Monday, November 22, 2010

Easy Black Bean Soup

My family loves black beans. We eat them so often I buy them in bulk now. My oldest daughter loves my homemade black bean dip (that recipe will be posted the next time I make it). I add them into tacos, make black bean and beef enchiladas, and I've posted my Black Bean and Andouille Sausage recipe recently. I found a recipe for a Black Bean Soup that I had been dying to try, and finally got a chance to make it last week. It was so good! I think it makes a fabulous lunch, especially as it gets colder outside.

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 15.5 oz cans black beans. (I prefer the Goya brand, but I do also like the Trader Joe's brand)
1 cup or more chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
2 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons- 1/4 cup (depending on your taste) chopped fresh cilantro.
*Adobo ( or other hot sauce) to taste I used Nando's Peri Peri sauce because it is what I had on hand. You can buy it at The World Market.

1. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and all seasonings, EXCEPT the hot sauce, and cook for about 30 seconds.
2.Add vegetables and saute, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender

3. Add the chicken broth, beans, chopped cilantro brown sugar, and vinegar and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or so, or until the soup thickens.
5. Remove the bay leaves and season with the hot sauce to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Just in Time for Thanksgiving- Sweet Potato Pie

This year our Fall CSA gave us fresh sweet potatoes. My family doesn't eat a lot of sweet potatoes- in fact my husband is not a fan of them at all. He does, however, love a good, homemade sweet potato pie. I decided to try my hand at it, especially since Thanksgiving is coming up. It was so easy and delicious! My 4year old loved it, and I actually had to make another one to send in to her preschool for their Thanksgiving Feast.

1 lb of sweet potatoes
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pie crust

1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for about 50 minutes, or until fork tender. Cool sweet potato by running cold water over them. Peel skin off.
2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, place pie crust in 9 inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.Cut sweet potato into chunks and put in bowl. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer, but you can use a hand held also. Add softened butter and mix until smooth. One at a time add in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and lumps are gone. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Don't worry if the pie puffs up, it will sink back down as it cools.

Fresh out of the oven:

Time for dessert!

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time... a mom's nemesis

I have still been cooking away in the kitchen and have several recipes to post, but with 3 kids, one of whom has been cutting 4 teeth this week and not napping, I have run short on time for blogging. I have been taking pictures and will be posting in the next day or two.

Here's what you can look for in upcoming posts:

Sweet Potato Pie made with sweet potatoes from our CSA
Easy Black Bean soup
Black beans and rice with chicken andouille sausage
homemade baby food- sweet potatoes and butternut squash
and a few more.

I did try a new recipe for cream cheese filled cupcakes, using tofutti cream cheese, but they were horrible! I'm still working on that one...
I also had intended to make chicken and dumplings this week, but the chicken we bought from the grocery store had an issue so we could not use it. Needless to say, I have since found a farm to get fresh chickens from and will be avoiding grocery store meat as much as possible.
Our new goal for our kitchen is to buy as little pre-packaged products as possible. This will take some time to switch over, but I hope to only buy fresh, natural ingredients and make all our food from scratch from now on. (with the exception of a few of the girls snack items) I already bake all of our sweet treats, and have started making the girls homemade oatmeal in the mornings. I know I can't cut out the cereal, but I can make my oatmeal, waffles, pancakes from scratch.
Also on the list of changes is to switch from soy milk to almond milk. I made oatmeal for myself today using vanilla almond milk and it was fantastic! I'll be using it in my cooking from now on, and will also be trying out different brands to see which is the best. Currently I am using Silk.

So that's it from here for now. Back to the kitchen:-) Happy Cooking!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Black Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

I have the most fun cooking when I am not following a recipe. I'll get an idea of something I want to make, and just start throwing ingredients together to see what happens. That's how I came up with my own Black Bean and Andouille Sausage with Rice recipe. It started as a dinner creation one night when the husband was out of town and I had no idea what I wanted for dinner. Since then it has become something we make on nights that we either don't have a dinner planned, or a night when we are running short on time. I make sure I always have the ingredients for this on hand- it's quick, easy, and so good!

1 pack Trader Joe's Chicken Andouille sausage
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large pepper chopped. Doesn't matter if it's green, orange, or red.
1 large Onion chopped.
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can plain tomato sauce or 2 cans diced tomatoes
cayenne pepper
dark chili powder (all spices to taste)
ground cumin
1-1.5 cups rice

I didn't take a picture of the ingredients listed before I started. I did take a picture after I had started cooking thanks to my husband's suggestion that I should post this recipe...

Easy method:
1. If sausage is frozen, thaw in pan of boiling water. Once thawed, slice.
2. Saute peppers and onions together in a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
until the onions start to soften.
3. Add fresh chopped tomatoes if you are using them
4. Add sliced sausage to the pan and allow the veggies and meat to cook together over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so nothing burns.
5.Add rinsed black beans and canned tomatoes.
6. Add in your spices. Stir well to mix everything together. Let simmer on low as the rice cooks.
7. Serve over rice.

A perfect dinner for snuggling on the couch with the hubby, a glass of wine, and a movie!

Ginger Carrot Slices

I have a friend who has recently moved here from South Africa and she has been teaching me new South African recipes,and also sharing her cookbooks with me. While we were at her house a few nights ago, I mentioned that I was trying to decide what to make for guests we were having over for coffee on Friday evening. Our guests were my husband's parents and friends of theirs visiting from France. The couple owns a winery in the Burgundy region of France, so we were having a special tasting at the Williamsburg Winery with them and had invited them to our home for coffee and tea after the tasting and dinner. I wanted to make a dessert, nothing heavy or too sweet, but also nothing ordinary or out of a box. (I am no longer making things from box mixes if I can help it). I had toyed with the idea of making my biscotti, but then Rochelle showed me a fabulous dessert cookbook of hers from home. It's called "Superb Slices". I have found several that I plan on trying, and the one I chose for our guests was the Ginger Carrot Slices. It was actually quite simple to make, and everyone liked it. This was light enough to serve after a full meal, but didn't leave you wondering where dessert was.

1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/3 cup refined white sugar (you cannot substitute other sugars)
2 cups grated carrot
2 oz melted *butter ( half a stick)
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten

1.Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of greased 7x11 inch shallow cake pan with wax paper.
2.Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger into a large mixing bowl.

Add the sugar and carrots, mixing well. Make a well in the center and add the melted butter, honey, oil, and eggs. Mix together.

3.Pour into cake pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Cool before lifting out of the pan.

*I am able to have small amounts of real butter. 1 tsp of Butter only has .06g of lactose. However, I do have to be careful of how much butter a recipe contains and I will make adjustments if needed.

source: "Superb Slices" Published by Wild Dog Press, Johannesburg, South Africa 1998