Sunday, March 31, 2013

Meatless Black Bean Chili

Today is Easter, which is arguably the most important date in the Christian faith. It also signifies the end of the Beans and Rice fast!! I've been doing a lot of thinking through this fast. My most frequent thought is something like "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm so tired of beans and rice", or "it's more work to create beans and rice recipes than meat and vegetable recipes", so on and so forth. But the most important thing that I thought throughout the week is that I get to choose to stop eating like this, while many others around the world don't have that luxury. It's truly an eye-opening experience to think about being limited, hungry, and not look forward to your next meal. If any of you attempted this challenge (even for a day), you saw a glimpse into what it means to live with sustenance rather than abundance, and when most of us are used to so much abundance in this country, it can be as altering as anything else. Everything in perspective.

I know this is a bit late considering that the challenge has ended. But I know a couple of vegans/vegetarians that might still benefit from this! So here it is my lovely culinary fanatics! Remember, it tastes better than it looks.

HAPPY EASTER!!!!

Ingredients
1 bag dried black beans (soak for at least 8-10 hours)
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
2 15oz cans filled with water
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 head of celery, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

Steps
1. Sautee the olive oil, onions, peppers, and celery in a large pot on medium heat
2. Once onions become translucent, toss in the beans and stir a few times
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium low heat for 45 minutes or until beans are softer and the chili is thicker. Be sure to stir every so often so that the bottom doesn't burn!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Homemade Hummus

Well, this week continues with a completely original hummus recipe. That's right folks, you no longer have to go to the store and purchase a measly container for $3.50/ 4 ounces. I used a bag of dried chick peas which, disclaimer, is more time consuming than if you just purchased a few cans and tossed them into a food processor. Either way, making your own hummus is much more economically efficient and I venture to say, even more delicious.

I hope that those of you who are doing the beans and rice fast are staying strong! Quite honestly, it hasn't been a difficult task as of yet. But then again, it's only a few days in. And I hear that those who are experiencing withdraw are at the peak 5 days in.

Alright folks, here is another bean recipe! This one serves like 15 - 20 people, depending on how hefty the servings are...so soak, blend, and enjoy!

Ingredients
1 bag dried garbanzo beans
4 cloves garlic
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 large lemon
2 tbs Tahini (sesame seed paste) found in all middle eastern stores and international sections of the grocery store
3/4 cup water from the boiling beans
salt to taste

Steps
1. Soak beans for at least 8 -10 hours
2. Fill a large pot with water filled about 2 inches above the rinsed beans, bring to a boil and cook for at least      30 minutes on medium heat
3. Once beans are softer but still have a small bite, drain the boiling water and toss in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, use a hand food processor, and if you do not have that... then you did all this work for nothing. I'd say your best bet is to bring the beans back to a boil and cook for double the amount of time and then blend them with a mixer, or go out and buy the expensive/less delicious prepackaged stuff.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients into the processor and continue blending. Be sure to add the liquids at a slow pace
5. Serve drizzled with olive oil alongside pita chips or bread, and enjoy!






Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mixed Bean Stew

This week is going to be unlike any other week, culinary-wise. My church is putting on a "rice and beans fast" challenge. This means, for an entire week, I will be eating like most 3rd world countries.  "Why in the world would you subject yourself to that when you have such delicious food right at your finger tips?" some of you might ask.  Well, it's supposed to give us sustenance rather than abundance. I'm sure most of you reading this know exactly what I'm talking about (I know this because you can't reach me unless you have a computer, and internet).  The money that is saved on groceries and extravagant restaurant meals will be used toward a few organizations outside of my church. One of which is one that my husband and I admire/already contribute to, it's called Compassion International.

So here's the challenge, I challenge you to do the same thing, no matter what your faith is. People who never have to wonder what will be their next meal are really at the top percentage of the world. If nothing else, it will help you to see just how much you have and might even move you to share it with others. Because when was the last time you forwent something so that someone else could benefit? I'm sure it has bean a while!

Here's the first recipe to make this week a bit less bland. Let's be real, I couldn't bring myself to eat something so bland for an entire week without adding a couple of spices. And believe it or not, these recipes are certifiably fun, easy, and positively delicious!

Side note: I'm usually all about eating with your eyes first (presentation). Pictures this week will not be nearly as appealing as those in the past. Bare with me, and trust that these dishes are actually delicious.

Prep Time - 5          Cook Time - 30 minutes           Serves - 13

Ingredients:1 bag 16 mix beans with ham flavor
1 onion, chopped, preferably vadalia
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 cups chicken broth
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Steps
1. Soak the beans overnight for 8 hours
2. Sautée  olive oil, onion, garlic, sage, until onions are translucent on medium heat
3. Add the drained beans and stir while cooking for a few minutes
4. Add chicken broth and let cook until beans are tender (approx 30 minutes), stir frequently to make the stew thicker
5. Serve alone or over rice and enjoy!

BEAN A Petite! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Easy Lox

My sister got married this weekend. It was an absolutely beautiful occasion! That said, I have to say... I'm pooped! All that fun and food has me saying, I want a semi-detoxing meal that takes about three minutes to make. So, obviously, that's what I made! Smoked salmon is probably one of my favorite forms of protein. Call me crazy, but the richness and texture (which reminds me of sashimi) is very addicting. Normally, I'd be passed out right about now given that I already finished my food. However, I couldn't be so selfish and not share this beautiful simplicity with you all! This snack/meal is very flavorful, fun, easy and positively delicious! This is probably the easiest dish I've posted on here. So for you ADD folks, there's no reason to skip to the next website before reading this entirely.

Ingredients
Smoked salmon
Whole wheat crackers
Cream Cheese (Reduced fat will do the job just as well)
Cucumbers, sliced

Steps
1. Spread desired amount of cream cheese on top of the cracker
2. Place cucumber on top of the cracker
3. Fold a piece of smoked salmon

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Baby Arugula, Parmigiana, & Prosciutto Salad

This is definitely a new favorite of mine. I first tried it this past weekend at a beautifully delicious restaurant Nicola's .  Brian and I went there for our 1-year anniversary (go us!) and may I just say? It was absolutely splendid.

The second I dug my salad fork into this beaut, I fell in love. "What a simple and delicate dish" I thought to myself. The next thought that came to my mind... "I must make this in my kitchen and post it for everybody out there to read!" So here I am. I can already think of several people who would fall head-over-heels for this the minute they try their first bite. Genevieve, my dear friend is the first one who comes to mind. 

I thought about calling this the 5x5x5 Salad. Why, you ask? Well, it has 5 ingredients, it takes five minutes to make, and it gets a 5 out of 5 in my book! But 5x5x5 sounds like an extra value meal you'd order in a drive through. So I used a title that left very little to the imagination. You have to  try this 4-star salad out! I made it as an appetizer since the roast that's in the oven as I type is taking a lot longer than our empty stomachs can handle.  You also can add more of the ingredients and make this your "I'll be good" meal which is obviously fun, easy, and positively delicious!

Ingredients

2 oz baby arugula, be sure it's pre-washed
1 oz Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved
1 1/2 slices prosciutto*
1 tbs lemon juice, fresh
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
(Although it's not necessary, feel free to add salt and pepper to taste)

*There are two types of prosciutto. Parma, and Private Selection (in order from highest to lowest in cost). I highly recommend the Parma, however once you see the price tag, you'll most likely gasp and change your mind immediately. If it's a special occassion, go in for the kill and remember that you're not using an entire pig for this salad.
Steps
1. Toss baby arugula in a bowl with lemon and olive oil (I recommend using your hands so that you use a delicate toss. Using a spoon will make the arugula wilt)
2. On a small salad plate, place the prosciutto in a decorative pattern slightly off to the side
3. Place the arugula next to the prosciutto then evenly distribute the Parmesan shavings throughout the salad
4. Serve chilled and enjoy!