Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black Bean Soup - Revisited

So the last few days I've been rushing around like crazy but haven't had time to prepare myself lunch. We had nothing at home to eat and I ended up with cold cafeteria pizza on the run yesterday as I raced back into work.

This morning I was groaning thinking I didn't have anything for lunch again and remembered the black bean soup I had made and frozen last month. I pulled it out, thawed it out, dished it up with some scallions, cilantro and muenster and lunch was good to go. Good thing too as I was starving!!!

Black Bean Soup Recipe
~2.5 hours

1 lb. dried black beans
2 medium onions
1 lb. carrots
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
bay leaf
6 c. chicken stock
~6 c. water
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
Salt Pepper and extra water to taste.

cheddar or muenster cheese
sliced green onions
chopped cilantro

Bring black beans to a boil in 8-10 cups water for 10 minutes then let sit one hour (or let soak for 8 hours in cold). Drain and rinse. Meanwhile, peel carrots and onions and chop in food processor or by hand until minced. Saute on low heat for 10-15 minutes until carrots and onions are soft, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add cumin, cayenne, & chicken stock (add water up to 1 inch above beans) and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are cooked. Remove bay leaf and process with immersion blender until 3/4 of the beans are pureed. Put the bay leaf back in and Let simmer 10-15 more minutes until thickened slightly. Serve with toppings. Makes about 12 servings (freeze some).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Colcannon & Ribs

Spare ribs were on the menu last night and I'd been looking forward to using Josh & Joanie's plum barbecue sauce that they put up last summer and sent us for Christmas. I was debating making a turnip and carrot gratin that I had tasted at my director's house over Christmas but while walking through the store I saw this beautiful bunch of kale. Didn't know what I was going to do with it but...

A recent conversation with my significant other revealed that while I thought he didn't like greens, he thought I didn't like them, thus we were not eating them. Excited, I resolved to put more greens into our diet. The recipe came from The Victory Garden Cookbook which is organized by vegetable. I popped it open to K and there it was, what better way than to mix them with my favorite.... mashed potatoes.

Kale needs to be stripped of its stalks, washed and blanched before sauteing. It reduces by about 3/4. The lb of kale to 1.5lbs of potatoes suggested worked nicely. I sauteed leeks in butter, then added the blanched chopped kale and sauteed in more butter, then mashed the potatoes (which I boiled in the liquid from the kale) and added some 1/2 and 1/2 (she says milk or cream). I did cut down the butter from 8 tbsp. to 3 so I figure for this recipe I did quite well on fat content, especially when paring it with the ribs. :-)

Anyway, the barbecue sauce was perfectly sweet and spicy, the kale and potatoes set it off nicely. Though the picture is not perfect, it was quite tasty. Thanks guys!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Peanut Butter Criscross - Cashew Butter Cookies

So my challenge this week was to see just how quickly I could go through three dozen Peanut Butter and Cashew Butter cookies. I made it to Tuesday, how's that?

I hadn't made peanut butter cookies in a while and the bright idea came from paging through Grandma Derse's family cookbook that my family made up a few years back. I am not a peanut butter fan, especially when it comes to mixing it with jelly or chocolate or anything else that is not a spoon, but turning those pages in that cookbook brought me back to my childhood when we would put our initials next to the ingredients to decide who got to put which ingredient in. (I must confess, the chocolate chips in the chocolate chip cookies were always the highlight). But here I had a huge craving for peanut butter cookies and what better way to stave off the salmonilla outbreak than cooking the peanut butter.

I confess I did not using Grandma's recipe, but pulled out ye ole Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (if you don't have it, shame on you, I'm not giving you the recipe!!). I did 1/2 crisco and 1/2 butter, the crisco adds the crunch that you don't get with the butter.

As for the cashew butter cookies, I used the same recipe and substituted the cashew butter for the peanut butter. I think the peanut butter ones were better, my sweetie did not agree. I think men are generally more into cashews than women. Well, they must have been good, they are gone, gone, gone!