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bless the hands that grow {szechuan style green & black beans}

September 11th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

It doesn’t take much to get my hands dirty, foraging in the garden for the tomato harvest, cutting herbs for the kitchen or pulling up the few weeds that mock the dwindling layer of mulch over the soil. And those tomato plants love to leave their thick, green coloring on my hands and arms as I pick, the fuzzy leaves and stalks brushing against me. When I wash off afterwards, the water runs green in the sink, soap turning an odd greenish-yellow, the color of life from the soil.

(photo courtesy of Bossy Acres) 

 Come in to my kitchen…

black bean & quinoa veggie burgers

May 20th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

I have an embarrassingly high number of veggie burger recipes neatly tucked away in a three-ring binder in the kitchen cupboard where all my cookbooks reside. There are more on my Pinterest site where I stash all the tidbits and delicacies found on the Internet. Every time I come across one on someone’s blog, I’d gaze at it longingly, mouth watering, as I glance over the ingredients.

But up until last week, I had made exactly ZERO of these recipes.

Come in to my kitchen…

black bean & corn tostadas

March 21st, 2013 | 2 Comments »

For a simple supper or easy appetizer, these crunchy tostadas are a snap to put together. And they have me craving Summer.

Come in to my kitchen…

black bean tostadas

June 5th, 2011 | 5 Comments »

I’m always on the look-out for quick and easy meal options, ideas for those nights that the guys take over dinner prep and want some good food to appear without a great amount of fuss. Long winded recipes don’t cut it with them, but these really easy Black Bean Tostadas make for a perfect summer dinner.

Based on this idea for a Black Bean and Corn Pizza, I took it one step more towards simple and used corn tortillas for the base, making a crispy shell that went from our toaster oven to my plate in about 10 minutes. The most time I spent was opening a can of black beans and shaking them under running water.

If you’ve got a toaster oven you’ve got the means to make this in a snap but are limited to only two at a time. Using a regular oven makes for more crowd appeal. Increase the amount of all ingredients as needed for the number of people you’re serving. I would imagine that adults could easily eat two or three of these. I myself managed to shotgun four without a blink of remorse.

But I was stuffed. Happy. But stuffed. Delicious as a main meal, this would also be perfect for a nice appetizer, and could easily be done on a grill with tantalizingly smoky results. The black beans make for a hearty and filling addition and no one will miss any meat in this. Fresh tomato gave it a summery flavor, and a crumble of queso fresco would be a nice addition just prior to eating them.

Black Bean Tostadas

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 t. chipotle en adobo
1-2 t. each ground cumin and chili powder
1 medium tomato, diced
1 c. frozen corn (no need to thaw)
1 avocado, diced
Corn tortillas
Pepper Jack, or Co-Jack cheese for topping
Lime wedges

Heat oven to 400°.

Place drained black beans in a small saucepan and add 1/3 cup of water, the chipotle en adobo, cumin and chili powder. Stir to combine and heat until simmering. Remove pan and mash beans coarsely with a sturdy wooden spoon. Add more water if needed to make beans spreadable, but not runny. You want them to be thick.

On a baking sheet, arrange corn tortillas and place in oven, turning once until tortillas are slightly firm. Remove pan from oven and carefully spread a few tablespoons of black bean mixture on them, then top with tomato, corn and diced avocado. Sprinkle a little cheese over them and return the pan to the oven. Bake until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy around the edges, maybe 5 minutes. Squirt fresh lime juice over the tortillas before serving.

NOTE: Instead of using avocado chunks on the tostadas, mash the avocado with a little lime juice, salt and pepper and use either as a topping for the tostada when it comes out of the oven, or spread a thin layer atop the black beans before adding the other toppings and baking them. Either way you use it, it’s delicious.

30 of 30, and Arroz Amarillo (Yellow Rice)

November 30th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

The last gasp, Day 30 of NaBloPoMo 2010. Like I said a week or so ago, it was a lot easier than I expected, what with going back and recycling previous posts and recipes. I like bringing back some old favorites, plenty of which none of you have seen before unless you’ve been hanging around here for almost 5 years.

I am looking forward to a few days off, but right around the corner is the Iron Foodie contest entry that I will be preparing, and another big blog milestone is coming up on the heels of that, one I am looking forward to sharing with everyone. I’m kind of excited about it; maybe it won’t be that huge to some, but to me, it’s BIG.

And with that, I leave the 2010 version of National Blog Posting Month with this delicious recipe for Arroz Amarillo, or Yellow Rice, a delicious side dish that goes with just about anything.

Yeah, yeah. Photo… not so great. Recipe? Awesome!!! Color? Gorgeous! Taste? Spectacular.

Arroz Amarillo or Yellow Rice
original recipe- A Cooks Tour of Mexico by Nancy Zaslavsky

This is Kate’s version:

2 T. vegetable oil
1 c. white rice, rinsed and shaken dry
One medium onion, sliced
One Jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced thin
One poblano pepper, seeded and cut in half
One red pepper, seeded and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
One medium tomato coarsely chopped
Half of a 14-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 c. chicken stock
1 t. turmeric
2 t. ground cumin
Cilantro leaves

Place poblano and red peppers on foil covered cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Broil until skins are charred, watching carefully. Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to sweat. Remove skins when cooled and coarsely chop.

Heat oil in deep skillet; add in onion and saute over medium heat until soft and slightly browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add in garlic and jalapeno and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Remove vegetables from heat and add a tablespoon of oil to pan. Stir in rice and coat with oil. Cook, stirring continually until rice is nutty, browned and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Do not allow to scorch. Stir turmeric and cumin into hot stock until dissolved. Add vegetables back to pan, stir to combine, then add stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Add tomatoes to pan, cover and allow to simmer until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in beans, roasted peppers and a handful of cilantro leaves. Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve with lime wedges and pimento stuffed green olives if desired.

Yay!! I finished!! 30 posts in 30 days!!

Recovery from eating?

July 21st, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Really? You need to recover from eatng? In my family, for certain, and probably in many of yours too. Families are just like that. When you get together, across generations and siblings and cousins, there is certainly a lot of good eating. Any gathering of Mike’s large clan is always a celebration of food.

In this place especially.

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Our lake home, the beloved Loveless; Summer weekends are most often spent within it’s well worn walls, following the same rituals and routines each year, only with bigger kids at each passing season. The food is always good and there’s plenty of it. My everyday food needs are usually not followed as diligently when I am there as it would most likely mean making a meal completely different from what everyone else will eat. I’m not particularly interested in doing that when there’s relaxing, boating, sunning, snoozing and hanging out with cutie pies like these.

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*sigh* Don’t you just love little girls in jammies with bed head, framed by morning Summer sunshine? That’s Nina (17 mos) on the left and 4-year old Bella on the right, the two youngest cousins.

For this particular weekend, the place was jammed, hopping with activity, chatter, games, some indignant tears and cries of  “No FAIR!!!” (always, always happens) as well as lots of good boating. My nephew Joe, age six, got up on his wakeboard for the first time and the smiles were miles wide at that achievement.

Breakfast is my favorite meal to make when we’re at the lake. I always make pancakes because they are crowd friendly and endlessly versatile, maybe some kind of meat and plenty of fresh fruit.

Griffin always enjoys a plate of fluffy pancakes.

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Apparently taking lessons from his cousin Matt on how best to eat Kate’s breakfasts.

weekend funD 029Usually, by the time we head home from a weekend’s respite overlooking Loveless, with peaceful quiet nights and sleepy mornings with plenty of dark coffee and good conversation on the screen porch,  my tummy is crying out for relief from the excessive and usually heavier food than I’m used to eating. I have been collecting a lot of very simple, easy and light summer recipes lately, the kind that require little else besides the bounty of produce available now and a few quick spices or seasonings.

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These ultra quick Chipotle Black Beans came together in about 5 minutes. We keep canned chipotles on hand for our burritos, and they add a warm and spicy kick to black beans, red onion, garlic and tomato. Stir in some chili powder, cumin and cilantro and give it an hour in the fridge and you’ve got a healthy side dish guaranteed to start you back to better eating.

Chipotle Spiced Black Beans
adapted slightly from Eating Well magazine

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2-3 t. canned chipotles in adobo, minced fine (add as much or as little as desired to your heat level)
1/3 c. minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. chili powder
1-2 t. ground cumin seed (use standard ground cumin in same measure)
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 c. minced cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and blend well, mashing some of the beans slightly with your spoon. Taste and season with salt, if desired, and pepper. Chill in refrigerator for an hour or so, and stir to blend flavors just prior to serving. We served this with rice topped with cubed avocado and mesquite grilled chicken.

Better black beans

July 30th, 2008 | 9 Comments »

For this recipe, I used an onion, two poblano peppers and a small zucchini, searing the onion and some garlic until it was nicely browned, adding in the pepper for a good 5 minutes or so, then stirring in two cans of black beans. One can I rinsed very well, the other I just allowed to drain a little; the slight amount of extra sodium doesn’t really bother me, and I needed some of that starch for thickener. (most of the time, I rinse them to death…just fyi). I let them simmer for about 10 minutes and made some random mashing motions with the spoon just to break some of them up, then with a little chili powder, ground cumin, lime juice and zest and a spoonful or two of good salsa, the beans were worthy of plenty of chip action.

Oh yeah…..and for plopping on top of my Huevos, showered with lime zest.

Black Bean and Corn Relish

June 30th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

Black Bean and Corn Relish by Kate

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 c. frozen corn, thawed (or use the kernels from 2-3 fresh ears to make enough)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, diced
1-2 t. fresh grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1 T. cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl. Chill before serving. Also tastes great on tortilla chips.