks fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves
1 tsp Madras curry powder (not wanting to go expensive spice hunting, I used regular curry powder to fine result)
1 1/4 C unseasoned rice vinegar
Pack carrot sticks into 2 clean 1-quart glass jars. In another jar, combine the salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, curry powder and rice vinegar. Shake until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 2 C water and pour the brine over the carrot sticks (again, just like with the dill pickles, if your carrot sticks are packed too tight, the ginger and garlic won’t infiltrate the bottom sticks until some of the top ones are eaten). Add enough water to cover and keep the carrot sticks submerged. Close the jars and refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 month.
This one is also from Food & Wine. I was nervous about not blanching the wax beans and about the horseradish, but these turned out to be really good. I’ve never been able to find wax beans at the grocery store, but they’re available at the farmer’s market (here in Minnesota at least) starting in July. I was still able to get them toward the end of August, but I haven’t found out yet how long they’ll be available.
Makes 4 Pints
1 1/2 lb wax beans, stem ends trimmed to fit in pint jars
8 garlic cloves, halved
8 dill sprigs
4 tarragon sprigs
4 tsp black peppercorns
4 tsp prepared horseradish
1 1/2 C distilled white vinegar
1/4 C kosher salt
3 T sugar
Pack the beans in 4 pint jars, tips down. Tuck 2 halved garlic cloves, 2 dill sprigs and 1 tarragon sprig in each jar. Add 1 tsp each black peppercorns and horseradish to each jar.
In a large jar, combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar and shake until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 2 1/2 C water and shake again. Pour the brine over the beans and top jars off with water if the beans aren’t completely submerged. Close the jars and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 3 months.
Lest you think I’m a Food & Wine junkie, I’ve included this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. The recipe doesn’t say how long these will keep, but I don’t think it’s as long as the other pickles. Because the tomatoes are pierced to let in the brine, they get more and more flavorful as time passes. So maybe a week or two? These would probably be pretty delicious as a cocktail garnish.
Makes 3 Cups
3/4 C apple cider vinegar
3/4 C water
4 tsp coarse kosher salt
2 tsp sugar
1 3 X 1/2-inch strip of lemon peel
12 oz cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and/or pear tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper (or to taste)
Bring vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and lemon peel to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat, and let cool 20 min. Pierce each tomato 2 times (on each end) with a slender wooden skewer. Toss tomatoes, dill, garlic & crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Pour mixture into a quart jar. Add cooled vinegar mixture. Let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours (or, like I did, cover and stick it in the fridge if you’re keeping the tomatoes longer than 1 day).
With the football season approaching (GO VIKES!) I thought it would be fun to start a recurring article here on EatCookLive. Every weekend I’m going to try to post a new recipe for football food. These recipes will generally be fairly easy (no one wants to cook 5 hours before a football game, unless it’s the super bowl), incredibly unhealthy (all that beer should flush the cholesterol and sodium from your system) and will pair well with beer. I’m going to do my best to get them posted on Friday or Saturday so you can buy the necessary groceries before game-day. And, just because I can’t get enough football, I may break down the upcoming Vikings game. Maybe I can even get Arthur to tag-team this section with me.
For this week: Buffalo Chicken Dip!
This one is pretty simple, and very easy to make the day/night before and then throw it in the oven right before the game starts. It also definitely meets the necessary criterion of pairing well with beer! You will need:
- 1 oz block of cream cheese
- ½ cup of blue cheese or ranch dressing (or ¼ cup of each)
- 2 cups of shredded chicken (I have always used canned chicken for this because the combined buffalo/blue cheese flavor is pretty strong, but I wonder if this would taste even better if you bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded the breast meat.)
- ½ cup of blue cheese crumbles.
- ½ cup of frank’s red hot (you can use whatever hot sauce you like but, for me, Frank’s has that perfect buffalo wing flavor. However, use the regular stuff, not the buffalo sauce variety which has artificial butter flavoring added. Ick.)
Bear with me on this one because the preparation necessary to make this is both extensive and very tedious. Ready? Take a casserole dish; add all the ingredients and mix well to combine. Throw it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Then throw it in the oven (preheated to 350) and bake for 20-25 minutes until it looks done in the middle. Hot damn that was hard, but I have faith that most of you can pull this one off.
Serving suggestions: you need something to put this dip on, and most anything will work in that respect. This can go with crackers, potato chips, baguette or other crusty bread, or you can use some crunchy veggies like celery and carrots. Word to the wise: as tasty as this dip is right out of the oven, it’s pretty bad as leftovers out of the fridge. You probably want to make this one when you have a few people coming over to watch the game.
I will admit that this game is making me pretty nervous, and it has a lot to do with the depth of cornerback and wide-receiver on the Vikings. Three healthy cornerbacks? Three? Vikings fans take note: when your team’s two best option for a 4th cornerback is to rush a player back from a torn ACL, or start a special-teamer who has never before played CB, things are dire. Add to that a Saints offense which likes to pass even more than Childress likes to toss out random 19th century literary references, and you have the recipe for a defensive melt-down. And as for wide receivers, why the hell did we cut Javon Walker and trade Darius Reynaud??? Granted, neither of them are by any means star wide-receivers, they’re only emergency back-ups, but WE NEED EMERGENCY BACKUPS!!! And why not pick up TJ Houzh? All he was gonna get was 1 year and $850K, and we turned him down! WTF ARE YOU DOING CHILLY!?
Having said all of that, I still think we can pull this one out. Look, we destroyed that New Orleans defense last year, racking up damn near 500 yards and being 15 seconds from the super bowl on unfriendly turf. You just don’t win games with that many turnovers. I’m counting on AP to get his mind right regarding the fumbles and Brett Favre to be steady but not spectacular, at least not in the first game when the decrepit old fart still hasn’t nailed down the timing with his receivers. I’ll take by Vikings by a field goal, 28-31.
Arthur’s Two Cents:
With football season fast approaching, I know there are a few emergency fantasy football drafts in the works. For those of you hosting the midnight hour drafts this recipe might be just the quick snack you need.
On to the football. I think that AP, even with his fumble risk, is enough of a threat to allow the Old Man to make the most of the passing game. Still, I honestly don’t know if we are going to be able to win this one. If we lose, I see the season going one of two ways: (1) responding by pulling together and working out the kinks or (2) staring a patented Brad-Johnson-era style downward spiral.
We’ve all been there after a move—you’re moved in only in the sense that you’ve gotten boxes through the door of the new place. This last weekend, two days before the start of the school year, my new roommate Nick and I got the boxes in the door (with the help of Eat Cook Live cohorts Meg and Stu).
A few days after unpacking the bottle opener for our Brooklyn Lagers, we turned our attention to some kitchen luxuries: a pot, a skillet, a spatula, some cutlery, and a few plates and bowls. Over this first week of school with evening classes and no time for a real shopping run our cooking has been limited to pasta in some form.
I’m actually embarrassed to put this in the cooking section. In all honesty my efforts to feed myself probably fall short of cooking. The two nights were shameful pasta and jarred sauce meals (the sauce and pasta were all that made it through the move). Finally, a morning Key Foods run and a late night Trader Joe’s run yielded wine, sausage, onion, bell peppers, and canned tomatoes. Last night’s dinner was still a meal of simple pasta, but the added 5 minutes of turning the veggies, meat, and tomatoes into a sauce while the pasta water boiled was pleasant change from the jar-o-tomato sauce.
But hope is on the horizon. With a long weekend coming up, priority one is going to be finding a grill for the back yard. Soon after delicious late-night, post-class grilling will ensue!