Sunday, May 30, 2010

Living on Beans and Dreams

A year or two ago I got on a kick where I watched a lot of You Are What You Eat on BBC America. In the show Gillian McKeith takes over the lives of fast food addicted British citizens and puts them on the path to good eating. In every episode she talked about Aduki Bean Casserole. I thought it sounded delicious - beans, squash, onions, and spices all baked together. So I bought a pound of Aduki beans at the health food store and decided to make it.

Unfortunately, I didn't think through my plan. The recipe called for miso paste, chervil, sprouted seeds, and chicory. Those items are not easily found at my local grocery store. So I gave up on my plan. The beans sat in my cupboard. Every few months I would think about throwing them out, as I didn't think I would ever make anything with them.

Until I read an article that changed my mind. The article talked about eating organic, and how it can be expensive. It said that one way that it is affordable to eat organic is with beans and rice. You can make a lot of meals (or one big meal) out of a pound of beans. I remembered the forgotten bag of organic aduki beans in my cupboard and decided to give it a go.

Just eating a pound of beans wasn't challenge enough. I eat beans and rice a lot, just not a pound at a time. It is my go to easy meal when I don't want to cook (Mary-Claire is the same way). I decided I would make up all of the recipes I used. I put the bag of beans into a crockpot, covered the beans with water, and set it to high. 4 hours later I had beans ready to use (I'm sure this would have taken less time had I used fresher beans).

Dish number 1 was aduki bean spread. I had it for dinner as a vegetable dip, and for lunch the next day as a sandwich spread. I pureed beans, cumin, garlic, garlic powder, salt, pepper, olive oil, and tahini and made a paste. I used less tahini than I do with hummus, and I had to add more spices and salt to it to develop the flavor. All in all it was a pretty good dip.

The next day I used dish 1 as a base for dish 2 - aduki bean patties on brown rice. For the brown rice I made brown rice and stirred in a jar of salsa. For the patties I mixed the paste, an egg, red onion, shredded pepper jack cheese, whole aduki beans, and corn meal until they stuck together. I then dredged them in cornmeal and cooked them in a skillet until they were browned and crisp. I served the patties and rice together, covered with salsa and plain yogurt. They were very good. I wish I would have written down the ratios of ingredients I used, as I would like to make these again.

I realize at this point you might think I'm some sort of health food nut (making bean burgers on brown rice with plain yogurt and all). That isn't the case. I think sour cream would have tasted better with the patties and I would have used it if I had any on hand. I always have plain yogurt and rarely have sour cream, so when I want something sour cream like I use the next best thing.

Meal 3 was even better than meal number 2. For meal number 3 I crumbled the leftover patties and sauteed them like ground beef. Then John made burritos with cheese, bean crumbles, and more cheese. We ate them with salsa, jalapenos, and plain yogurt. I had mine cut in two, John had his with chipotle Tabasco across the top (he's very proud of his presentation and would like me to have a vote on which plate my readers prefer, I'm not going to do that but feel free to compliment him the next time you see him).

While the burritos were crisping up I put together meal 4. The photo does not do this casserole justice. There is a base layer of tortilla, followed by a mix of aduki beans, brown rice, diced tomatoes, and corn, topped with a tortilla. I froze the casserole for two weeks until neither of wanted to cook. Before it baked I topped it with more cheese and salsa. I loved the casserole. It was mushy and gooey and delicious.

I really enjoyed cooking my way through a pound of beans. I bought a pound of garbanzo beans the last time I went to the store. I'm looking forward to creating new ways to enjoy them.


mary-claire said...

I can't wait to see what you come up with for the garbanzo beans! That sounds like such a delicious challenge. In the end, which recipe was your favorite? BOTH the burritos look delicious.

Sarah said...

I would have to say the casserole was the best. The burritos were a close second.

essjay said...

What a great post! I love to see all the meals you came up with for those beans. I need to try dry beans - from what I understand they have so many more nutrients than canned versions do.