Monday, January 30, 2012

Black Beans and Rice

My grandma taught me how to make black beans and rice. Her recipe is delicious, although, to be honest, my beans turn out differently each time--sometimes soupier, sometimes spicier. Either way, my family claims I never make them often enough.

Dried black beans are something we have in our food storage so whenever we have a leftover ham bone (or ham slices) in the freezer, I try to figure this into our menu. I do need to plan ahead because the beans need to soak overnight, but the rewards are scrumptious.

Black Beans and Rice

1 lb. black beans (I use 2-3 cups from bulk.)

The night before you plan to serve them, place beans (rinsed and picked through) in a large saucepan and add 5-6 cups water. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and soak beans overnight.

The next day bring the beans to a boil and add as you prepare them:
3 large stalks celery, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tsp. dried basil (or handful of fresh)
ham, sausage, or bacon (if desired)

Simmer (covered) approximately 5-6 hours until the beans are soft. Add more water as needed. (I usually add several more cups.) Just before serving, remove the jalapeno and add 1-2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Serve over rice.

Julie's Notes: My black beans taste the best when I add a ham bone or chopped up ham slices to the beans as well. The ham is usually left over from some type of holiday feast. Just let the bone simmer with the beans all day, and remove it before serving. Tiny pieces of meat literally fall off the bone into the beans and flavor it deliciously.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sauteed Cabbage

Use the other half of the head of cabbage you used for Sally's Stoneless Stone Soup to make this quick, easy, and flavorful side dish. The caraway seeds are the aromatic secret. This recipe is originally from Martha Stewart, and we love it.

Sauteed Cabbage

2 tablespoons clarified butter (I don't bother to clarify the butter.)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 to 1/2 large Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (I use regular cabbage.)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add the caraway seeds and toast lightly, stirring constantly until aromatic, about 30 to 45 seconds.

2. Add the cabbage and reduce heat to medium-low. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.