Friday, September 21, 2007

Bean Explosion

I am not sure if I am brave enough to try a soup called Fourteen-Bean Explosion, especially when it is posted by someone called fluffster. But if any of you are, let me know how it goes.

Weird and crazy uses of blue cheese

Did I ever mention I love blue cheese? I do. I really really do. I found Rogue Creamery blue cheese at the local Whole Foods. Was very excited. Then I read the label and realized it was the smoked kind. I don't understand why they smoke the blue cheese. It just tastes like smoked cheese and you miss all of the subtle undertones of mold. So here in the heart of hell (as my Guate friend recently labeled DC and maybe a tad dramatic), I stick to my Maytag blue cheese or sometimes get a little more adventurous. Here is a recent invention:

Raspberry Blue Cheese Tortillas

1 yellow corn tortilla
Some crumbled blue cheese
Good raspberry jam

Run tortilla under water and shake off excess. This helps to soften the tortilla and make it seem fresher. Put blue cheese on the tortilla. Place tortilla in toaster oven and melt the blue cheese. Take it out and let cool a tad. Smear with jam. Eat.

Variations: Put rasberry jam and blue cheese on toast or bavarian bread.

If you know where to get Bavarian bread in the heart of hell, let me know

Monday, September 17, 2007

Green Gazpacho or what to do with those green tomatoes

Green Gazpacho

This recipe comes all the way from the Enchanted Broccoli Forrest (aka Hippy Cookbook). Made this with green heirloom tomatoes but I think straight up green tomatoes would be delicious as well. People at the farmer's market will be trying to unload the green ones when the chance of frost increases.

3 green tomatoes
1 med. green bell pepper
I med cucumber
4 scallions
1/4 cup minced parsely
(I added: 1/4 cup cilantro)
juice of two to three limes mixed with one avocado (keeps it from going bad)
2 med. cloves garlic crushed
3 cups cold water
1 tsp salt
Lots of black pepper
1 tbs fresh basil
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbls honey

Coarsely chop everything that will tolerate it. Put in a blender for 10 seconds so that it isn't completely liquified. Chill.
When serving: put something bright on top as a garnish (minced red pepper, etc.) and sour cream if you want it. Serve with hot corn tortillas with melted cheese. Use tortillas to scoup up soup. Wonder to yourself why you don't live somewhere with a garden...

Note to those tempted to blend in something that is not green: red and green makes brown. Green and alot of colors makes brown. Eating poop like food is no fun.

Black Pepper Pasta and Fall Vegetables

Someone in DC actually let me cook for them! Well, it ended up being more of a group effort. Apparently, to use the pasta machine my dad and I used when I was three years old, you need at least two people. Someone to hold it down and someone to crank it out. I am not sure how this worked when I was three.

I made a variation of the fresh pasta recipe I posted earlier.
I added one tablespoon freshly bought, finely ground black pepper to the recipe.
I also substituted half of the white flour for whole wheat flour.
I had to add about 2 1/2 teaspoons water extra. Maybe because whole wheat flour doesn't hold together as well?

To go on top:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon or so salt
One whole shallot, minced
One green zucchini. cut into thin disks
One yellow zucchini, cut into thin disks
One cob yellow corn, with the kernels cut off

Heat oil on medium heat. Add shallot and salt. Cook until it is a little browned. Add zucchini and corn. Turn heat up to medium high. Cover for about two to three minutes. Stir occassionally. Make sure the vegetables are hot all the way through, slightly seared, and crunchy.

Put on top of pasta.

I like to add a little butter or fresh olive oil to the top as well. It gives it a nice clean flavor that you don't get when the oil or butter has been cooked.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Japan is the best place ever and I haven't even been there!!!

The first person to correctly guess what this is will get a really great surprise in the mail from yours truly. All contestants who have been to/lived in Japan are excluded from this little game. Sorry, boys.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Black Beans beans. Everyone has a recipe. Mine comes from the past. Got it a couple of years ago. Thanks, W. I cannot take credit for it or the writing that is about to follow. Hope you don't mind I am posting it...

"Soak the beans over night. Drain out water in the morning and rinse beans.

"Put the soaked beans in a soup pot, with about a finger's worth of water above the beans. Boil the beans for one hour.

"After half an hour, start sauteeing onions and green peppers in a shit ton of olive oil (as much as you can stand to add). They shoul be bathing in it. Cook them down until soft. AFter the beans have been boiling for an hour, add the onions and peppers and all the oil that they wre cooking in.

"After one more hour, add equal amounts salt and sugar and twice that of white vinager.

"I don't have particular amounts for any of the ingredients, because I always buy the beans in bulk, but I think my mother told me originally for every pound of beans add:

"3/4 c oil,
one medium onion and
one medium pepper,
2 tblsp of both salt and sugar;
4 tblsps vinager.

"I think that's it. Oh, after you've added the sugar, salt and vingager, cook for another hour. Make sure to watch the pot every now and then to make sure that the water doesn't boil all the way down. In the end, I like the beans when they're soupy, but when there's no broth apart from the beans. You can add as much water as you like, though.

"Let me know if any of this is unclear.

"bon apetit"

Things I have learned cooking this recipe:
I usually use about 1/4 cup or a little more of oil. I am a wimp I know, but it is all I can stand.
The vinegar makes it taste a little tangy. Kind of a poor man's substitute for using real lard or bacon. Great for vegans. Real nice flavor. When you don't add the vinegar, the beans have a nice, rich smoothness to them. Just depends what you are in the mood for.
Soaking the beans and then draining them is very important. It gets rid of the weird white foam that forms when you are cooking beans, and it helps break down the enzymes that cause excess gas (aka farting).
Using a red pepper makes the beans too sweet so you can use a red pepper and it adds a nice flavor but cut back or eliminate the sugar.
I like to add garlic. This time I added half a head and left out the vinegar. Very rich.
When I cooked the beans completely in a pressure cooker, I just use it to cut down on the time before you add the pepper, onion, etc. You could probably just add the pepper and all that fun stuff at the beginning and leave the beans in a little longer than an hour. I may experiment with a crock pot...
Wnari also taught me the beauty of freezing beans so I cook a whole recipe just for me and then I have beans for a month.

Salsa recipes to follow...