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Beans On The Side September 18, 2007

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food.
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Two easy bean dishes!

Just in time to help you lower that cholesterol, increase that fiber and protein, and fart more than a fat baby! I’m using dried beans for both of these, since they are cheap and last FOREVER. Before you use them, it’s a good idea to pick through them for stones and give them a quick rinse. Remember, you don’t know where the machinery that processed them has been. As far as serving size, I usually use 1/3 cup of dry beans when making them for a side dish. Your mileage may vary.

Spicy Black Beans

First, I give the beans a quick soak by covering them with water with about a half inch to spare and adding a pinch of baking soda to preserve their color. Bring it to a boil and then switch off the heat and let stand, covered, for an hour. Drain the beans and return to the pot with spiffy NEW water to cover them (or broth this time since you’ll be cooking them), some salt and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil again, then lower to a simmer, cover and let cook about a half hour or until the beans are tender.

Then I spice ’em up – I drain the beans again since I don’t like them too soupy, remove the bay leaf and add some salt, pepper, chili powder, and a generous blast of hot sauce (pick your favorite brand). Stir in some fresh chopped onion and red pepper as well, and garnish with green onion after you serve it all over a bed of rice. I realize this isn’t a true Cuban black bean recipe, but it’s yummy and that’s all that counts, isn’t it?

And speaking of inauthentic and yummy, here’s an easy Curried Lentil dish that you can serve over rice or just on its own:

First, sweat some chopped onion in a little olive oil and salt until it starts to soften, then stir in a teaspoon or so of garam masala or a curry powder (or your own concoction of turmeric/cumin/coriander/cayenne) – all to taste, really. Mix this together until fragrant, feel free to add a little minced ginger too, I won’t sue you. Then add the lentils and cover with water with a good half inch of water on top. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for about a half an hour or until the lentils are tender. At the very end, stir in some chopped tomato (fresh or canned).

Either of these can also be turned into main dishes by increasing the quantity and adding cubed-up and sauteed chicken or some other meat, serving the whole mess over rice or couscous.

These are also easy to experiment with by trying different variations along the lines of whatever you like. Why can’t more women be like that? Oh, those silly restraining orders…

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