Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rice and Beans and Eggs!

Miss V is heading down to Kodiak tomorrow to participate in the annual pilgrimage to Spruce Island and then share her mad Irish Dance skills with the folks at St. Innocent's Academy. This is a big deal for her since she's afraid of boats and large bodies of water. I'm going to miss her a lot but I know that she is going to have a wonderful, wonderful time there and its one of those growing-up adventures that a girl needs to have.

In addition to her little (huge) case of aquaphobia, she also gets an upset stomach from foods with a high sulfur content. This means that I don't get to indulge in some of my favorite low-budget, high nutrition dishes without making her something else. While she's in Kodiak (where she will likely be served beans and where, she says, she will eat them with a smile on her face because I raised her right) I will be making a lot of rice and beans, refried beans, black beans and squash, baked eggs, quiche, and some more rice and beans. I hate cabbage as much as she does- as well as its cruciferous relatives cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kohlrhabi, and kale - but beans will be in daily rotation. My freezer is fairly barren (don't cry for me- its on purpose because we have a side of beef and 20 chickens ordered plus I'm getting more salmon and need another half of a hog) and the pantry is emptying out in preparation for the big azure order plus we're in the Dormition Fast so this is the perfect time to use what I have on hand and indulge my beany little desires.

Here's a great link to a bunch of suggestions for theme and variation on 'rice & beans'. My personal favorite is refried black beans over rice with a little shredded cheddar and big chunks of cooked winter squash or grilled zucchini.  Yum. Beans fried in coconut oil are great but the ones done in lard have even more depth of flavor. Leftovers make lovely lunch burritos.


Soak beans overnight, drain, rinse

Put them in the crock pot with some homemade bone broth if you have it or enough water to cover the beans by several inches, a chopped onion, a fresh seeded jalapeno and then cook them low & slow. Got whey? Use some of that too! 10 hours if you can manage it.

Melt a good half cup or more of coconut oil or lard in a big cast iron skillet. Chop or press a few garlic cloves into the fat and give them a minute to cook, being careful not to burn the garlic. Pull out a lot of your beans, leaving most of the liquid in the crock pot, and fry and mash them until they are very thick and pasty. Add in more whole beans and the bean liquid until you are happy with the consistency. Salt to taste then wait about 15 minutes and taste it again.

While your beans are cooking......

Chop the winter squash of your choice in half and scoop out the seeds. Oil the exposed flesh, place on a cookie sheet and bake until tender. Time will depend on the size of your squash. When the squash is cooked, pull it out of the oven and let it cool to room temp or at least a comfortable temp for handling. remove the skin, cut your squash into chunks and season to taste. Salt, pepper, maybe a little cumin?

Cook some rice. Brown rice is the best (unless, of course, one child left the bin of organic short grain brown rice open while another failed to clean out the cat box resulting in the very involuntary throwing away of your entire now-disgusting brown rice inventory leaving you with only arborio or sushi rice). If you have an abundance of stock, cook your brown rice in that and it will taste heavenly.

When your three components are done, put rice in the bowls and top with the beans and the squash and some shredded cheddar. I suspect some sauteed rainbow chard might make a wonderful addition but, alas, I ate all of ours.

In a hurry and need to cheat? Drain and fry canned black beans, heat some cubed butternut squash from the freezer section and you're all set.

Now please excuse me while I go put some beans on to soak!

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