Posts Tagged ‘black beans’

I demand a do-over on October. Now.


The colors are woefully gorgeous. Woeful it is, as the glorious October sunshine that tends to set them off to perfection, causing my jaw to drop in awe has been conspicuously absent, leaving the bright yellow maples and dark red oak trees to show off their glory in nothing more than rain-drenched light. Halloween is bearing down on us, and I have only fleeting images in my mind of how beautiful this month can be in Minnesota. Soon comes November, dreary November and then all the holiday junk and then……well, there’s just winter after that. I need my October to set my mind right before taking that plunge. I need piles of crisp dry leaves to kick through, another sorely missed option of this fleeting month. All the leaves have been far too soggy to play with, and certainly not desirable for your shoes.

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There is some kind of somber romantic beauty caught up in the fog, the burnished colors trying their best to break through the unbroken and gray light. And amongst that backdrop of drab this October, I have craved all manners of comfort through steaming bowls of soup. Fall is perfect for soup, with or without expected weather habits, and the kicky Chorizo and Black Bean recipe here is good for warming the tummy, and chasing away thoughts of the impending gloomy November. Remind me that I need to stock up on candles.

It’s also one of those recipes that sent me to three stores to find a good quality dry-aged chorizo to use in this recipe. Do you ever do anything like that? I kind of like darting into a store and buying one thing, for some reason. Maybe because I do it so often. I do highly recommend using that type, usually in a casing and referred to as Spanish chorizo, as opposed to the loose ground kind. While you likely will get good flavor from both, the dry-aged variety is so agreeably piquant, giving it a better flavor profile. This soup came together as an amalgam of two separate recipes, each stellar in their own right. I couldn’t choose which one to make, so I took the best of both of them and made something new and fabulous.

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Ahhhh hearty soup, warm and satisfying. This was excellent; chock full of good vegetables and beans, chunks of seared sausage and a nice dollop of sour cream to smooth out the heat. It was a land mine of flavor and texture for the eye and the belly. I served it with these yummy cornbread croutons, an outrageously good idea I had recently to use up some leftover cornbread in a different way.

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These snappy little squares are perfect with soup or stew, a delicious tasty extra with amazing toothsome bite. Take your prepared cornbread pieces and cut them into thin slices, no more than 1/4 – 1/2″ thick. Place the slices on parchment covered cookie sheets in a 325° oven and bake them until they are crisped and golden brown, turning once or twice while they bake. This could take about 45 minutes to an hour. You can cook them in a higher oven; they tend to not dry out as completely as a slower temperature but the outcome is completely subjective. Save some to crumble over a salad for a nice touch of crunch. That is, if you can keep yourself from eating them all.

Chorizo and Black Bean Soup
By Kate

This soup comes together pretty quickly, but like many, it will develop deeper flavor after a day, or even more. Adjust the amount of water for the thickness you prefer. The broth is thin, and can be thickened in any manner you prefer if you wish.

3 links Spanish chorizo, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can diced tomato, fire roasted if you can find them
1 c. whole kernel corn
2 t. chipotle pepper in adobo (I run the whole peppers through the food processor to make them easier to use- chop a whole one, or more to taste. You can sub ground cayenne pepper to your liking, or dried chili of choice.)
1 t. dried oregano
1-2 t. ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

In your soup pot, warm oil of choice over medium heat and cook onion for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the chorizo and cook until the pieces are seared and slightly browned. Stir in about a quart of water and gently scrape the fond off the pan. Add in the chipotle, tomato, corn and black beans, and more water to the consistency you prefer. Stir in the cumin and oregano and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.


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Really? You need to recover from eatng? In my family, for certain, and probably in many of yours too. Families are just like that. When you get together, across generations and siblings and cousins, there is certainly a lot of good eating. Any gathering of Mike’s large clan is always a celebration of food.

In this place especially.

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Our lake home, the beloved Loveless; Summer weekends are most often spent within it’s well worn walls, following the same rituals and routines each year, only with bigger kids at each passing season. The food is always good and there’s plenty of it. My everyday food needs are usually not followed as diligently when I am there as it would most likely mean making a meal completely different from what everyone else will eat. I’m not particularly interested in doing that when there’s relaxing, boating, sunning, snoozing and hanging out with cutie pies like these.

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*sigh* Don’t you just love little girls in jammies with bed head, framed by morning Summer sunshine? That’s Nina (17 mos) on the left and 4-year old Bella on the right, the two youngest cousins.

For this particular weekend, the place was jammed, hopping with activity, chatter, games, some indignant tears and cries of  “No FAIR!!!” (always, always happens) as well as lots of good boating. My nephew Joe, age six, got up on his wakeboard for the first time and the smiles were miles wide at that achievement.

Breakfast is my favorite meal to make when we’re at the lake. I always make pancakes because they are crowd friendly and endlessly versatile, maybe some kind of meat and plenty of fresh fruit.

Griffin always enjoys a plate of fluffy pancakes.

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Apparently taking lessons from his cousin Matt on how best to eat Kate’s breakfasts.

weekend funD 029Usually, by the time we head home from a weekend’s respite overlooking Loveless, with peaceful quiet nights and sleepy mornings with plenty of dark coffee and good conversation on the screen porch,  my tummy is crying out for relief from the excessive and usually heavier food than I’m used to eating. I have been collecting a lot of very simple, easy and light summer recipes lately, the kind that require little else besides the bounty of produce available now and a few quick spices or seasonings.

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These ultra quick Chipotle Black Beans came together in about 5 minutes. We keep canned chipotles on hand for our burritos, and they add a warm and spicy kick to black beans, red onion, garlic and tomato. Stir in some chili powder, cumin and cilantro and give it an hour in the fridge and you’ve got a healthy side dish guaranteed to start you back to better eating.

Chipotle Spiced Black Beans
adapted slightly from Eating Well magazine

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2-3 t. canned chipotles in adobo, minced fine (add as much or as little as desired to your heat level)
1/3 c. minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. chili powder
1-2 t. ground cumin seed (use standard ground cumin in same measure)
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 c. minced cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and blend well, mashing some of the beans slightly with your spoon. Taste and season with salt, if desired, and pepper. Chill in refrigerator for an hour or so, and stir to blend flavors just prior to serving. We served this with rice topped with cubed avocado and mesquite grilled chicken.

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For this recipe, I used an onion, two poblano peppers and a small zucchini, searing the onion and some garlic until it was nicely browned, adding in the pepper for a good 5 minutes or so, then stirring in two cans of black beans. One can I rinsed very well, the other I just allowed to drain a little; the slight amount of extra sodium doesn’t really bother me, and I needed some of that starch for thickener. (most of the time, I rinse them to death…just fyi). I let them simmer for about 10 minutes and made some random mashing motions with the spoon just to break some of them up, then with a little chili powder, ground cumin, lime juice and zest and a spoonful or two of good salsa, the beans were worthy of plenty of chip action.

Oh yeah…..and for plopping on top of my Huevos, showered with lime zest.

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Black Bean Chicken
from Kate

1 pkg boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1/2 c. black bean sauce, thinned smooth with water
2 T. chili garlic sauce
2 T. sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag or non-reactive bowl. Add chicken and marinade at least an hour- the longer the better. Grill or broil over high heat until cooked through. Can be tossed with cooked rice noodles, shredded greens, carrot matchsticks, bean sprouts and cucumber slices for a nice spring-roll style salad. Reserve some marinade to drizzle over the top.

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Black Bean and Corn Relish by Kate

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 c. frozen corn, thawed (or use the kernels from 2-3 fresh ears to make enough)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, diced
1-2 t. fresh grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1 T. cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl. Chill before serving. Also tastes great on tortilla chips.

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