Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crock Pot Black Beans--Cuban Style

Friday, after a particularly difficult and tedious week at work, I practically had to crawl to my car for the 30-40 minute drive home.  I wasn't very far into my commute when I realized I had no energy, whatsoever, to prepare supper--not even an omelet. I stopped by a take-out BBQ joint and ordered smoked pulled pork with a couple of sides.

Once home, I quickly kicked off my shoes, snatched off my bra, donned my pajamas, and I was ready to relax and recuperate from the week.  We sat on the sofa to eat our meal while watching mindless and stupid TV. 

Later, I decided to use the remainder of the smoked meat to flavor a pot of beans. And I chose Cuban Black Beans.

Dried beans, which are such an affordable and health giving food, are a cinch to make in the crock pot-- no soaking required.  But you do need to allow plenty of time for them to cook.  I put these beans on before I went to bed and there they cooked, on low, all the next day.

Crock Pot Cuban Black Beans
1 lb. dried black beans
Pork, ham, bacon, etc, (optional)
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
3-4 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf

Pick over and inspect dried beans for any stones or other foreign debris. Rinse thoroughly.  Place the beans in the crock pot along with the remaining ingredients. Stir together and barely cover with water. Place the lid on the pot, turn to low heat, and cook for 10 to 12 hours until the beans are tender.

Before serving, stir in 1 Tbsp. vinegar, 2 tsp. sugar, then drizzle with olive oil.

Delicious with yellow rice and fried plantains.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Curry-Palooza #8: Masaledar Chholay (Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Gravy)

Camille chose the recipe for this month's Curry-Palooza. I was very happy when she picked this healthy make-ahead vegetarian dish which was featured in the March, 2011 issue of Food and Wine Magazine.  I already had the magazine page flagged and was so inspired by the article, that I immediately ordered Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's newest cookbook.  The recipe I chose for last month's Curry Palooza is from that very book. 

This recipe is easy to make and it is SPICY!!  I cooked it a day before we ate it and that turned out to be a good idea.  The spiciness had mellowed and mingled and the taste was richer the following evening.

Chef Kapoor meant it when he said:

"Indian Food is not subtle. Indian food is in your face."

Chick Peas in Spicy Tomato Gravy

8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeƱos, chopped
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
 2 tablespoons ground cumin
 1 tablespoon ground coriander
 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
 Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
 2 cups water
 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

 In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, jalapeƱos and ginger and process to a paste. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add the chickpeas and water and simmer until the chickpeas are flavored with the gravy, about 8 minutes. Season the chickpeas with salt, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Serve With Yogurt and naan.