Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fruity Black Bean Salad

It's finally Thursday! My husband will be home in a couple of hours and I'm totally excited. I promised him I'd make him a good home-cooked meal... but I got so caught up with cleaning that I really don't have a lot of time to make something spectacular. So I've got a simple casserole in the oven, which I will post about later. Right now I've a got a fresh recipe that lightens up some black beans.

It has been really hot here in south Texas. Apparently, a few days ago was the 90th day in a row this year to reach or be above 100 F! Can you believe that? My poor yard looks awful, even though we have a sprinkler system. It seems pointless to be wasting excessive amounts of water to have green grass when it hasn't rained here in months. But, summer is almost over. I am definitely looking forward to the refreshing cooler temps. In the mean time, I will continue to make this little salad!

I originally wanted to make the old lime-corn bean salad standby, but it's time to go get groceries so my fridge and pantry are looking pretty meek. Instead of using red onion I added an apple and the sweetness was perfect! Almost like they were the onions... but nicer. Then I added a few clementine wedges... and it was perfect. Morgane and I enjoyed this salad over a grilled portabella the first night and just by itself the second. Either way, I really liked it.

Fruity Black Bean Salad
- 2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- juice of 4 limes
- 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tomato
- 1 small red apple
- 1 clementine
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

In a large bowl combine the grapeseed oil, lime, salt and pepper. Whisk.

Dice the tomato and red apple, then place in the bowl. Peel the clemetine and seperate the wedges. You can remove the skin from each individual wedge, but not necessary. Add to the bowl, along with the beans and cilantro. Combine all the ingredients gently with a spoon and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Poblano Packages

I must admit that at this very moment I am sitting here completely stuffed and ready to nap! I have been running 3 miles daily and this morning I skipped breakfast before my run. So, when I got home from my run and workout I was starving! I was so happy to have had leftovers so I could make a quick and tasty meal. I didn't eat a lot, but I inhaled it... you know how that goes. I thought of making 3 seperate posts for this recipe... but they seemed simple enough to where one post would suffice.

At the beginning of the week I made a big big batch of black beans. Really simple. I just followed the directions on the package, except instead of only cooking them for 2 hours, I cooked them for 3. Why- you might ask. Truth is I am used to eating those squishy black beans from the can. So, when I tasted the beans at 2 hours I really felt like they were raw! At 3 hours, they were still firmer than the canned ones, but I could deal with it. I can only imagine how long they cook canned beans for. I poured the cooled beans into a really big airtight plastic container and put them in the fridge to use for the rest of the week.

So, today when I got home I made my version of Cristianos y Moros. This is a tasty vegetarian Cuban dish that is basically just black beans and white rice with all sorts of great flavors. While that was cooking I remembered I had poblano peppers. Then all of a sudden I had a hanckering for Chiles Rellenos! I decided to make chile relleno with panela and the rice dish. I don't think I've ever had a better idea than this.

I almost decided not to try it because I don't have a gas stove. Usually, I'll go to my grandmas house to roast the peppers over her stove-top flame. This keeps the peppers nice and firm and you're still able to remove the peel. Too much effort required. I remembered always seeing Bobby Flay do this under the broiler and thought I'd try my hand it. My mom has advised me against this before, saying that the peppers are way to flimsy afterwards. But- I was HUNGRY. So, I broiled them anyways. Sure enough! They were so much more flimsy than when we do it stove top. I peeled them, but they were so hard to keep closed with a toothpick. The flesh would tear apart and just spill all the contents. I wrapped them in twine and voila! poblano packages. I swapped the usual coating of foamy eggs for a simple cornmeal- because I was HUNGRY! The end result was- WOW. I had to add a little indulgence so I poured over a hefty spoonful of Mexican cream. It was heaven...

I must say that being a vegetarian makes cooking so much faster. I have been okay so far, but Morgane looked at her plate of rice and beans, with a slice of panela cheese... looked at me... back at her plate... and says "where's the carnita?" (where's the meat?) Promptly after her question she dug in and finished her entire dish! I guess she didn't really miss it. :)

Enough... here are the recipes!

Cristianos y Moros
- 1 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 roma tomato
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 cups of water
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked black beans (not drained)

Pour vegetable oil into a warm skillet and add the rice. While the rice is toasting, dice the tomato then add to the skillet. Once the rice has a beige color to it, add the water, salt, bay leaf, and cumin. Cover loosely with foil and allow the rice to absorb the water. When most of the water has been absorbed add in the beans and stir. Cover again and let the beans heat through. Remove the bay leaf when dish is finished.

You can eat this dish alone, as a side dish, or a stuffing... used in the following recipe.

Poblano Packages
- 4 poblano peppers
- 1 1/2 cup Cristianos y Moros
- 5 oz Panela Cheese or Queso Fresco
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsb cumin
- cooking twine
- vegetable oil

Turn the broiler on High. Place the washed peppers on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler. Keep an eye on them and turn them to make sure the skin it blistered and darkened on the whole pepper. It should take no more than 8 minutes in total. Remove the peppers from the pan and wrap loosely in foil paper for 5 minutes. Rub the peppers soflty with your fingers to remove the outer skin that has been blistered. Using your fingers open one side of the pepper to open it like a book. Removed the seeds, stem, and rinse under warm water. Pat dry.

Place the peppers on a baking sheet, opened, so you may stuff them. Place a slice of cheese in each pepper and add 1/3 cup of rice dish. Fold the pepper over and use twine to tie it closed. I made three seperate ties on each pepper. Once the peppers are closed, place a skillet on medium high heat and add some vegetable oil.

In a wide plate combine the cornmeal, flour and cumin. Dredge the peppers in the mixture and then transfer to the skillet. Cook the peppers for 2 minutes on each side, just to get a crunchy crust. Then remove excess oil by placing them on a baking sheet or plate with napkins.

Serve the peppers over a plate of Cristianos y Morros. *optional* Pour a tablespoon of Mexican cream over the peppers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is New.

It seems everytime I step away from my blog it takes me longer to return. I have not been in the mood to cook lately (or at least take the time to photograph and then blog about what I've cooked). I've felt so scatter brained lately and I feel like things are barely going back to normal. My husband recently got a promotion at work and has been gone for a whole month! This, of course, has left me totally unmotivated to do anything other miss him. (Is that lame?) Well, I can't help it.. I missed him more than ever from day 1, maybe because I knew he'd be gone for so long. Now he is returning home this Thursday and I finally feel like life is being restored to me. I figured I should really take advantage of this and start up a great idea I got for my blog.

First off, you should know that I have decided to change my eating habits. I recently read an article (sorry! forgot where) that had all these interesting facts about meat that I kind off just turned me off. I am making an effort to become a vegetarian, not only because of what I learned, but because I've always wondered how you can be satisfied with eating only vegetables and no meat? I've tried this out before, only to learn new recipes, and it was so much fun. I am excited to take it on as a lifestyle change. I only hope that my old-habits don't come around asking for a big juicy steak.

Secondly (is this a word?) I want to choose one ingredient for the week and see what I can come up with. This will definitely help with saving money and also using up all the left overs. Which I am notorious for just letting waste away (I know, I should be ashamed). This week I have decided to make black beans. I love these little suckers and up until yesterday, I didn't know how to change them up other than just the usual refried bean. Stay tuned for an intersting adventure!