I've been perfecting classic beans and rice over the past few months to reflect our increasingly demanding taste buds and to keep us away from the old fallback, going out on a weeknight. Rice and beans at our house started out as a cheap dish made with white rice, canned beans, and a few sauteed veggies. It is still cheap (going from canned beans to cooking vast quanities of dried beans and freezing them more than makes up for the lime and fresh cilantro) but now it is healthier with brown rice and positively bursting with flavor. I almost never go a day without lime or lime zest in something. Our zester has been in constant use ever since I discovered the floral, aromatic, and lovely character of lemons, limes, and oranges. Lime zest is particularly good in home-made salsa, which you can make simply by omitting the beans in this recipe. In fact, I did the opposite tonight; I took the salsa I whipped up at lunch and turned it into rice and beans in the evening. I only had to clean the kitchen once and dinner came together quickly. Enjoy!
Black Beans and Rice (1 hr.)
If you're using white rice, simply begin the rest as soon as you put it on to cook.
1. Put one cup brown basmati rice, 1 3/4 cup water, a generous pinch of salt, the zest and juice of 1/2 lime, and 1 tsp. olive oil in a small pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute. Then lower the heat to the lowest setting and put the lid on. Set the timer for 50 minutes.
2. Get the latest on Delay and Jolie.
3. When the timer says the rice has 20 minutes to go, chop and sautee the following in olive oil on medium heat: 1 medium onion, 1 large green pepper, 3 cloves garlic, and 1 jalapeno (remove seeds to control heat). Add 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and black pepper to taste to the sautee.
4. When the onions are translucent, add 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 tsp. dried oregano and either 1 15-oz can of black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer.
5. When the timer for the rice goes off, turn off the heat and let sit. Do not remove the lid. Set timer for 10 minutes.
6. Chop 1 tsp. fresh cilantro (or more, if you're like us) and 1 scallion, all parts. Add these with 1/2 cup frozen corn and the juice and zest of 1/2 lime to the black bean extravaganza. When the corn is heated through (only a minute or two!) take off heat.
7. When rice timer goes off again, mix rice and bean stuff together or serve separately.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sster's Orange Spice Cookies
Experimentation with cooking has led me to try my hand at a few innovations while baking. Since baking is a more exact science, I've been working on modifying existing recipes. Tonight I tried putting a twist on chocolate-chip cookie dough by omitting the chocolate chips, adding some spices, upping the vanilla, and putting our zester to good use. The result is a soft, sweet cookie that reminds me a lot of carrot cake. The cardamon really enhances the citrus flavor of the orange zest.
1. Cream together with mixer: 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter and 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice (or just refined sugar if you like) until fluffy, about five minutes.
2. Add 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and beat for another minute or so.
3. In a separate bowl sift together 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp. cardamom.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet one-third at a time. Switch to a spoon if your mixer gets cranky. Fold in the zest of 1 medium orange.
5. Do not be like sster and add water to make the dough more workable. Your cookies will spread out too much.
6. Drop with spoons on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
7. Pour glass of milk and enjoy the smell of your kitchen as they're baking. These would be good ones to make if you were showing your house to prospective buyers.
Wishing you all a delicious evening.
Read Full Post »