Tag Archives: Beans

Mesa Grill Black Bean Soup

Happy (belated – gulp) 2017!! With some extremely notable exceptions – a new nephew! a wonderful extended vacation with Matt! a good friend getting married! – I didn’t like 2016 any more than anyone else, so I decided to skip all the food blogger end-of-year countdowns and just jump into 2017 with good vibes. Mold in my apartment has hampered that a little, but take heed, it will not win!

I’d been planning to jump back into blogging yesterday, but seeing as it was MLK Day, and this particular MLK Day seems more … I don’t know, pertinent? Important? … than usual, given the current political climate and happenings, I didn’t feel that I personally could add much to that conversation. So today it is!

I want to begin this New Year with one of my favorite recipes, one that I first cooked years ago and never forgot, yet have never committed to my blog. What you have here is perfect comfort food for cold weather or grumpy days that will not interfere with any fitness/weight loss/lose those holiday pounds goals. In fact, it might even help! And this soup is SO delicious. The genius of this recipe is in the garnishes. Garnishes to soup or chili are usually in the vein of just throw whatever you like on there, if you like anything at all – and of course that’s totally fine! But it’s just not how this particular soup works. On its own, it’s a solidly built yet kind of non-special black bean soup. But when you garnish it as instructed, the entire bowl sings and makes everyone all kinds of happy.

On a different note, I do aim to be a better blogger this year. When your blog is not your primary source of income, it’s too easy to back-burner it, but that’s lame. I want this to be a fun, inspiring, and of course delicious space, so I vow to be better at time management. And feel free to hold my feet to the fire, my dear readers whom I love!

Source: slightly adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

SOUP:
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup red wine
3 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, and seeded
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

GRILLED ONION RELISH:
1 large red onion, sliced ½-inch thick into rounds – do not separate the layers of the rounds
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

TOMATO-SERRANO RELISH:
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 serrano chile, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

CUMIN CREMA:
8 oz. crema, crème fraiche, or sour cream
1 scant tbs ground cumin
1 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

AVOCADO-TOMATILLO RELISH:
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 large tomatillos, husked, scrubbed, and chopped
3 tbs finely chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno chile, finely chopped, seeded if desired
3 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
First, make the SOUP: heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent but not browned. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half.
Add the beans and reduce the heat to medium. Add the jalapenos, poblano, and stock. Simmer 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. If the soup has cooled, rewarm before serving.
While the soup is simmering away, make the garnishes. I recommend starting with the GRILLED ONION RELISH: preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Cheater’s note: a griddle pan or nonstick or cast-iron skillet works fine as well. Just sayin’. Anywho, brush the onion slices with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 4-5 minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through. If the rounds start coming apart when you flip them, it’s fine. Remove the onions from the grill and chop.
For the TOMATO-SERRANO RELISH: combine the tomatoes and serrano chile in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
For the CUMIN CREMA: place the crema in a small bowl, add the cumin and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to thoroughly combine.
For the AVOCADO-TOMATILLO RELISH: gently combine the avocados, tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and oil in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, then spoon at least one tablespoon of each garnish on the soup, laying them side-by-side as much as possible. And it’s totally okay to add more of any or all garnishes when your bowl of soup is halfway gone. That’s why you make so much of each garnish!

Obama Family Chili

Obama Family Chili

Like so many of us, I got up early on Tuesday to vote (but was not given a sticker!!!), then awaited election returns with a sense of calm, feeling like I knew what to expect – our first woman president. I called it quits around 11 pm with a feeling of acute anxiety, not liking where this was going, and then woke up completely heartbroken the next morning. This is the closest I have ever come to crying over a presidential election. My heart is heavy with fear, embarrassment, and mostly sadness. I feel sick every time I read another story of someone’s young daughter bursting into tears upon finding out that a bully won instead of the first woman to ever run for the office, or worrying about what will happen to their Muslim or Mexican friends at school.

Obama Family Chili

I’d planned on sharing this recipe yesterday, thinking it would be a celebration of a major glass ceiling being shattered – whatever my admittedly not always positive opinions of Hillary Clinton were, I was incredibly excited at the thought of our first female president – but instead I’m sharing it in a spirit of mourning, really.

Apparently the only thing President Obama really cooks is this pot of chili, which he’s been making since college, according to food historian Robb Walsh. He (Walsh) published it in his latest cookbook, and I thought if there was ever an appropriate time to make it myself, well, here we are.

I will miss President Obama and his family terribly. Whatever one may think of his politics, no one can deny he’s a man of class, grace, dignity, and integrity. He is loved and respected the world over. He genuinely appears to be extremely devoted to his family, with eight years going by without one whiff of sex scandal. Class, grace, and a thick-skinned, measured temperament in the White House will be abruptly ending come January 20th. It hurts.

Obama Family Chili

This chili, as well as being a tribute to someone I greatly admire and will sorely miss, is also just plain delicious and easy to pull off. It’s quite “Midwest” in style, a lovely meaty carb-fest since you’re instructed to serve it over rice and with cornbread on the side, and not nearly as spicy as most Texas bowls-o-red tend to be. Whatever your personal politics, I’d highly recommend giving this a go next time you need a simple, hearty bowl of chili in your life. Enjoy!

Obama Family Chili

Source: slightly adapted from The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh

Ingredients:
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a large poblano, a bell pepper would be fine too)
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ – 1 tsp ground cumin, to taste
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp dried basil
1 heaping tbs chili powder
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices; tomatoes should be chopped or broken up with a potato masher or snipped into chunks with kitchen shears
Water, as needed
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained
White or brown rice, for serving
Cornbread, for serving
Garnishes: sour cream, shredded cheddar, and diced raw white onion are the President’s preferences, but you can adapt as you like, obviously

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the ground turkey. Crumble and cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until softened. Now add the cumin, oregano, turmeric, basil, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the vinegar and tomatoes, including juices. Stir together until combined, then fill up most of the now-empty tomato can with water. Add it about a half cup at a time, just to give the chili somewhere to go while you simmer it for at least 1 hour. You want the tomatoes to cook down and the flavors to marry. Add more water, a little at a time, if it’s getting too thick. You want the final product to be nicely thickened, but with a little bit of liquid. Add the kidney beans and cook a few more minutes. Once it’s ready, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Serve over steamed white or brown rice and garnish as instructed or as desired. Enjoy!

Chaat Tostadas

Chaat Tostadas

I recently breezed through Padma Lakshmi’s recently published memoir, and while part of me wishes I’d waited for a beach to plow through it (it would be SUCH a perfect beach read!), I must recommend it to all the Top Chef fans out there. Yes, much of it is salacious and juicy as you might expect, but I truly loved the food writing. Everyone knows Lakshmi is from India, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their culinary habits and traditions.

Chaat Tostadas

I thought it would be a bit crass and tone deaf for a Caucasian American to wax purple prose about another culture’s food traditions, especially from a country I’ve never visited and to whose food I was only introduced about a decade ago (grew up in Dallas suburbs in the ‘80’s yo), so I’ll just leave it at recommending the book to Top Chef fans and saying that although I’m an outsider and a novice, I do quite enjoy Indian food.

Chaat Tostadas

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So when I ordered Seven Spoons a couple weeks ago, this mostly Indian dish jumped out at me, and became the first thing I made from the book. It’s such a beautiful dish, it really is. Chaat is the all-purpose word for Indian street food, and it means that all the different tastes and textures are combined in one dish. You have crunchy, spicy, sweet, savory, sour/tangy, creamy, etc. all on one plate. There’s admittedly a lot going on here, but it all works together seamlessly and is so worth your time to put together. A wonderful meal. Enjoy!

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Source: slightly adapted from Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:

CHICKPEAS:
¼ cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed lightly
½ tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch of sweet paprika
Generous pinch of cayenne
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

GREEN CHUTNEY:
1 bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves, divided
2 tsp water
1 to 2 limes
2 tsp peeled grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 green chiles, seeds left in for a hotter chutney
¼ tsp raw sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 big handful of fresh mint leaves

TO SERVE:
8 corn tortillas, shallow fried in canola oil until browned and crispy, drained on paper towels
1 cup plain yogurt, Greek-style or regular
A sweet chutney, for drizzling (can be tamarind, mango, apricot, whatever you want – but puree it if it’s really chunky)
Chaat masala, a spice mix found at specialty grocery stores, OR combine ½ tsp each ground cumin, cayenne, and ground coriander
1 small red onion, minced
A couple handfuls sprouts, such as mung bean, alfalfa, or radish
Sev (crispy fried Indian noodles); or if you can’t find those, sub in crunchy chow mein noodles
A handful of cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Directions:
To make the CHICKPEAS: Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Stir until you can smell the spices, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the chickpeas and turn them through the hot oil to coat. Continue to cook until chickpeas are crisped, 7 to 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, then set aside.
To make the GREEN CHUTNEY: add the cilantro stems, water, and juice of 1 lime to your blender. Process until pureed or mostly pureed. If nothing is happening, add a little more water or lime juice. Scrape down the sides, then add the ginger and garlic. Process again, scrape down the sides again, then add the chiles, sugar, and salt. Process again, then add the cilantro leaves and mint. Puree again, and this time it should get really smooth. Again, add a touch more water or lime juice if not. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
TO SERVE: place 2 tostadas on each of 4 dinner plates. Top with the spiced chickpeas, followed in order by the yogurt, sweet chutney, green chutney, a couple pinches of chaat masala or the spice mix you made in lieu of it, the onion, the sprouts, sev or chow mein noodles, and lastly cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and eat immediately.

Huevos Rancheros Salad

Huevos Rancheros Salad

I have one more classic-dish-turned-dinner-salad recipe to share with you to conclude this themed week, and I was going to share it yesterday, until I remembered that (for whatever reason) Friday is always my slowest traffic day; and thus, I decided to share this on a Saturday (which, again for whatever reason, is a much better traffic day for me) because this dish is just too delicious and too special to risk not being seen.

Huevos Rancheros Salad

This is Huevos Rancheros, the classic Mexican morning dish of crisp tortilla covered in ranchero sauce, cheese and a fried egg, but it’s turned into a salad!! You may be asking if that can even work, and I’m here to assure you, yes it can. It does. It’s insanely good.

Now, I’m not going to ask you to take my word for it – that this salad is just beyond. You see, I don’t have the least bit of an objective relationship with Huevos Rancheros. I love it, period. It can do no wrong in my book. I guess what I’m saying, is that, for me, Huevos Rancheros is like sex: when it’s good, it’s indescribable, and when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.

Huevos Rancheros Salad

So you should take Matt’s word for it, instead. He, being much more discerning about his Huevos Rancheros and not being quite so obsessed, found this salad to be “phenomenal.” And he, unlike myself, would recognize and say so if it wasn’t.

This salad is everything you love about the iconic dish, just transformed by placing the traditional ingredients on a bed of lettuce and crushing some tortilla chips on top. There’s a creamy chipotle dressing that lightly coats the lettuce pieces but doesn’t compete with the traditional flavors. And of course, that runny egg yolk – arguably one of the best parts of Huevos Rancheros – serves to dress everything too.

Huevos Rancheros Salad

It’s different, for sure! But, I firmly believe that all of you out there who are Huevos Rancheros lovers will also love it in salad form. A really beautiful meal, for any time of day. Enjoy!

{One Year Ago: Julie’s Famous Buffalo Wings; Soy, Dijon and Blue Cheese Chicken Wings}
{Two Years Ago: Meyer Lemon and Fresh Cranberry Scones; Gas Station Pork Tacos}

Source: recipe slightly adapted from The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown; egg technique from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
DRESSING:
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tsp adobo sauce
1 large egg
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup sour cream

SALAD:
1 large romaine heart, chopped
¾ cup diced jalapeno Jack cheese
1 cup cooked corn kernels (frozen are fine, just thaw them first)
¾ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1-4 tbs unsalted butter, lard, or rendered bacon fat
1-2 large eggs per serving (anywhere from 2 to 8 eggs)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup tomato salsa, homemade or store-bought
Crushed tortilla chips, about 1 generous handful per serving
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions:
First make the DRESSING: combine the chipotle, adobo sauce, egg, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. With the machine still running, carefully pour in the olive oil through the top of the blender, until a thick sauce forms. Add the sour cream and process 30 seconds. Refrigerate until using.
Combine the lettuce, cheese, corn, and beans in a large mixing bowl. Toss with your hands to evenly incorporate everything. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over high heat and get it screaming hot, about 1 full minute. Add the fat of choice, about 1 generous tbs for every 2 eggs. Work in batches to avoid crowding the eggs. Let the fat melt completely, then add your egg, reduce the heat to medium-high, and step back. The whites will sputter and hiss. Within a minute, it should get brown at the edges but don’t touch or move it. Let it cook until the white looks fully opaque, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Shimmy a thin metal spatula under the egg, gently loosening any stuck parts. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat as needed to cook all of your eggs.
To serve, dress the lettuce mixture lightly with the dressing and toss to combine. Mound the lettuce on dinner plates, then top with 1-2 fried eggs. Spoon salsa over all and garnish with the tortilla chips and scallions. Serve immediately.
As written, this will probably yield 4-6 servings, depending on how large a portion you prefer. I got 4 servings. How many eggs you use depends on whether your diners want 1 or 2 eggs per serving, and how many servings you choose to have.

Beans and Greens Salad

Beans and Greens Salad

Happy Hump Day! What classic dish did I turn into dinner salad today? The simple Italian soup of Beans and Greens, a wonderful soup that shines with very few ingredients: escarole, broth, cannellini beans, and parmesan cheese. Pancetta optional. I’m happy to say these same ingredients (minus the broth, of course), absolutely shine in a salad too.

Beans and Greens Salad

I did not include pancetta in my salad, although you absolutely could if you wanted to. Escarole is a fantastic green to use for salads. It doesn’t need to be cooked or wilted, and the texture is just buttery. And, it’s more nutritious than lettuce, so I think we win all around today!

Beans and Greens Salad

Beans and Greens Salad

This salad is hearty and filling, nutritious and sooooo tasty. We always love it. The dressing is a tangy vinaigrette that adds some punch without obscuring the original flavors of the soup itself. I hope you love it! And stay tuned for tomorrow and Friday – I have some *amazing* classic-dishes-turned-dinner-salads coming up that you absolutely cannot miss!! Enjoy!

Beans and Greens Salad

{One Year Ago: Chocolate-Chipotle Braised Chicken Wings}
{Two Years Ago: Spicy Calamari Stew with Garlic Rubbed Ciabatta Toasts}

Source: adapted, ever so slightly, from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced or run through a garlic press
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 large or 2 small heads of escarole, coarsely chopped
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Grated parmesan, plus a few shavings from a wedge (optional)

Directions:
First, make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, mustard, garlic, and olive oil. Whisk well, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large salad bowl, toss together the escarole, beans, and as much or as little grated parmesan as you like. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, a little at a time, and toss until dressed. Beware of overdressing the salad. Garnish with a few parmesan shavings if desired. Serve immediately.

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over chipotle Black Bean Puree with jalapeno crema

Through lived experience I’ve found that when a craving hits, you should just feed the beast and then move on. It’s just going to haunt you until you do. So last week Matt and I booked a vacation – this May is our ten year wedding anniversary (!!!) so the last week in April we’ll be traveling to the Bahamas, visiting both Paradise Island and the Exuma Cays. (I’m SO excited!!)

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

We made dinner reservations to eat at Mesa Grill, at the Atlantis resort, and that, my friends, got me craving this dish. Unfortunately for me, Mesa Grill’s flagship New York location closed down a year or so ago; fortunately for me, there’s a Mesa Grill Cookbook! And yes, this is the recipe I’ve made most often from said book.

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

This is surprisingly easy, for a fine dining restaurant dish, and it’s a real show-stopper. I’ve made it for dinner parties quite a few times, and my mom has as well. Everyone has raved. And yet, it’s also simple enough for a weeknight meal, believe it or not.

I just love it. The recipe contains three steps, all of which are super easy and two of which can be done ahead of time. Upon making this (yet again!) I realized I had never put it up on the blog – for shame!! Time to correct that little misstep!

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

You just have to make this one soon – it’s so incredibly delicious. And now my craving is sated, and perhaps more importantly, now I won’t be tempted to order it when we dine at Mesa Grill in a few months – and that’s important because at Mesa Grill Atlantis, this dish costs $39 – apiece!!! A little outrageous… I’d rather make it for about $25 total (meaning for two servings) in my own kitchen. Enjoy!

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

{One Year Ago: A Guest Post – Creole Meatball Po’Boys; Bacon and Hazelnut Buttermilk Caramels}
{Two Years Ago: Chipotle Chilaquiles}

Source: adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
BLACK BEAN PUREE:
Canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt

SALMON:
1/3 cup honey
1 tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 (about 8 oz.) skin-on salmon fillets
2 tbs canola oil
Cilantro or scallions, for garnish

JALAPENO CREMA:
½ cup sour cream
1 large or 2 small jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded if desired, and chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:
First make the BLACK BEAN PUREE. In a medium sauté pan preheated over medium-high, drizzle in some canola oil, then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor. Wipe out the skillet. Add the black beans to the food processor, along with the chipotle chile(s), cumin, and salt to taste. Fill the black beans can up about halfway with water, then add that to the food processor. Puree until very smooth. If it’s too thick, add a touch more water. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Transfer the bean puree back to the skillet you wiped out and place over medium-low heat for a few minutes, just to warm up the beans. Turn the heat to low to keep warm but not scorch them while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Note: the beans can be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
Now make the SALMON. In a small bowl, add the honey, ancho chile powder, Dijon mustard, plus a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Season the flesh sides of each salmon fillet with salt and black pepper. Add the canola oil to a large skillet or cast-iron pan and set it over high heat. When the skillet is very hot, add the salmon fillets skin side down. Let them cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until a crust forms and they will lift from the skillet with no sticking issues whatsoever. In the last minute of cooking on this side, brush each fillet with some of the honey glaze. Flip the salmon fillets and cook flesh side down for at least 2 minutes, and up to 2 minutes beyond that. 2 minutes flesh side down will get you rare to medium-rare salmon, so go longer if you want it more done in the center.
Remove the salmon fillets to a plate and brush more glaze on the flesh side of each fillet.
To make the JALAPENO CREMA, place the roasted jalapenos and sour cream in a small or mini food processor, season to taste with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
To assemble the dish: on each of 4 large dinner plates, spoon a mound of black bean puree and spread it out all chefy-like with the back of a spoon. Center a salmon fillet over the spread of bean puree, then dot the jalapeno crema all around the salmon and bean puree. Garnish with cilantro sprigs or snipped scallions if desired. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Roasted Garlic Hummus

Sweet Potato Roasted garlic hummus 6472

Alright, I’ve got one more Thanksgiving leftovers post to share with you, and this one does not involve turkey! This is for your leftover sweet potato mash that you are sick and tired of reheating and eating as is. What do you do? You turn it into hummus!

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Yep, you throw it into your food processor with some canned chickpeas, quick roasted garlic, which I’ll show you how to make, plus some tahini and give it a whirl. Once the food processor has done its thing, you have a delicious, nutritious snack that doesn’t resemble your Thanksgiving spread but also allowed you to not waste food. Win!

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I love hummus with carrot sticks, and frankly that’s all I had in the house the day I made this, but feel free to also use celery sticks, pita chips, red bell pepper slices, and whatever else you can dream up as dippers.

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Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, everyone!! I hope you have a beautiful, delicious, and safe holiday! I’m out until Sunday. Enjoy!

Sweet potato roasted garlic hummus 6463

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Praline Pancakes}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes, Apple Pie}

Source: slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:
1-2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tbs olive oil, plus more for roasting the garlic
2 tbs water, or more as needed
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅔ cup leftover mashed sweet potatoes
1 tbs tahini
½ tsp finely minced fresh rosemary (more to taste)
Kosher salt to taste

Directions:
To roast the garlic, simmer the peeled cloves in a small saucepan with olive oil for 15-20 minutes over low/medium heat. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and when cool enough to handle, use your fingers to coax it out of its skins. Add to the food processor.
Puree all ingredients except rosemary and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add more oil or water as needed. Add the rosemary and salt and pulse a few times to incorporate.
Serve with dippers of your choice.

Austin-Style Black Beans #SundaySupper

Austin-Style Black Beans 5283

Welcome to a Budget Friendly edition of Sunday Supper! Up front, I have to confess something. I don’t really ever budget when it comes to our food costs. Now I’m certainly not buying things like caviar and lobster every week, and I’m very cognizant of what is and isn’t on a special sale that week, but I don’t enter the grocery store with a number in mind that I can’t or shouldn’t exceed. I’m a firm believer in the principle of pay more for your food and less for your healthcare. So I’ll cut back in almost every other area of life, but not food.

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True story to illustrate my point: several years ago I noticed that my everyday boots had a not-so-insignificant hole in the sole. Fortunately they were thick soles, so the situation wasn’t as dire as it sounds, but still – that’s not great. I ventured into a shopping mall with the express purpose of buying a new pair of shoes. Two hours later I walked back to my car, without any new shoes, but carrying in hand a bag of goodies, including a bottle of $11 gourmet barbecue sauce, from Williams-Sonoma. Yeah. You can see where my priorities lie.

Austin Style Black beans 5290

Eventually I did replace the shoes, but I didn’t on that particular day because I was being mindful of our overall budget, and well, I wanted the barbecue sauce more. So this week’s theme was a little bit out of my wheelhouse!

In the end, I decided I couldn’t go wrong with dried beans. They are extremely cheap, and once cooked they stretch to either feed a small army, or let a few people eat for a week, easy. These were delicious – full of flavor, incredibly filling, high in protein, and you will not feel like you are “eating cheap”, if that makes sense. They work wonderfully as a side dish, but I ate a more substantial-sized bowl for lunch today, and was a perfectly happy camper.

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I hope y’all enjoy them! And definitely check out the rest of the Sunday Supper gang for some fantastic ideas on budget friendly, yet delicious recipes!

{Two Years Ago: Poutine, Blue Cheese Hazelnut Biscuits}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed, picked over and rocks discarded
1 tbs canola or vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped, plus a nice spoonful of adobo sauce
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs tomato paste
¼ cup lime juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Crumbled Cotija cheese, for garnish (optional – this will make it non-vegan)

Directions:
Place the beans in a large bowl and fill with water, covering them by about 1 inch. Soak at room temperature overnight. Drain the beans well, then transfer to a large soup pot. Cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans in a colander in the sink.
Return the empty pot to the stove and heat to medium-high. Add the oil, then the onion. Saute the onion and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Lower the heat to medium, then add the beans, chipotle plus adobo sauce, and ¼ cup cilantro. Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours. Adjust the heat around as necessary and stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom. You want to keep things at a gently rolling simmer.
After 1 ½ hours, add the remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, lime juice and salt to taste. Cook uncovered 30 minutes more, or until the beans are tender. Taste again for seasoning and adjust as needed. Garnish with Cotija if you desire, noting that it will no longer be vegan if you do so.
Note: you may need to go longer than the stated 2 hours cook time, just keep tasting and see. Mine went an extra 30 minutes purely because I got distracted cooking the rest of our dinner that night, and they were not overcooked at all.

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Chipotle Pinto Bean Dip with Jicama “Chips” + A Cookbook Giveaway!!!

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Welcome back! This week I am giving away my surprise excess copy of Mark Bittman’s The VB6 Cookbook! And each day of blogging, I’m sharing a delicious recipe from the book, to give you a taste of what you’ll be getting if you win. The giveaway goes on until Friday at 5 pm EST, and you can enter at the bottom of this post – don’t miss out!

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Yesterday I shared his insane Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs – totally vegan, and beyond delicious. I was in awe. Today I’m sharing one of the snacks chapter recipes. I have a huge weakness for bean dips, and they are super easy to make at home. Being from Texas, Frito scoops are quite common and popular for use as a dipper. Tasty? Oh yes. Healthy? Ummm, not really.

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So I was incredibly pleased to see Bittman’s take on what the heck we should be using to scoop up creamy, spicy bean dip. He had several, but the idea that really jumped out at me was jicama. Jicama! Yes! Why didn’t I ever think of that? Jicama is perfect for bean dips. It’s crispy, it’s sturdy, and it’s commonly used in Mexican or Tex-Mex cooking, so it doesn’t feel out of place at all. I am seriously doing this again.

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A quick warning about the bean dip: you can use one chipotle in adobo or two. It will surprise no one that I used two, and I can assure you it is super spicy that way. If you’re not into the heat, definitely use only one! enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Grilled Romaine Hearts with Bacon Blue Cheese Vinaigrette}

Source: The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
2 (15 oz.) cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup packed cilantro sprigs
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1-2 chipotle in adobo, plus a little bit of the adobo sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large jicama, peeled and sliced into discs, like chips

Directions:
Put all the ingredients except the scallions and jicama into your blender. Puree until very smooth, adding water if it’s too thick and not completely cooperating.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Transfer the dip to a bowl and garnish with the scallions. Serve with the jicama “chips” for dipping.

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Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs + A Cookbook Giveaway!!!

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Thanks to a snafu with my local post office and a generous Amazon customer service agent, I wound up with two copies of The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman. So I’m giving away my extra copy to one of my lucky readers! The giveaway will run all week, until Friday, July 18, 2014 at 5 pm Eastern, and each day that I blog until Friday, I’ll be featuring a recipe from this wonderful book!

First up we have these amazing vegan meatballs. When I say these were amazing, I’m not joking. At all. For full disclosure, I’ll freely admit I was a little wary of these. I’d never before had meatballs that didn’t contain meat or at least poultry or fish. So there was a touch of trepidation at how they would taste, whether I’d screwed them up, etc, etc.

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I needn’t have worried one bit. They were so insane. Matt ate seconds the night I served them, and we argued over who was to get the last container of leftovers. They are that good.

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Whether you are vegan or not, or occasionally vegan, or whatever: try these meatballs – I guarantee you’ll make them again and again. And like any kind of meatballs, they are flexible. I served them simply, just in a bowl with some marinara (someone might have been too lazy to make pasta that night), but they would be so delicious over pasta or in a meatball sub.

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And stay tuned for three more VB6 Cookbook recipes! You can enter to win a copy of this lovely book in the rafflecopter below.

Source: The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes no larger than 1 inch
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 cup cooked or canned white beans
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup breadcrumbs
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Use 1 tbs olive oil to grease a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
Add 1 tbs olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces shrivel a bit and are tender and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of a food processor.
Add the remaining 1 tbs olive oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Return to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the beans (also rinse them if using canned). Add the beans and parsley to the food processor bowl with the eggplant and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not completely pureed.
Transfer the eggplant mixture to a large bowl and add the onion and garlic mixture, along with the bread crumbs, chile flakes, and oregano. Mix to combine well.
Make sure your hands are clean and get them wet. Roll the mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. You’ll wind up with between 12 and 16 meatballs. You will likely need to rewet your hands between each meatball or every other meatball.
As you form them, place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake undisturbed until they are firm and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes (start checking after 20 minutes, though you may need longer).
Meanwhile, warm the marinara sauce; and this is when you would cook pasta or toast hoagie rolls if desired.
Serve the meatballs with the marinara in a bowl, or in whatever other fashion you desire.

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