Tag Archives: slow cooked beans

Meatless Monday : Cinco de Mayo Recipes

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We eat a lot of Mexican-style food year-round. For a vegetarian, the possibilities are vast. True, there are many non-vegetarian options as well, but so much of what my love for Mexican food centers around is the flavors. The complexities of heat, taste, depth, spices, and balance of each separate element. This year I’m planning a serve yourself taco menu featuring staples like beans, rice, cheese, guacamole, crema, perhaps a guajillo salsa, a roasted tomatillo salsa, baked tofu “fish,” and homemade corn tortillas. There shall be margaritas, because they’re an essential part of the menu. And Mondays.

Any thoughts on what you’re making or eating this evening? If you’re in need of some entirely vegetarian Cinco de Mayo recipes, here’s a quick round-up of some ideas:

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Frychos make a great appetizer or full course on their own.

Some other easy side dishes:

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Spanish Red Rice

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Cheesy Anaheim and Poblano Pepper Rice

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Slow Cooked Black Beans

Some sauces and salsas that can easily accompany any Mexican meal:

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Ancho Chili and Pepita Mole

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Avocado Green Tomato Salsa

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Green Chile and Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce

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Roasted Poblano Guacamole

Looking for some main dish ideas? Here are some recipes:

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Roasted Poblano Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs (great for breakfast or anytime!)

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Crispy Tofu Tacos with Creamy Roasted Poblano Sauce and Grilled Cotija Cheese

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Chorizo and Cheese Enchiladas

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Seitan Carnitas

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Jalapeño Cheese Tamales

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Tamale Casserole

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Tofu and Cheese Enchiladas

A couple beverage ideas to round things out:

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Classic Margarita

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Horchata

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Mangorita

Happy celebrating!

Cinco de Mayo Favorites

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Somehow it’s already the first weekend of May. My brain tries to wrap itself around how quickly time flies, but in the midst of doing so, all I can really think about is big fat veggie burritos or tacos laden with freshly cooked beans, melted cheese and spicy sauces of every type imaginable. Then there’s the beverage aspect of the whole ordeal, where I imagine beautiful combinations of fresh fruit juice – or fresh fruit juice within a vast array of adult cocktails. Ultimately I begin to think about how swiftly summer seems to be approaching. Of course that leads me back to thoughts of tacos and margaritas, within the sunshine, of course.

Before we get too far into May, there’s always Cinco de Mayo to celebrate. Some folks need an excuse to devour Mexican food. I’m not in that category of folks; nor is our family. We eat Mexican-inspired dishes weekly. The following is a list of recipes both tried and very much wanting to be tried. Should you find yourself invited to a Cinco de Mayo themed potluck party, left without a clue as to what you can bring, may these recipes motivate you to try them.

 

Small Bites

Eggplant Parmesan Nachos from Climbing Grier Mountain – nontraditional, but amazing looking and sounding!
Mexican Street Fair Corn  from Food52 – I love the look of this fresh sweet corn.
Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn  from 101 Cookbooks
Molletes  from Leite’s Culinaria

 

Sauces

Roasted Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa from Foodie Crush

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Avocado Green Tomato Salsa


Roasted Poblano Guacamole
Green Chile and Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce
Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Guacamole from Joy the Baker – I’m certain I could eat this by the spoonful, standing at the kitchen counter… 

 

Sides

Cheesy Potato Gratin with Chiles and Corn
Toasted Coconut, Cilantro and Lime Rice
Cheesy Anaheim and Poblano Pepper Rice

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Main Dishes

Tamale Casserole

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Chorizo and Cheese Enchiladas
Spicy Citrus Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos from Joy the Baker
Charred Asparagus Tacos with Creamy Adobo and Pickled Red Onions from Serious Eats – a great vegetarian spin on tacos!
Chile Rellenos with Brebis Blanche and Tomatillo Salsa from Alana Chernia of Eating From the Ground Up

Drinks

Mango and Blackberry Mint Margaritas

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Homemade Horchata

Blood Orange Margaritas from Alex Thomopoulos – this drink is gorgeous in color and I love the addition of mint.
Roasted Blueberry Basil Margarita from How Sweet It Is
Tequila and Campari with Tangerine from Serious Eats – a larger, pitcher option if you’re hosting dinner for folks… or feel the need for a pitcher-sized drink.
Watermelon-Ginger Agua Fresca from Bon Appetit – for a delicious non-alcoholic beverage option.

Desserts

Margarita Tarts from A Couple Cooks
Homemade Churros from Or Whatever You Do
Horchata Ice Cream from The Bojon Gourmet – I cannot wait to make this… YUM.

 

Happy celebrating!

Slow Cooked Black Beans

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The most simplistic recipes often are not born out of a lack of creativity, nor a lack of skills in the kitchen. Sometimes simplicity is both competence and comprehensibility of the ingredients at hand. Knowing that you can put X, Y, and Z together and create a meal that is both satisfying and filling? It’s art. The recipe included in this post should be looked at as a skeleton of a guide, a starting place to go wherever sounds good to you, a basic suggestion for a beginning.

The thing about a pot of beans is that it rarely sounds exciting. Or dried beans seem like a lot of work. Or won’t canned beans suffice? Or you have experienced undercooked homemade beans, which, would turn anyone off to trying them again. An undercooked bean is not captivating in the least bit. It’s hard, hurts your teeth, worse yet – hurts your stomach if you eat too many of them. I’ve been on the delivering and receiving end of undercooked beans. I apologize.

A good pot of homemade beans fills your house with warmth… A salutation when you walk in the front door of, hello, let us enjoy a home-cooked meal filled with hours of flavor and time. It’s inviting. A respectable pot of homemade beans is filled with spice and character. It leaves an impression. Dried beans can be paired with whatever flavors excite your appetite… You can aim for slight sweetness, or spiciness that leaves your mouth aflame. The secret to good home-cooked beans though, aside from cooking them long enough that they take on a buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture, is to flavor the broth extremely well. Sometimes that cooking liquid asks for cumin, or thyme, or smoked paprika… Perhaps it requests freshly peeled onions and many cloves of garlic, scraps of leek and celery ends. It always demands salt and pepper – don’t forget.

Dried beans often require an overnight soaking before they’re cooked. While I am an advocate for this method rather than the quick-soak method, I recently discovered I could place all the ingredients into our crock pot before going to bed and the beans take on a nearly-fall-apart-softness anyway, as if they’d spent the night hanging out in a makeshift pool of cold water. I like this procedure best; it’s the simplest of all, and the result is an amazing meal.

The thing about a pot of beans is that it can make many-a-meal. For ease, a pot of beans can be paired with a pot of rice (which, really, just takes rice and water… maybe butter… maybe salt…). You can eat them with warmed corn tortillas, you can fold them up in a large flour tortilla and call it a burrito. You can remove some of the cooking broth and add tomatoes and further spice, creating chili. You can add them to pasta dishes. Really, a pot of beans is simplicity and complexity. It’s entirely up to you. (But no matter the route you choose, they’re delicious.)

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Slow Cooker Black Beans

Feeds 10-12 people

Ingredients:
3 cups dried black beans, rinsed
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium apple, cored (fuji, gala, braeburn, etc.) and quartered
3 carrots, halved
1 stick cinnamon
3 dried bay leaves
2 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ cup good quality olive oil
vegetable broth, No-Chicken broth, or water

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in your slow cooker/crock pot, then add enough broth or water to cover the beans by at least 6-inches. Stir to combine everything, then cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (at least). If you go the route of cooking these overnight, you can replenish the broth/water in the morning, making sure the beans are well submerged.

Remove the onion, garlic, apple, carrot, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves before serving. Serve hot… with rice, alongside enchiladas, wrapped in a burrito, on their own, topped with sour cream and cheese…