Monday, July 26, 2010

Refried Beans

Let me put this bluntly: I love refried beans. And, while I don't mind using canned ones for adding to burritos and whatnot, I would never eat them straight. Canned refrieds just don't cut it. After hearing a lot of buzz here and there on the internets, I decided to try this recipe, which has gotten stellar reviews (5 stars with 708 people reviewing the recipe). Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I thought they lacked flavor and it wasn't for lack of salt (which, strangely, the recipe calls for before the beans are cooked...I'm guessing that's why they take so long). So, I set about trying to combine this recipe with mine and the results were pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.
"Fat-ish" Refried Beans

1 pound of pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
3 cups of veggie broth
1 onion, quartered
1 California bay leaf
1 piece of kombu
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
3 t salt (more or less, to taste)
1/3 cup of oil (I've used olive and canola and liked them both)

In a large bowl (I use the insert to my slowcooker), cover pinto beans with serveral inches of water and let soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and rinse them. Put them in a slowcooker, add the veggie broth and cover the rest of the way with an inch of water (You can also use all veggie broth or water). Add all the ingredients, except the salt, pepper, and oil. Cook on high for 5 1/2 to 6 hours. Using a ladle remove as much liquid as you can (just try to get the liquid level below the beans) and set the liquid aside. Add oil and salt, and cook for 15 more minutes. Using a hand blender (or mash them with a fork or potato masher), puree the beans, adding the reserved liquid as needed to achieve the desired consistency. I usually like them thinner as a side dish and thicker for the filling of burritos.

Refried beans freeze wonderfully. Just add a little bit of veggie broth as you reheat them, since they will thicken up in the freezer.

Spicy Chickpea Puree

While Aspen was here, I made a lot of beans, since she seems to like them and every meal was hit and miss on whether she'd actually eat it. This Spicy Chickpea Puree was a great big fail with Aspen (she likes beans, she likes hummus, but the chickpea puree is a fail? Teenagers.). BUT, it was an unqualified success with the adults and toddlers in the house. It may only be a slightly dressed up version of hummus, but there's something about this meal that felt fresh. On another note, the chickpea puree is spread on a loaf of bread that I baked that day--the practice loaf out of My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method. Due to a small error on my part, it came out slightly dry/tough, but the flavor was incredible and it was one of the easiest loaves I've ever made.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Do Vegan Toddlers Eat?: Day Two

1 brown rice sausage breakfast patty
1 banana pancake
Note: This is a lot of tan food. He actually only ate the pancake and then ate half a banana. He ate the sausage for a snack. The sausage is my attempt at replicating the deliciousness they serve at Vertical Diner: Gimme Lean, brown rice, oil, maple syrup, thyme, and cayenne all mixed together and lightly pan fried.
1/2 banana
A handful of green grapes

1/2 cuban black bean burrito
Note: Eames finished what Aspen didn't eat. I made 2 pounds (!!!!) of cuban black beans last week and finally finished the last them in burritos yesterday. Cuban black beans and rice is one of the cheapest, most delicious meals ever.

Strawberries, nuts, blueberries, and some plantain chips
Note: On some afternoons, Eames goes next door so I can try to get some writing done. He usually eats a big pile of fruit while he's there and this is what he had left in front of him when I went to pick him up.

1/2 Daiya quesadilla with avocado and tomato
Note: This is a standby for me. Since Daiya hit the market, I've been making quesadillas for him--mostly, because I can. I make them with spelt tortillas and try to serve it with a deconstructed salsa. One that he can feed himself. Eames loves this dish.

Green banana soymilk
Note: Spinach makes the banana soy milk green. He goes back and forth on this. Sometimes he slurps it down and other times he won't touch it. I think it depends on how strong the spinach tastes. Occasionally, it's pretty strong no matter how much I put in. On another note, Eames has taken to drinking my coffee, but I'm not going to put that on here. Bad mommy.

And, when the fruit is gone, the bowl makes a spectacular hat. The aliens can't penetrate his mind this way.