SAVORING the MOMENT

Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle

Thursday

A good bowl of beans

I love beans for so many reasons. For instance:
1) They are hearty and satisfying
2) They are high in protein and fiber
3) They are low in fat
4) They provide a blank slate for my culinary imagination

The soybean is a super food, but we don't typically eat it in its whole food form. I sing the praises of tofu, tempeh, miso, etc. but here I am referring to dried beans, or legumes, which are available in a vast array of colors and sizes in the bulk bins at my natural food store (and at any supermarket).

Yesterday another storm blew in, bringing cold and rain, and I wanted something warming and hearty for dinner. Beans came immediately to mind, so I rummaged in my pantry and came up with a bag of aduki beans, small red-black beans that are particularly high in protein and low in gas-producing compounds (you'll notice they produce very little foam while cooking).

I started with an old nutrition-school trick of adding a big strip of kombu, a sea vegetable purchased at said natural food store, to the boiling water along with the beans. Kombu is dense with health-promoting minerals and is said to promote good digestion, minimizing the musical effect of legumes. Didn't add any salt at this point; many "old wives" believe it toughens the beans to salt them too early.

When the beans were almost tender (this took about an hour), I added other ingredients. For this stew, I called on the basics of Tex-mex cooking, chile and cumin powders. I also added plenty of garlic and some freshly grated ginger (for their warming and immune-boosting properties), some finely diced carrots and kale, canned tomatoes, red wine, salt and quite a bit of black pepper. Another 30 minutes or so of boiling and the beans were ready.

I served it forth, garnished with a dollop of sour cream (here blended 50/50 with plain nonfat yogurt), a scattering of fresh cilantro leaves, and a dusting of smoked paprika.

The stew was delicious and filling and chased away the chill. I'm already planning my next batch of beans...

Blessings and bon appetit!

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2 Comments:

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Amy O'Neill Houck said...

What a great description! I love to use Kombu with my beans as well. I've been thinking about provencal white beans in olive oil and rosemary...

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Mindy T. said...

Yum, I love white beans with olive oil and rosemary -- and garlic. I also love white bean and broccoli salad with curried dressing. I'll post that recipe one day. Thanks for dropping by!

 

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