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    Entries in cans are evil (8)

    Monday
    Oct082012

    Black Beans 

    do not have to come from a can.

    And if you have freshly made roasted tomato salsa, they'll taste that much better.

    It's really not much more work to make your own beans than it is to open a can. And while that may be convenient, it will never be as flavourful as beans that are slowly simmered in broth with carefully selected seasonings.

    And by carefully selected, I mean yanked from the fridge.

    Tinned beans are usually made with water and way too much salt. Making them yourself lets you control the sodium and boost up the flavour.

    AKA Turn down the suck and turn up the good

    Best Black Beans

    What you need:

    • about 3 cups of chicken broth
    • about 1 cup of salsa (or, tomatoes, onions, chiles, etc to make one cup)
    • about 1 c black beans
    • about 1 lime

    What you gotta do:

    Put it all in the crock pot.

    Broth, then salsa, then beans.

    Cook it on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4.

    I never soak my beans first because I really want the colour that they give to the liquid. 

     

    I squeeze in the lime juice at the end for a bit of brightness in the flavour.

    Scoop out what you need to go on the side of your fabulous chicken dinner. Okay, it was just a bit of chicken breast chopped and sauteed with cayenne and lime juice, and a "salad" of lettuce with salsa and cheese on top, but hey! when you put it all together on the plate with the beans... it turns into a fabulous chicken dinner!

    The rest of the beans... I left them in the crock pot, added some leftover rice and a bit of shredded chicken and called it soup!

    You could also mash them up a bit for an awesome burrito filling.

    Or, just eat them with a spoon.

    I love beans. It's a little weird how much I do, but, well, look who's talking here.

    What food do you love?

     

    Tuesday
    May152012

    who's on first

    Me again. Taneasha has a home, and some furniture, but no intrawebs. So, I'm back in my usual Tuesday spot, but I'm taking a break from cookies.

    I am a total slave to cravings. I'll spend days trying to ignore the fact that I not only want, but apparently need, a certain type of food. They don't go away. Sometimes it's something nice and healthy like bananas. And when I finanlly find a bunch that is just the right ripeness, I'll eat the whole freaking bunch. Sometimes, it's fried chicken. Way too often it's fried chicken.

    Lately though, it's been beans. And not just any beans. It has to be refried beans.

    I freaking love refried beans.

    Damn good thing too, because they're super cheap, unbelievably easy to make, and they're totally freezable, which means they're perfect for making into burritos to freeze and heat up in the (world's most disgustingly dirty) microwave at school. But we won't talk about that for now. I passed my exams. I've got 3.5 months of calculus-free bliss.

    AKA: work.

    Now I get to heat up my frozen burrito in a clean nuker.

    But first, I had to make beans. Yes, I know, they come in a can. The ones in the can, more often than not, have sugar in them. Sugar. Why the hell do refried beans need sugar added to them? There are times when I'm glad I'm a compulsive label-reader. <<insert rant here about what's wrong with the food industry, and the apathy of consumers>>

    Refried beans don't have sugar in them. At least these ones don't. So, as an alternative to the can in your cupboard I offer:

    Refritos

    What you need:

    • 1 c dry pinto beans
    • 1 small onion
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • pinch of cumin
    • ~4 c water or broth or stock
    • bacon fat
    • salt

    Yes, I realize I'm ranting about added sugar in a post that advocates the use of bacon fat. This is not a question of "is it healthier." The sugar is likely in there to make the beans taste better, just like the bacon fat is. But, the bacon fat is drippings from the bacon I bought at a local butcher; they make their own bacon from local pigs. I can trace the bacon fat to the farm. It's less than 100 miles away. I can't say the same about that sugar. I know that food tastes better when it has fat and sugar in it. But I'm actively making a choice as a consumer. That's the difference.

    What you gotta do:

    Dump it all in the crock pot.

    Well, kinda. Works best if you rinse the beans first, and chop the onion and garlic.

    I'd been planning on using water, but remembered that I had some chicken broth in the freezer.

    So I thawed it and dumped it in.

    And waited.

    And waited.

    I am not a patient person.

    Particularly not when I have a craving.

    Once the beans are soft, and you can mash one against the side of the crock pot (took mine about 4 hours on high), transfer the beans only to a bowl. I don't suggest draining the beans because some of that liquid is handy to have around when you're mashing. So, I fish mine out with the masher.

    Mashing is a bit of a taste thing. Or, texture thing, I guess. Some people prefer the beans whole, some like them smashed to smithereens.

    I a cake-and-eat-it-too kinda person, so I mash all but about a cup of beans and then just stir them in.

    And then, I add the bacon fat. Feel free to leave this out if you'd like, but I don't recommend it.

    Now, before you add the last ingredient, you need to taste them. Beans need salt. I like to add the bacon fat first because it is quite salty, and then add tiny amounts, stirring and tasting until they're just right.

    Roll them up in a burrito with some guac (cover it with foil and it won't turn brown at all!)

    or just dip your chips right in

    What weird ingredient have you found by reading labels? Or, do you read labels?