Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Coming Soon

Hello all - If you're wondering where I've been...I'm working on a new project that I'm really excited about. I hope to unveil it at the beginning of 2010.

Stay tuned for further details!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Soup Recipe: Pinto Bean & Roasted Garlic - Bean Challenge

This weekend I made a soup recipe: Pinto Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup. I backed off from my Bean Challenge "beans as a main dish" declaration and decided to make a bean soup this week.  I thought this would be a good way to continue finding interesting ways to  incorporate beans into our family's diet. Thanks to What's Cooking for this delicious recipe!

This soup was absolutely divine.

Anything with roasted garlic gets a huge thumbs up from me.  For all you garlic fans out there, take a gander at the 2 garlic heads, pre-roasting phase. Yummm....

If you haven't tried roasting garlic, it's very easy.  Follow the Roasted Garlic Recipe from Simply Recipes.

Here's a photo of the final product.  My photo doesn't do it justice.  If you want to see a much prettier picture, go to What's Cooking.

A few modifications:  I didn't have onions or avocado due to a grocery order mishap (I ordered delivery for the wrong day!)  I topped my soup with some dried parsley (compliments of this past season's garden).  Lucky for me, I saved the broth from my latest bean batch (see my How to Cook Beans video).  This soup tasted great!

This bean soup was creamy, satisfying - sooo good.  How did the kids gauge it?

4 year old - "This is the best soup ever!" I'm guessing this bold declaration was because he helped me blend it. Then he mostly didn't eat it - lots of coaxing did the trick for more spoonfuls.

6 year old - "This tastes terrible!  Why did you have to make soup?" I told her she had to eat 6 spoonfuls.

Husband was at work, so he'll have left-overs.  We talked about the soup on the phone.  Someday they'll appreciate their mother's cooking, I said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Have to Tell You About this Chocolate

Lucky me! I was the recent recipient of some unique and delicious hand-crafted chocolate, made by an award winning local Chocolatier B.T. McElrath.  The gift:  Salty Dog Chocolate bar (70% dark chocolate with sea salt and butter toffee) and B.T. Berry Poinsettias.

Let me read to you the back of the Salty Dog box:

You have a choice.  Eat our Salty Dog Bar salt-side up and you're invited into its rich, dark chocolate charms, only to discover the spiky crunch of toffee and sea salt.  Eat it salt-side down and feel how the sharp pop of salt ushers in the notes of chocolate and caramel.  So what's it gonna be:  mellow or bold?  Or both?

Who writes this stuff?  They need a raise.

And another "green bonus": packages produced from Sustainable Forestry Initiative materials, which is a certified chain of custody promoting sustainable forest management.

Quick - order it now from btmcelrath.com (click on products link, then click on the chocolate images).  Here's the Christmas shipping info:

Holiday Shipping
To receive chocolates by Christmas Eve Day, please order by noon CST Fri. Dec. 18 (regular shipping) or noon CST Tues. Dec. 22 (rush shipping)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bean Challenge (again) - 1 Dinner a Week

Our Bean Challenge has restarted!  Yet again, we are going to have one dinner a week that centers around beans.  I hope this post will help you learn how to cook black beans.

On Saturday we had Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos, and WOW they were great.  Our youngest enjoyed it, our eldest said it was "OK". Many thanks to Sarah from At Sarah's Table for taking the time to send me the recipe for this and many other great bean-centric dinners.

So, true to my recent form, I created a video on How To Cook Beans - Quick Soak
Description: Learn to cook dried black beans with the quick soak method. No pressure cooker needed! Step-by-step. Be sure to rinse and sort through beans first (check for debris) before quick soak. 

Sound effects and everything folks!  Hope you enjoy.

Here is the recipe for Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos from the cookbook Simply In Season:

2 cups/750ml sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 cups/500ml cooked black beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add and cook until heated through.

8 flour tortillas
1 1/2  / 375ml cups cheddar cheese (shredded)

Divide bean mixture and cheese among the tortillas and roll up.  Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Lightly spray with olive oil if desired.  cover pan with foil and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.  Garnish with sour cream, salsa, and fresh cilantro.