Beans and Rice (part 1)

I had a ridonculous day today.  It started off well enough viewing flats in Wandsworth, but then when Red went to meet up with his brother who had come to London for the day, I resolved to get something done that I’d been putting off all week: taking back the fan we recently bought at Argos that stopped working.  Needless to say, it was no easy task, and I ended up carrying it for nearly a mile and then taking it on the Tube clear across London when the manager at the Argos near me was being an uber bitch.  For more detail about THAT situation, refer to my poetic rendition of the day already posted on Yelp.

So, after my day of intense aggravation and needless travel on London transportation, I thought to myself, ‘There is nothing I would like more now than an alcoholic beverage’.  So I picked up some cider on the way home and started drinking.  By myself.  After all the scornful walking and hauling ass up stairs on the Underground whilst carrying a cumbersome fan sticking out of its box and dodging tourists, I managed to burn off the paltry caloric intake I’d taken in earlier in the day, so the cider went right to my head.

But, being the kitchen warrior that I am, I perservered and managed to pull off a wonderful dinner in the slightly intoxicated state that I was (am) in.  I should add that I chop things a lot faster when I’m a bit drunk.  Although I do realise that I am lucky to have not lost a finger.

Down-South (American, that is) Beans and Rice of Delicious:

Yum-o-clock

Ingredients

  • 1 green pepper, chopped roughly
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 200g chopped tomatoes (I use a small tin or half a large tin)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste… I would recommend Tabasco, but I’ll be honest and admit that I used Nando’s Hot Peri Peri Sauce)
  • salt to taste
  • 70g firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp liquid aminos
  • water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • additional oil for deep frying

Step One A Press about 70g of firm tofu, then cut into little bits/strips (to simulate bacon bits).  Marinate for 30 minutes in some liquid aminos and water in a mug.  Deep fry for 3-4 minutes, until crispy.  You don’t need a deep-fat fryer for this, as the quantity is so small that you can just pour about 3 or 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small pot and fry the tofu up in that.  Drain and set aside.

Step One B Cook two servings’ worth of brown rice.  For the absolute best, foolproof way of cooking brown rice, click here.  (After you’ve read the instructions on that link, if you’re wondering the measurements I use for two perfect servings of brown rice, it’s 115g brown rice to 180mL water.)

Step Two Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pot.  Add your pepper, onion and garlic.  Saute for 4 minutes.  Add your tomatoes, cumin, thyme and bay leaf, cover the pot with a lid and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove lid and chuck in your hot sauce, salt and tofu bits.  Move everything around with your spatula to make it look like you’re doing something important.  Remove the bay leaf, while you’re at it.

Step Three Serve with rice.

Delicious time.

Red said that the tofu bits simulated bacon surprisingly well, which was the goal.  Score 15 for experimental vegetarian cooking.

Crock Pot Chilli

Crock Pot Chilli is a big hit in this household.  It’s made of some general components, and then more components can be added on a whim, usually to great effect.  Best served with brown rice or corn bread, it can also be served with some buttery bread if I’m feeling lazy, which is less nutritionally sound than brown rice but delicious.

Crock Pot Chilli

Basic Ingredients

  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 227g tinned chopped tomatoes (usually available in a small tin at the grocery store)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t bottled minced chilli (or 1 t chilli powder, or if you like things really hot more.  or if you have that wussy chilli powder that is actually only a little bit chilli powder and mostly cumin, add definitely more than just 1 t.)
  • 3 t cumin powder
  • 2 T water

And to zest things up this time, I added

  • 3 t tamarind paste
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (because I bought a carton of them the other day and saw them sitting there in my refrigerator when I went to get the tamarind paste)

Step one Warm up slow cooker.  Heat up the oil in a pan and cook the onion, green pepper and garlic for 2-3 minutes over medium heat on the hob.

Step two Transfer onion/pepper/garlic mixture to slow cooker.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir.  Cover.  Slow cook on low for 6 hours.

Yields 2 servings

 

See, I love this recipe, because it’s so easy, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  Have some sweet corn?  Chuck it in there.  Want to sweeten things up but don’t have tamarind?  Squirt in some honey or throw in some brown sugar.  Have some potato you want to use? Chop it up, chuck it in, and add a bit more water (also, you might have to increase the cooking time by an hour or two).  Want to get a little more south-of-the-border?  Add some coriander and paprika.  More mediterranean?  Try oregano and a bit of basil.  Love bay leaves?  Put one of those in there too.  How much do you really like tomatoes?  You could add some tomato paste in there as well.