This recipe is simple, tasty and flexible. This will make approximately a week's worth of meals for one person. I find it's quick and easy to create interesting meals using the formula greens (e.g., baby spinach) + these beans + something else. E.g., I often add baked tofu for some extra protein.
The basic steps are:
Steps 1 and 2 take a while, but are basically "fire and forget" - you can go do other things while you wait. Step 3 requires active focus, but only takes ~20 minutes.
Note: Beans can cause gas 💨, especially if you don't eat them very often. To minimize this effect, rinse the beans thoroughly after soaking them, and again right before you mash them.
Start with 1lb of dry beans. I've used pinto, black, and red beans and they all work great. Soak them overnight in plenty of water. They'll absorb a lot of so make sure there's at least a few inches of water covering them. It's OK to top up if you didn't add enough at first.
🕘 Time passes... minimum 6 hours or so, I usually leave them overnight.
OK now you have 1lb of soaked beans. Drain and rinse them!
Bring them to a boil in a pot or saucepan of water, then let them simmer for about an hour. Basically we want them to get very soft. This step is exactly like making mashed potatoes, only with beans! Don't worry about seasoning yet, we'll do that in the last step.
🕘 Time passes... about an hour...
By now you have 1lb of very soft, mashable beans. Take one out and check how soft it is. If it mashes really easily, you're good to go. It's important that the beans are really soft, so if in doubt give it another 10 minutes.
Once you're sure the beans are soft enough, drain and rinse them again! As an option you can reserve a little bit (1/4 cup) of the water, and add it to the mixture later. I don't always do this, and don't think it makes a big difference.
OK this is where the active preparation starts... you're 20-30 minutes from done at this point but you gotta stay on it!
Mash the soft beans with a potato masher (I do it in the same pot I used to boil them). You can control the texture of the finished product here. Mash them a bit for a rough, "rustic" texture. Mash them thoroughly for a creamier texture. If you want a really creamy result, you can whiz them in a food processor.
OK now you have 1lb of mashed beans! Set them aside.
Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and about two onions worth of diced onions, and cook over a low-medium heat until they're really soft (10 to 15 minutes). Be careful not to burn the onions even a little bit... that will affect the final flavor in a way you don't want.
Once you have nice, soft, translucent, garlicky onions in a hot oil bath, scoop in the mashed beans. From this point on you're doing two things: (1) Making sure the beans, onions, and oil are fully combined together, and (2) seasoning.
There's no trick to the combining process... just mush things around with whatever utensil works. A large skillet makes it easier/less messy.
Seasoning is a place where you can get creative. I always use cumin, salt and pepper. I'm not sure how much to use, I just add some, taste it, add some more. Usually I'll add a hot sauce like Tapatio or similar to give it some heat. Maybe some garlic powder or onion powder. I think there's lots of things that will work, and it's a pretty tolerant dish that you can experiment with! I've tried mixing in some tomato salsa, and that was pretty tasty.
After about 5-10 minutes of combining and seasoning, you should be done. Turn off the heat, and eat/store the result! I find the beans will keep at least a week in the fridge.
Here's a pic of a recent attempt... this is towards the end of the "combining and seasoning" stage:
In this case I used Mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) instead of just onions, which works great! Preparation is exactly the same.
Super easy baked tofu. I've tweaked and simplified this recipe to be as simple as possible. It's not fancy, but it's tasty!
Drain the tofu. Note: I don't bother squeezing the water out... it doesn't seem to make a difference for this recipe so save the time!
Cut the tofu into bite-size cubes.
Put the tofu cubes into the plastic container, then pour plenty of teriyaki sauce over. I usually use half a bottle, but you can just eyeball it. As long as there's enough to soak into the tofu. This is where the flavor comes from, so don't skimp too much.
Attach the lid of the plastic container and make sure it's secure.
Shake, invert, and generally move the container around so the sauce thoroughly coats the tofu cubes.
Now leave it to marinate for a few hours! Go watch TV or something 📺
🕘 Time passes...
Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
Line a baking tray with aluminium foil a silicon baking sheet, and dump the marinated cubes onto it.
Put the tray into the oven.
Check and turn the cubes every ten minutes or so.
After 30 minutes or so, they should be nicely browned.
Take 'em out. You're done!
It's also really easy to make your own marinade instead of using bottled teritaki sauce. I like this because you can control sugar better, and it produces less waste.
Galangal soup - a Thai coconut soup - with tofu. Be aware: This recipe is incredibly rich and delicious, but it's also a time-consuming pain in the ass and doesn't make that many servings. So I don't make this very often...
The "make sure you have" ingredients are: Coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilli peppers, lime juice, cilantro (optional)
The "proteins" are: Tofu, mushrooms
Reduce the vegetable stock until it's halved in volume.
Add the lemongrass (smashed if fresh), galangal slices, torn lime leaves, and the coconut milk.
Heat to a gentle simmer, then add the onions and mushrooms. Simmer until the onion is soft.
Add (smashed) chilli peppers and the tofu. Simmer until the tofu is warmed through.
Remove from the heat.
Flavor with lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, and cilantro. The flavor profile should be sour, followed by salty then sweet.
Note: You can't eat the galangal slices, lime leaves, or lemongrass pieces...
I want to learn how to make old school ketchup. So I did some research. And found this amazing recipe from 1817:
This seems like a fun place to start (minus the anchovies)...
Interesting that this recipe has no added sugar (unlike modern ketchups). I guess the brandy substitutes?
Makes one cup of ketchup
Core and cut tomatoes into 4s. Put all ingredients into a pot, bring to a boil stirring occasionally. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let boil for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat allow to cool for five minutes, then blend until smooth. Lasts 4 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
This is Michael Gregor's date syrup recipe.
Combine the dates and hot water in a heatproof bowl. Set aside for one (1) hour to soften the dates. Transfer the dates and water to a high-speed blender. Add lemon and blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator for up to three (3) weeks.
"Make your own bitters as follows, and we can vouch for their superiority. One ounce and a half of gentian-root, one ounce and a half of lemon-peel, one ounce and a half of orange-peel. Steep these ingredients for about a month in a quart of sherry, and then strain and bottle for use."
The largest purveyor of Angostura bitters in the world is Nelsen's Hall Bitters Pub on Washington Island off the northeast tip of Door Peninsula in Door County, Wisconsin. The pub began selling shots of bitters as a stomach tonic for medicinal purposes under a pharmaceutical license during Prohibition in the United States. The practice, which helped the pub to become the oldest continuously-operating tavern in Wisconsin, remained a tradition after the repeal of Prohibition. As of 2018, the pub hosts a Bitters Club, incorporates bitters into food menu items, and sells upwards of 10,000 shots per year.
Specialty Bottle in Seattle
Things to make with cucumbers: