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Beans Beans the Musical Fruit....

>> 6/17/10

Planning one vegetarian dinner a week is a simple way to a healthier diet. Unfortunately, we scientists confused y'all in the 70's by obsessing that vegetarian meals needed to contain all 26 "essential amino acids." Cross-referencing tables of ingredients is not conducive to whipping up meals for hungry families. Moreover, humans survived for thousands of years with little meat in their diet-and no clue about amino acids. To find a vegetarian meal with "complete protein" just look to the common combination found in almost every culture's heritage foods: Beans and Grains.

Italians in the mountains=peas and risotto
Every Asian culture=soybeans and rice
Ancient Incas=red beans and quinoa
Middle East=chickpeas and couscous
Fancy French=lentils and farro

In our house we follow the great tradition of black beans and rice. A pot of black beans cooked on Sunday can be used throughout the week as a comforting soup, a do-it yourself burrito, or sprinkled on a salad to up the nutrition and punch. Plus extra beans freeze great to be recycled at a later date. Freeze beans after the first cook then reheat with sauteed onion, garlic and peppers to zip up the flavor.

Sunday Black Beans

The source here is important-beans sitting in plastic bags on grocery shelves are old and require soaking overnight. Try to get beans from a store with bulk bins with lots of turn over. Even fresher are last seasons beans from the farmers market.

Count on 1/2 cup of dried beans per person
Rinse to remove any debris, place in large deep pot and cover with water about 1-2 inches above beans. Add a bay leaf, a pinch of salt per serving, and a green bell pepper cut into one inch strips. Bring to a gentle boil then drop to low heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. After first hour check beans for doneness every 15 minutes. Beans should be soft but not falling apart.

While cooking, in a separate pan saute garlic, onion, red pepper, salt cumin and oregano until soft and fragrant. Use 1/2 garlic clove, 1/4 onion and 1/4 red pepper and pinch of each spice per serving.

When beans are done set aside any for freezing or salads then add pepper/onion mix (the sofrito to you cubans) and cook an additional 15 minutes. For black bean soup remove one cup of beans, puree in a blender and add back to remainder.

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Possibilities Waiting to be Created

Possibilities Waiting to be Created
Santa Monica Farmers Market

Crunch Time

Gives any well-intentioned cook, completely possible ways to get more real, fresh food onto the table without being shackled to a recipe or breaking the bank or getting an uprising from finicky eaters.
We are big on quick food prep - Chop Therapy - to make real food into fast food and we use what we term flavor savors that give a flavor punch to foods instead of using preservatives or processed ingredients.
We love getting the whole family involved in the food preparation effort. We also use some momgenutity for presenting real food in our homes so it stands a chance against the marketing assault of the Happy Meal.
Please share your ideas and share our posts with anyone you know who might want more real food in their meals.

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