Friday, February 22, 2013

Beans Beans, Good for the Heart

The more you eat them, the more you....yep, I'm a 8 year old boy.  I'm just really tall for my age. 

In case you didn't get it, the recipe today is for beans.  I eat a fair amount of beans of all kinds, but last weekend I got dried beans for the first time.  For some reason, they've always intimidated me, maybe because there are multiple steps?  But they're much cheaper than the ones in cans and I can get them in the bulk bins at Harvest, which cuts down on waste.  I bought almost a pound of them, so there will be quite a few bean recipes coming up. 

To pre-prepare them, I used this method, from Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking.  I'm a big fan of my crock pot, so her blog is definitely a favorite.  Basically, you put the beans in the pot and cover them with water, let it sit overnight.  Then, dump the first water, refill, and turn the crock pot on low for 8 hours.  I actually cooked mine overnight and then just stuck the whole thing in the fridge when I got up in the morning.  If you're in the market for a slow cooker, I have this one and this one.

My first beans recipe is a black bean spread, that I'm going to use for sandwiches next week.  I have been taking salad and random leftovers for lunch, but it's freezing and therefore not "salady weather".  And I'm getting bored with it.  Some people are perfectly content to eat the same thing every day forever, I envy them; I get bored easily and need to change things up.  I used this recipe, from Too Many Chefs.

Black Bean Spread:
2 cups cooked black beans (I used the dried ones, but feel free to use the cans.  Just make sure you rinse them well before you use them to get all that goop off.  And, you may need less oil/blending time because they're going to be softer.)
1/2 or less of Olive Oil (The amount of oil needed depends on how soft your beans are and what consistency you want the spread)
Lime Juice (I used 2 small limes, but one big one would be about the same.  Please don't use the stuff in the lime shaped plastic container, that's for streaking your hair.)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper (If you're using canned beans, err on the side of less salt, because they've been pretty well salted in the can.)

Add the beans to a food processor or blender.  A food processor isn't necessary if you haven't got one.  However, if you're looking to upgrade your general kitchen awesomeness and have a gift giving holiday coming up, I'd highly recommend it.  They can do a lot and they apparently last forever.  I think my mom has had her's for about as long as she's had me and it still works great. 

Add the beans and pulse until they are well chopped, but not completely smooth.  They should look something like this.

Turn food processor on to run continuously and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add spices and lime juice and blend well. taste and adjust salt and pepper to suit.  This is mostly a process of trial.  I added about 1/3 of the oil and then stopped it and checked, tasted, added the spices, etc.  Then I decided that I wanted it to be smoother, so I added more oil.  I did end up using the entire 1/2 cup of oil, and the final product look like this.

I did let it blend a little longer after this because I wanted to make sure the spices were well mixed through out.  If you're worried about the calories in the oil, or don't want it to taste too "olive oil like", you can replace some of the oil with water or stock.  But you definitely need to use at least half oil, it makes a huge taste difference.

I gave some to my neighbors (hi guys!!) and I'm using the rest for sandwiches next week.  You could also use it as a veggie/cracker/chip dip or a quesadilla filling.  Or just eat it with a spoon.  I'm not here to judge. 

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