Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beans - Cheap & Nutritious

I'm going to start posting quite a few recipes with beans - they're so cheap and nutritious, and actually fast and easy in the pressure cooker.

So far, some of my favorite "bean" dishes are spinach-black bean burritos, black bean tortilla pie, and bean stir-fries with rice (like azuki beans and mushrooms).

For all of the recipes, I start by soaking the beans overnight and cooking them in the morning in my pressure cooker.  The pressure cooker will cook most beans in about 3 minutes (not counting heat up and cool down time, but it usually only takes about 10 minutes to heat up, 3 minutes to cook, and you can cool fast by placing the pressure cooker in cold water, or, for softer beans, let the pressure come down on its own).  Then you can put them in the refrigerator and freeze the extra beans for later (to stir into soups, make dips, etc.)  However, you MUST follow the directions that come with your pressure cooker for cooking time, the amount of water, and usually about 1 T. of cooking oil to prevent the beans from foaming up and creating one huge mess.  For example, I have a 6-quart pressure cooker and I usually make one 16 oz bag at a time, soak the beans in cold water in the refrigerator overnight, rinse them, place them in the cooker with just enough water to cover, 1 T. of oil (do NOT forget the oil!), and seal.

Of course you could always use canned beans, but I think it's healthier and cheaper to use the dried, especially when the pressure cooker is so efficient.

 Tortilla Black Bean Pie (from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Great Food Fast Cookbook)
4 flour tortillas (I used brown rice from Trader Joe's, or, make your own) VillaWare is a nice tortilla maker.
1 T. cooking oil (or olive oil is ok too)
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile (if desired, or I used 1 green pepper)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. ground cumin
kosher salt & pepper
black beans (I used about 3/4 of a 16 oz. bag prepared), or you can use 2 cans
recipe calls for 12 oz. beer, but I used 1 1/2 c. water and it was way too much - probably about 1/2 c. water will do
1 package frozen corn
4 scallions, sliced
2 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, about 8 oz, or, you can use yogurt cheese (no lactose) or soy cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  The recipe says to trim the tortillas to fit in a 9" pan, but I used them straight from the package and they fit in a 9 1/2" glass pie plate.

Heat the oil, and add the onion, garlic, cumin, salt and jalapeno pepper and fry until soft.  Then add the green pepper (if using) beans, corn, scallions, and beer/water and simmer with the top off for about 8-10 minutes, until liquid has mostly evaporated.

Prepare the pie by placing one tortilla down, then topping with the bean mixture (I got too much water so I had to use a slotted spoon), then cheese, then repeat with 3-4 tortillas, the top layer being beans, and then cheese.  Bake about 20-25 minutes, sprinkle with a few extra scallions, and serve.  We chose to serve it with avocados, lime juice, and sour cream (dairy and/or soy sour cream).

Azuki Beans & Mushrooms
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small shallots, chopped
1 package sliced mushrooms
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/4 c. marsala wine (optional)
1 can azuki beans (I used Eden Brand, I have not been able to find dried azuki beans)
fresh tarragon
kosher salt & pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, fry, uncovered, the garlic, shallots, mushrooms and carrots until soft (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently.  Add the wine (or use apple juice or water), and beans, cover and simmer about 3-4 minutes until heated through.  Add fresh tarragon, salt & pepper.  Serve with rice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Pumpkin Pecan Ginger Pancakes

1 c. buckwheat flour
1 c. brown rice flour
3 t. baking powder (aluminum-free)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
2 eggs (or 3 t. egg replacer mixed with 4 T rice milk)
1 c. coconut milk
1 c. rice milk or soy milk
2 T. safflower oil
1 T. dark raw agave syrup or honey
2/3 c. pumpkin puree
1/3 c. chopped pecans (if allergic to nuts, use pumpkin seeds or omit)
2 T. finely chopped candied ginger (I use a quick chopper)
dried cranberries to sprinkle on top
maple syrup or a little powdered sugar mixed with coconut milk as a glaze

Combine flours, baking powder, sea salt, and spices in a large bowl.  Whisk eggs or egg replacer in a smaller bowl, add milks, oil, agave syrup, and pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth and combined.  Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing in the pecans and candied ginger.  If necessary, add more water to thin the batter so it is thick; but spreads easily.  Cook as pancakes on a medium-high griddle.  Top with cranberries & either maple syrup or the powdered sugar glaze.