Sunday, May 16, 2010

Black Beans and Rice

Last week was one hell of a week. I dealt with some really hard things in my life and had to confront some really difficult realities about myself. The fall out of the entire situation isn't yet clear, but I have been forced to look directly at myself, admit some hard truths, and decide whether to grow or lose myself in pity and fear.

I choose life.

And, of course, you can't live without eating.

Sometimes, though I go a little overboard in the kitchen. Tonight, thus far, I have made homemade guacamole. I am making carne frita. I am also boiling the pork bone from the carne frita, combined with some herbs, to create a soup base for later use. And, after all that, I am also making my homemade vegetarian black beans.

Did I mention I also cooked an amazing seafood stir fry with glass noodles for lunch? If I didn't, I just did.

But, enough with the food is my black bean recipe. Enjoy.

Black Beans and Rice

1lb bag black beans
4 tbsp Lobster flavor Better than Bouillon
5 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp curry
1 jalapeno
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 large red onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp Adobo

First, to speed up cooking time, soak your black beans in water over night. If you forget or don't have the time to do that or you have a whole bunch of time in the house one day...then don't worry about soaking them.

First off, if you want purely vegetarian beans, feel free to leave out the lobster bouillon. The flavor black beans are so rich that even without any animal product, they are delicious. The lobster bouillon, however, takes these beans from delicious to blow-your-friggin-brain-straight-out-of-your-skull-and-into-orbit delicious.

Pour the beans into a large cooking pot. Cover the beans with water until there is about an inch of water above the beans. Next add in all of the additional ingredients. With a large spoon, stir all of the ingredients together so they are well mixed. Next turn the beans on medium heat and cover.

Watch the heat so that the beans don't boil over too much and check the beans every 15-20 minutes to make sure that they are well covered with water. If you have soaked the beans over night, it should take about an hour and a half of slowly simmering and stirring to finish these beans. If not, it will take roughly four hours.

But let me tell you, do NOT rush the process. If you keep the beans covered in water, you can't overcook them, and the longer you let them cook the more amazing they will be.

Serve the beans with rice to make a complete carb/protein meal or serve the beans as a side dish with your favorite protein. This dish will create about 10 services for a family of four, so you should freeze some of the beans or use the beans in a good stir fry. Without the bouillon, the cost of this dish is roughly $5, with the lobster sauce the cost is roughly $10.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Capellini with Langostinos

About a week and a half ago, I was at Trader Joe's in Union Square, and I came across a bag of frozen seafood that looked like itty bitty lobster tails. The name langostino means "little lobster." I bought this unknown seafood on faith, and I let it sit in the freezer for about a week and a half before I turned my attention to it.

I did my research, and I spent some time online learning about this food and some popular ways to prepare it. Turns out that the creatures look like shrimp with wicked long pincers. Kinda scary. They were once considered throw away food, but now are looked at very favorably. Indeed the meat is deliciously sweet, and it was very affordable.

So, after looking at some of the flavors that folks said go well with langostinos, I concocted a light pasta dish with an amazing white wine sauce. David, my in-house food tester, made me save the leftover sauce for later use. It's good. Real good.

Capellini with Langostinos

1lb frozen cooked langostinos
1lb capellini
1/2 cup red onion
2 cups white wine
2 heads of broccoli cut up
1tbs Goya Adobo seasoning
3 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 stick of butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

To begin, prepare your pasta al dente. Set the pasta aside.

Next in a large skillet, melt HALF of the stick of butter over medium heat. Next add the onions and garlic and saute for two minutes in the butter. Next add the rest of the ingredients except the other half of the butter, langostinos and the pasta. Saute this for about five minutes so that the broccoli has time to cook a bit. Finally add the last half of the butter stick and the langostinos. Cook for about seven minutes allowing the flavors to mix well. Serve over the capellini.

This dish will run you about $10 and will easily feed four to six people.