Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slim Pickins

Tuesday nights are rough. They're the last night before market.  We find ourselves scraping the bottom of the produce drawer, plucking out wilted nappa leaves and the small, scorned, but suddenly valuable radishes.   But beans and rice make those meager offerings go a long way, and last summer's relishes sure don't hurt.  And thanks to Anderson Bailey, we can still eat in style, even if it is small bowlfuls.

Tuesday Night Beans and Rice
for 2 folks, with leftovers for tacos or salad

it's always best to plan ahead for these, because dried beans are so much cheaper.  Soak 'em the night before, or cook a ton and freeze them.

  • 2 cups dried beans (black or red are favorites around here), soaked overnight
  • Water to cover beans
  • 1 1/2 cup rice, white or brown (brown takes longer)
  • 3 cups water, and salt to taste
  • Various and sundry toppings, whatever you've got, chopped into sprinkle-able pieces and placed into small bowls
  • Hot sauce or vinegar for drizzle 
Cook the beans til soft, with a few cumin seeds and garlic cloves, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Add salt to taste when the beans are almost done.  Adding it too early can make the skins tough, but you want to give them a little time to become salted.  

Brown rice takes about 40 minutes, while white only takes 15.  Bring rice and 3 cups water to a boil with a little salt.  Turn down to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook til the water has been absorbed, restraining yourself from frequent peeking.

Prepare your toppings during all of this.  Lettuce is always nice, or any kind of Raw and Crunchy.  Nappa cabbage is wonderful this time of year, super sweet and crunchy.  Grated cheese, of course, is wonderful, as well as sour cream.  Relishes and pickles are important to have on hand at all times, so focus on putting those up this coming summer (if you didn't do that last summer).   Fermented veggies like kraut or kimchee are always welcome.

This time we had: thinly sliced nappa, chopped cilantro, cabbage relish from last fall, pepper and onion relish, and Cumberland cheese (grate it on the small holes and it makes it seem like you have more).

To serve, I like to do a layer of rice, then the cheese to make sure it gets melted, then beans, plus everything else, and a drizzle of balsamic vingear and hot sauce.  Then I mix it all up and eat it. 

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