Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit...

Well, you know how the rest of the rhyme goes! Over the past 7 years or so, my palate has been expanded in ways that I could have never imagined. I have been compiling a list in my head of all the foods or types of foods that I used to detest, but now really enjoy. And the food that would top that list, hands down, is beans. The word "detest" doesn't even begin to do justice in describing the way that I used to feel about beans. Words like horrified, disgusted, and vomitous would be slightly closer in describing just how much animosity I had towards the legume family. In the past, I developed quite a talent in being able to eat an entire bowl of chili without consuming a single bean. (My Mom can confirm this.) Why did I hate beans so much? I really don't know, but I came to a point in my life where I came to the decision that I was going to give beans a chance. My body was saying to me, "Sarah, we need iron! We need protein! Please, could you give us some fiber and potassium?" I started listening to this body that God has given me and now, some years later, I eat beans on a regular basis.

So how do you feel about these little goobers? Do you gag at the thought of beans? Or maybe you're just a little hesitant to eat them? Or perhaps you're eating beans for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Regardless, here are a two bean recipes that have universal appeal: they are quick, economical and choc-full of healthy goodness. (And remember: take Bean-o before, and there will be no gas!)

Black Bean Soup

This is my adaptation of a recipe I found on a saltine box 4 years ago. It quickly became one of those faithful stand-by recipes that every cook needs. The cornbread recipe from this post pairs extremely well with it!

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 (15 oz.) cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chicken broth (preferrably low-sodium, low-fat)
  • 3 cups chunky salsa
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional toppings: low-fat sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions or guacamole

In a 4-qt. saucepot, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, cumin and garlic in oil until onion is tender, about 4-5 minutes; remove from heat

Puree 2 cans of beans and their liquid in batches with the chicken broth in a blender; add to saucepot. Drain and rinse the remaining can of beans; add to saucepot. Stir in salsa, lime juice, zest, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Heat the mixture to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with desired toppings.

Yield: 5-6 servings

Caribbean Black Beans

I found a link to this recipe from one of my frequently-visited-blogs: Foodmomiac. It really lived up to the description she gave, as it was so incredibly simple to prepare, yet didn't lack in flavor one bit. For the recipe, click here.


RT said...

I am stunned and floored, Sarah. You eat beans?!?!!!! Wowee. I'm super impressed. : )

Karen said...

Sarah, Karen Choi here. I found your blog through the above rt.

I am not a big fan of beans but, you're right, it is hard to deny their benefits: cheap, healthy, filling. I try to use them when I can. Thanks for the recipes!

Sarah said...

Karen!! Thanks so much for stopping by. We are looking forward to your arrival in STL next fall. So at least you'll have one "built-in" friend the moment you move here. :)

Bethany said...

But have you gotten over your feelings toward sponges?

I am bean-neutral.

Mickey said...

I can attest to the fact that Sarah still has "issues" with sponges and other such things with holes. :-) But it IS amazing that she now eats beans. Growing up, she would carefully pick out all beans in chili or other dishes.

I LOVE beans--all types & love all the facts about beans that Karen pointed out. Fiber content is great too. Hummus is a staple in our house.

Karen said...

Ha! I was going to mention sponges too. Poor Sarah, she can't help her feeling about the household sponge.

And, Sarah, we're looking forward to having some built in friends when we move. It will help a lot with the transition. We can sit and talk and eat beans together.

Sarah said...

Yes, my mother (Mickey) is correct. I do still have issues with sponges and other things with weird groupings of holes, although not nearly as badly as in previous years.

Side note--one must remember the context of why I have issues with sponges. Otherwise, it just sounds like pure insanity! (Although I am a little crazy, sponges aside.) I had just returned home from a weekend trip to find that ants had infested my tiny, efficieny apt kitchen. And when I went to pick up my sponge, ants became to start pouring out of every single hole in it. Ugh, it still creeps me out just thinking about it. That would make the even the most stable person a little paranoid, don't you think?!

Karen, with a can of beans in hand, I'll be awaiting your arrival.

foodmomiac said...

thanks for the link!! That is one of my favorite simple recipes. So glad you like it too!

T. Amad said...

Sarah - the bean soup was really good!!! We are glad you posted the recipe. I thought the soup was especially good with the sour cream on top. Thanks!