The Pandemic Pantry -Basic Corn and Bean Salad – 04.18.20

The look on my face must have revealed my aching soul. Maybe it was the numerous trips to the pantry or the multiple freezer checks. We had plenty of food to survive on but nothing I really wanted or cared to eat. The truth was I needed to cook. I needed some fresh foods to cook with. Ultimately she relented.

“You can go to the store and shop with the old people. You will wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You will not wander up and down the aisles like you usually do. You will not shower before going. When you come back you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. The plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage. You will then go into the laundry room where you will strip down and put your clothes into the washing machine. Then and only then you go to our bathroom to decontaminate.”

Senior Time at the grocery store is 7-8:00 AM. There were not many shoppers. The customers were all wearing masks, some had both masks and gloves on. But most of the employees were not wearing any masks or gloves. We know the mask wearing thing is more about not spreading virus if you’re infected and less effective for personal protection (though the latest scientific guidance is that masks do offer some level of personal protection). So is setting a specific time for a high risk group to shop at the same time and NOT have employees wear masks smart? It would take just one infected worker and s(he) could take out a number of the oldies. Just a thought. But everyone in the store respected each other’s space and kept their appropriate physical distance.

We began sheltering in place behavior one week before our state formally declared a shutdown. Minus two days in Owasso, Oklahoma (the trip was taken with the expectation a lock down would be ordered) we have been home for a month. Welcome to The Pandemic Greater Depression. At our home we are fortunate to both have jobs. Many, many others are not as fortunate and the road ahead will be hard. Despite the fact we have a roof over our heads and food on the table the new era Depression mentality has set in. I call the new mindset Forced Frugality.   The grocery store trip was interesting.  Some of the supply chain issues are resolved and the shelves look better.  Still no paper products and some of the shortages (like frozen pizza) are just plain strange.  There were arrows on the floor in an attempt to direct traffic.  I learned that some people don’t know how to follow arrows.  And despite clear instructions not to wander the aisles I pretty much went down every aisle because you never know what you’re going to find (or not find).  I found this:

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$0.59 for organic dark red kidney beans and $0.84 for organic corn!

Today’s lunch side was a simple corn and bean salad.  Here it is.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 celery rib, tiny dice
  • 1/4 cup red onion, tiny dice
  • garlic powder
  • pinch or two dried basil
  • a splash of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can organic dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can organic corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder and basil in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Adjust your seasonings.  Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add your vegetables and beans.  Stir and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice.
  5. Serve as a side dish or over some fresh greens.  This size recipe makes around four servings.

Tips

Sugar is only needed to counteract the acidity in the dressing.  You might not need nor want any sugar at all.  I wanted to put some red bell pepper into this dish but there were none to be found at the store.

Here’s a list of pantry items.  Hopefully you have many if not all on hand as we shelter in place.

Pandemic Pantry Items – Updated 04.18.20

  • Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans.  Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Dried oregano, basil, and parsley
  • Onion and garlic powders
  • Bay leaves
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried pastas
  • Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry
  • Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy
  • Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken
  • Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio  and plain long grain white
  • Flour tortillas and corn tortillas

Stay safe, stay well, stay home.

And if you do venture out of the house wear a mask.

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Badass Black Eyed Peas

chili madness

I make black eyed peas once a year for New Year’s Day.  For good luck and good leftovers.  Every year I always say to myself,

“Self.  You need to write the recipe down.”

And each and every year I forget.  This year however is different.  A friend asked for the recipe.  So I actually sat my butt down into my chair and started writing.  I think my 2020 version of this recipe is better than in years gone by.  But I can’t be absolutely certain because I never wrote down any other versions of this annual bean concoction.  What I am certain of is the 2020 version is Badass.

Before we get to the recipe there’s a few odd tips and tricks you need to know.

  • The beans needs to simmer for several hours.
  • The beans get an overnight soak in filtered water and you will change the water several times.
  • Everyone in the pool.  I don’t cook the beans separately for this dish.
  • Unlike other chili recipes this recipe has hints of chili.  Don’t try to make this a chili because it’s not chili.

So now that you know not to call these beans a chili here’s how to make it Badass.

4 slices center cut bacon
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each smoked paprika, chili powder
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T cumin
1 qt low sodium chicken broth
3 T tomato paste
1 lb black eyed peas
1 lb ground turkey 85/15
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then add fresh water to the beans. Change the soaking water at least twice.
  3. In a large stock pot fry the bacon in the olive oil until the strips are crisp and the fat is rendered.
  4. Saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add the turkey and brown, breaking up the clumps as you go.
  6. Toss everything else into the pool.  Spices, tomato paste, broth, and beans.
  7. The black eyed peas should be drained and the chicken broth needs to barely cover all of the ingredients.
  8. Bring to a boil then simmer for several hours with the pot partially covered.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
  10. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  11. Yum.  Makes about 10-12 servings.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  There is plenty of salt in the chili powder and broth so salt last.  As you adjust the seasonings you may want to add more chili powder and/or oregano.  I tend to use garlic powder (my less than top secret favorite flavor enhancer).

This dish tastes better on day two.

Texas Corn Bread of course.

This recipe is not in the book pictured above.  But I like the cover and I’m hoping the author gets the hint.

For my vegan and vegetarian readers this dish is neither vegan nor vegetarian.  Feel free to make your own veggie version with a nice organic vegetable or mushroom broth.

Three Bean Chili Madness

chili madness

Before we get to the recipe there’s a few odd tips and tricks you need to know.

  • This chili cooks all day long but I didn’t use a slow cooker.  It was a cold day and I was hunkered down in the house.
  • The beans get an overnight soak and are cooked separately first for several hours.
  • You make beans first then add the beans to the meats.
  • Unlike other chili recipes this is very mild.  You add your own heat at serving time.

So now that you know this is a pain in the rump recipe (time wise) here we go.

1 T extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro
1 can (15 oz) no salt diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) low sodium chicken broth

1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 C each dry Mayocoba beans, pinto beans, and light red kidney beans
1 lb grass fed ground beef 80/20
1 lb ground turkey
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then add fresh water to the beans.  Bring to a boil, add your soup recipe seasonings, then lower the heat down to a simmer.  The seasoning for the beans is based off my Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal soup recipe.  Substitute the three bean mix for the 100% pintos and leave out the tomatoes until later.  (No salt and the chili powder is also a no salt variety).
  3. Allow the beans to simmer for several hours.
  4. In a different large stock pot heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened.
  5. Add the meats and brown.
  6. Add red wine and cook off the alcohol.
  7. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, chilies, broth, beans.
  8. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water or broth if the chili gets too thick.
  9. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  10. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  The Mayocobo beans will break apart and make this chili creamy and thick (unless you add more broth or water).  The recipe will make approximately eight servings.  I used chicken broth instead of beef broth because I thought I had beef broth in the cupboard, looked and did not find it.  I found the beef broth the next day.  The package was sideways and I didn’t see it.  I used both ground beef and ground turkey because I didn’t buy enough ground beef and the meat to bean ratio was wrong.  I had ground turkey so I used it.  And that’s how this recipe turned into a beef and bird chili.

This recipe is not in the book pictured.  Lucky you.

Never Been to Peru Potato and Bean Stew

In the bookstore the other day I could hardly contain my excitement.  I found a used copy of Mollie Katzen’s 2013 cookbook The Heart of the Plate for six dollars!  Middle and Early Boomers might remember  her Moosewood cookbook.  I still have a copy of that cookbook in my collection.  There are a few recipes from The Heart of the Plate I want to try.  The first one was Peruvian Potato-Bean Stew.  But immediately I saw a problem.

There are over 4,000 edible varieties of potato, mostly found in the Andes of South America.!

“If you can’t get blue potatoes…”

I’m not in Peru.  4000 to pick from and the recipe calls for the blue one.  Since I wasn’t going to find blue potatoes I figured I might as well just mess with the rest of the recipe too.  So here’s my version inspired by Mollie.

Adapted from The Heart of Plate by Mollie Katzen

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground red chili
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 cups cooked Mayocabo beans with cooking liquid
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add oil, onions, chili powder, ground chili, oregano and cumin .  Gently saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bell pepper,  garlic, and salt.  Saute for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes.. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid, canned tomatoes, cover again, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the beans, reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are warmed through.
  6. Season individual servings with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Yum

Random Thoughts

If you like chili you’ll like this recipe.  It’s basically a potato and bean chili, no meat.  If you cannot find Mayocabo beans use pintos.  It won’t taste the same but will still be excellent, kind of like using yellow potatoes instead of the blue ones.  Pinto beans will hold their shape better whereas the Mayocabo is creamier and tends to fall apart with prolonged cooking.

For the beans I used a pound dried, rinsed multiple times and soaked overnight.  The next day I tossed the beans into a pot, added water to one inch above the beans with about a teaspoon each of cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic powder and a bay leaf.

 

 

 

 

Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup

I survived another Thanksgiving and managed to gain just 2/10th of a pound.  But I was unable to escape Texas without leftovers.

In the fridge there was a gallon size baggie with some white, some dark, one leg and one wing from the bird.  Thanksgiving was two days ago.  I had to do something or this would become cold turkey sandwiches (boring).  After a few minutes of anguish I had an idea…soup.

I almost called this recipe “A Wing and a Prayer” because I never put turkey in navy bean soup before.  But since it’s my basic navy bean soup recipe with some roasted turkey parts tossed in the pot I’m sure the soup will turn out fine.

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 qt low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 lb dried navy beans
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cooked turkey leg
  • 1 cooked turkey wing
  1. Soak the beans overnight in water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Saute until the vegetables are softened.  Add the thyme and saute an additional minute until the herb is fragrant.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.  Add to the pot along with the vegetable broth, bay leaf, and turkey parts.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for about 2 hours or until the beans are soft.
  5. Remove the wing and leg.  Allow to cool and remove the meat from the bones.  Discard the bones.  Dice the turkey meat and return to the pot.  Correct your seasonings.
  6. Yum.

The Next Day

This may be the quickest edit to a post ever.  I forgot to list salt and pepper.  But if this is your first visit to this recipe you wouldn’t know that.    When I corrected the seasonings I tossed in some paprika, dried parsley and a little shake of garlic and onion powders.  The Boss also told me to use up the leftovers so in addition to the leg and wing I added about 4 ounces of breast meat.

During the simmer phase keep an eye on the pot.  As navy beans cook the liquid thickens so don’t let the soup burn.  Add sufficient additional liquid to avoid this calamity.  At first I used water.  Towards the end of the simmer I used some organic chicken broth.  In total I may have added nearly a cup of liquid during the cooking process.

The soup turned out yummy.

 

Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal – Updated 11.10.20

Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal

1/2 pound dried pinto beans
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican variety preferred), crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (medium), finely chopped
1 can tomatoes, fine dice
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch salt

 

1. Pick over the beans carefully and remove any foreign particles. Put the beans in a strainer and rinse under cold running water. Put the beans, bay leaf, oregano, and cumin in a large saucepan with water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the beans are tender and the liquid thickens, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do not let the beans boil dry. Check the water level during cooking and add hot water, when needed, about 1/4 cup at a time. There should always be about 1/2 inch of water above the level of the beans.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a medium skillet and cook the onion, stirring, until it browns, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and ground chili. Cook, stirring, until the tomato juices evaporate, 2 to 3 minutes. When the beans are tender, add the onion mixture to the beans. Add salt, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes to blend flavors. Remove the bay leaf, and serve hot.

Adapted from the original meatless recipe found in “1,000 Mexican Recipes.” Copyright 2001 by Marge Powe, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Tips

I love pinto beans and found this recipe a long time ago.  When the offspring were little I didn’t fix beans at home.  I got my bean fix when we went out for Tex-Mex and gorged myself on the refried variety.  Nowadays as an Aging Wonder I tend to eat a lot healthier than during my younger days.  Give me a good bowl of beans and I’m a happy camper.

Check back for updates and tips on this soup recipe.  I’ve got beans on the stove and I am absolutely positive I no longer follow the recipe as written.

Update

Substitute Mayocabo beans instead of pinto beans.

That’s it. That’s the update.

Beans May Help With Weight Loss

 ‘Pulses’ like these may help dieters feel fuller and reduce food cravings, new analysis shows

Source: Beans, Chickpeas May Help With Weight Loss

I have two bean stories.  I’ll start with my second favorite memory of beans.

I moved from NJ to Texas at the age of 25.  Talk about culture shock.  It was a big brand new world to explore.  And if you enjoy ethnic cuisine you try to eat whatever the locals ate.  I wasn’t quite sure what Texas cuisine was besides smoked brisket.  On one day of exploration I passed a rather cheap and gaudy looking fast food joint that probably no longer exists.

“I wonder what this is?”

So I stopped, went in, stared at the menu and had absolutely no idea what anything was.  So I ordered a bean burrito.  It was your typical fast food burrito, thick brown paste, a little cheese, a little chili sauce, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  This happened so long ago the only remaining memory was that I liked it.  A lot.

So ends my second favorite bean story.

 

 

 

Chickpeas Potatoes and Tomatoes

Chickpeas Potatoes and Tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
3 red potatoes, peeled & diced
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried red chili pepper flakes
3 C cooked chickpeas (or 2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained)
1 C diced tomatoes with chipotle, drained
1/2 cup organic vegetable stock (water is OK too)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (use dried, if fresh not available)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1.) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-heat.
2.) Add the onion, & cook until wilted, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
3.) Add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, red chili flakes and coriander. Saute for 5 more minutes.
4.) Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, salt, & a few grinds of pepper.
5.) Cover & gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 – 20 mins.
6.) Stir in the cilantro and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning.

This dish started out as a lot of dishes start out.  I had some fresh cilantro that I originally bought for guacamole.  I was in the mood for chickpeas.  Last week I ate the last portion of my homemade bean soup supply from the freezer and needed another bean dish for quick lunches.      I went to my cookbook shelf and opened Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone in search of a chickpea recipe. This is what I found.

The changes I made to the original recipe were made to accommodate some ingredients I had in the pantry.  The only diced tomatoes I had on hand consisted of one tiny 10 ounce container that included chipotle.  Into the pool.  Red pepper chili flakes were added for a little more heat and flavor.  Organic vegetable stock replaced water from the original recipe to add depth of flavor.

White Chicken Chili

“I’m not dressed.  Could you water the front patio plants?”

“Yes dear.”

It was rather cool outside this morning.  Fall is definitely in the air and the morning chill made me think of chili.  Since I had just finished breakfast, chili was not an option this morning.  We were leaving on a short road trip in about an hour.  No time to make chili.

I decided to add another chili recipe to the blog!  For years I’ve made a white chili culled from two different recipes.  One recipe definitely came from the NY Times while the source of the second is unknown.  One recipe called for tomatoes; the other recipe didn’t.  So in my grand tradition of never following recipes exactly I have had to pull out two separate recipes to make this chili.  Fading memories instruct me on what to put in and what to leave out.  Fearing the worst, I figured I better write this down before I forget.

Tips:

This chili tastes better without tomatoes but if you like tomatoes in your chili, add a can of diced tomatoes.  It won’t be white anymore.  It will be pink.  Pink chili???

I prefer boneless thighs to boneless breasts but either works well.  If you’re using fresh cilantro, add it as a condiment at serving time.

This chili, like most chili dishes, tastes better the second day.

This chili also tastes better when you drink a good craft beer while cooking it.

I’m serious.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs boneless chicken cubed
  • 1/4 C seasoned flour (salt pepper)
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1 green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 Tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • red pepper flakes, dash
  • Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1 16 oz can organic white kidney or Great Northern beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine flour and salt, and pepper in a gallon size plastic baggie.  Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake well until all of the chicken pieces are well coated with the flour mixture.
  2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.  Lower the heat to medium high to avoid burning the chicken.  You will get pieces of flour and chicken stuck on the bottom of the pan.  This is OK.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add 1 T olive oil, onion, garlic green pepper, cilantro, cumin, and oregano.  Saute 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth and scrape the brown pieces from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add chicken, green chilies and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.  If the mixture starts to get too thick, thin out with more chicken stock.
  6. Five minutes prior to serving, add the beans.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the beans are warmed through.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, peppers, grated cheese, etc.