Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beans! Beans! The Musical Fruit!

Tonight was taco night, the kind of night when no one is complaining about dinner.  Ah, if only every night were this agreeable.  And while no one complained, husband and I agreed that the homemade taco seasoning we normally use has so much more flavor than the Ortega packets we used tonight.  Alas, I just bought 8 packets for less than $1, so we're going to use Ortega til it's gone.  Our normal taco seasoning:
Not sure where this recipe came from, but it rocks

If you want the whole recipe, you have to scroll down
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon flour

Combine all ingredients well in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid.  Attach said lid and store for up to a few months.  To use, brown 1 pound of ground meat, drain fat.  Add three tablespoons of taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water to the hot meat in the pan over medium heat.  Stir everything together really well and bring to a boil.  Let it boil for about 1 minute to thicken everything up, and you're done.  

  • We use it up pretty quickly, so I have no idea how long it will store for, but it's lasted for at least a month in our pantry without any flavor loss.  
  • The recipe multiplies well.  Last time I made it, I think I multiplied everything by 8 and it was great.  
  • We use beef, but I bet chicken or pork or turkey or tofu could be subbed.
  • Put it on tacos, or burritos, or a green salad, or quesadillas.  

And we love Penzey's spices, so that's where we get the raw ingredients from.  Well, we did until we moved to Utah.  I may have to become an online-only customer, which makes me a little sad because their shop in Brookfield, Wisconsin is so much fun to visit.  The first time I took oldest son there, we spent over an hour because he had to smell every spice, and every blend, and every thing.  I'll have to make a point to stop there when we head back to the midwest in July.

One more quick Mexican-inspired recipe that we love in this house - black bean salad.  I think it's more of a salsa and is great to eat with your favorite tortilla chips, but I have certainly put a healthy serving in a bowl and eaten it that way, too.  This is another recipe with unknown origins.
Nominomicon.  Food stains on the page mean the recipe is much loved.
Just in case the photo is blurry, the ingredients are
  • 1 large can of black beans
  • 1 pound plus 2.5 ounces of chopped tomato
  • 1 3/4 ounce chopped green onion
  • Cilantro to taste (from a dash to 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Wow!  Where did I get this recipe from!?  To clarify a few ingredients...
  • Tomatoes -  make that 18.5 ounces of drained, canned chopped tomatoes, or three large fresh tomotoes, chopped.
  • Green onions - I usually finely chop the top half of a small bunch of green onions, around 5.
  • Cilantro - we like cilantro around here, so we usually medium-finely chop the leafy parts of one bunch.
  • Balsamic - how much flavor does that 1/2 teaspoon really add...?  I think it adds a lot, so make it a heaping 1/2 cup total.
  • Olive oil - again with the extra half teaspoon...  Just make it 2 heaping tablespoons total and we're good.

Ok, salsa assembly is super easy.  Ready?
Drain the black beans.  Do not rinse.  Put drained beans in a large serving bowl.
Add everything else to bowl and stir well.  
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, so the flavors can meet, become acquainted, make plans for a second date.  The longer it marinates, the better it gets, much like the perfect relationship (does this exist?  really?).

And now for a recipe I don't even have written down - GUACAMOLE!  Seriously easy.  You'll need:
  • 2 large, or 3 medium, ripe avocados
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3/4C of Your Favorite Salsa
  • Salt and pepper
Remove the skin and pit from the avocado.  
Mash the avocado in a large serving bowl - I do this by hand with a fork.
Add the cilantro and salsa to the serving bowl.  Mix well.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with tortilla chips or raw vegetables.  Or spread it on your quesadilla.

Ah, and now it is bedtime for this bonzo.  G'Night all!

From Lewis Wayne Gallery

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