Archive for May, 2009

Beans, Greens, and Rice on the fly

I have other beans and green dishes on my blog, I know, so this is not necessarily anything new and innovative.  It is, however, a great example of a simple and delicious meal made from fresh, seasonal ingredients on the fly.  I usually have a good variety of  staples – washed greens, cooked beans and grains, etc. – on hand for schoolday breakfasts, lunches, and even dinners.  However, I (thankfully) went on a yoga retreat this weekend and really wasn’t up for cleaning all the yummy greens I got in my CSA share this week, or making a trip to the grocery store, when I got home.  So, at 9pm when I realized Monday was going to come , like it or not, and the kids were going to want both breakfast AND lunch (dinner too, by the way, and snacks!), I had to make a plan.  I had some leftover washed spinach and fresh tomatoes from last week’s Farmers’ Market, plus some cooked brown rice, so I knew I was in pretty good shape.  Since I’ve switched from soaking my beans overnight to the quick-soak method, my late start didn’t deter me from soaking some black beans and getting them into the crockpot to be ready by morning.

I whipped this up after waking up a little late this morning and packed it in lunches, then had it for breakfast myself.  Sometime I’ll go more deeply into non-(American) traditional breakfasts, but that is for another day.  Since I was using mostly pre-prepped ingredients, it only took about 5 minutes of my time to pull together, and maybe a few minutes longer to heat through.  For those of you who find yourselves busy during the week (and are any of you not busy during the week?) prepping whatever staples you use during the week in advance is a lifesaver!

I’m estimating amounts, because this is the kind of dish where you can just use whatever looks good, but I’d say about 1/2 cup of beans per person is probably about right, and probably the same for the rice, so this served three. 

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot (or garlic or scallion), minced
  • 2 cups cleaned spinach, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans*
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • salt or Herbamare for seasoning

*I cooked my black beans with a dried chipotle, a strip of kombu, and some onion and garlic powder for flavor; be sure to wait to add salt until the beans are totally soft.  The salt thing is controversial, but critical in my experience. 

Heat a large pan over medium heat and saute the shallots until they start to brown.  Add the chopped spinach and tomato, season lightly, and cover for a few minutes.  The tomatoes will release their juices and help the spinach cook.  Add the beans and rice, cover and cook a few more minutes until the rice is warm and soft.  Season to taste and enjoy!

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Vegetable Stew in (soy-free) Miso Broth

So, here we are, back in soup weather!  It works out perfectly, because I have been looking for a good way to try out the chickpea miso I recently came across at Whole Foods.  I had to try it because, though I’m perfectly happy to eat traditional soy miso, I know there are others who are allergic to soy and they should not have to miss out on the yumminess!  Plus, I love chickpeas.   

The chickpea miso I bought is a bit different, as it is a little chunkier, than the miso I usually buy.  Not a bad or a good thing, just something to know in case that will affect your dish.  In this case, it’s not a problem at all.  I would describe the miso as medium-bodied, a little stronger than mellow white miso, but more mellow than red miso. 

Since my CSA pick up is on Saturday mornings, I like to clear out my vegetable drawer at the end of the week to make lots of room for my delicious greens, plus whatever I find at the Farmers’ Market that weekend.  This meal is a perfect way to do that, because it is subject to so many interpretations and you just can’t really go wrong with cooked vegetables and miso!  I have made this twice this week; the first time on the stove, which only took about 20 minutes.  Today I had about 10 minutes to prep dinner before we left for a 4pm soccer game, so I threw it all in the crockpot and we had a warming, delicious meal to eat after the rainy game.  If you go the crockpot route, just remember this isn’t an all-day type of cooking thing; just an hour or two, depending on the setting and heat of your crockpot, so the vegetables don’t turn to mush, and don’t add the broccoli florets or miso until the end.   

I served this over quinoa sauteed in olive oil and shallots and with a green salad topped with roasted chickpeas and tahini-balsamic dressing.  You could get those ready while the broccoli is cooking at the end…

This recipe serves 4.

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium sized red or yukon gold potatoes, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
  • 4-5 garlic scapes, sliced, or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup of green beans (I used frozen, do they really have nutritional value anyway?) 
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli, stalks peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch cubes, florets separate
  • absolutely any other vegetables you want to add
  • chickpeas, kidney beans, or any other leftovers you have, optional
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons chickpea miso, or more, to taste
  • Herbamare (or sea salt) and pepper, to taste

Heat a large saucepan to medium, pour in olive oil, then add chopped garlic scapes.  Add the potatoes and a little Herbamare or salt, then stir to coat in oil.  Make a space in the pot, add a little more oil, and add the garlic scapes.  Cook just for 30 seconds to a minute, or until they are fragrant, then stir into the potatoes.  Add the celery,  carrots, and green beans.  Season, then cover with water.  At this point, either cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft, or put into the crockpot.  Add the broccoli, beans, if using, and fresh rosemary about 10 minutes before you are ready to eat.  When the broccoli is tender and just a little crisp, turn off the heat and stir in the miso, taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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