The Sensitive Kitchen

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Smoky Mexican Black Beans

I make these all the time, in a variety of ways, as you will see when you read the directions. This recipe makes 4 to 5 cups of cooked beans.

2 c dried black beans
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 c chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt, or to taste


Soak the black beans in triple their volume of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain beans; discard soaking water and set beans aside. (If you are in a hurry, you can bring them to a boil, then remove from heat and let stand covered for 1 hour, then proceed as written. If you don't soak them, just cook them longer, up to double the indicated time, and prepare to feel a bit gassy.)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a skillet (if using crock-pot) or a pressure cooker or large pot (if using stovetop). Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown. Add spices. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.

If making on stovetop, add soaked beans and bay leaf. Add water just to cover, stirring well. Cook for 90 minutes, covered, or 18 minutes at high pressure in a pressure cooker (natural release).

If making in crock-pot, scrape onion-garlic-spice mixture into bottom of crock-pot. Rinse/scrape skillet well and add this water with all its flavorful bits to crock-pot, then add black beans and bay leaf. Pour water in at least 1" over top of beans and cook 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.

Salt beans to taste. Remove beans to a heat-tolerant storage container (I use a large slotted spoon) and cook liquid down until slightly thickened. Pour over beans, stirring well to coat beans with liquid. Refrigerate everything overnight, then reheat and serve... because beans are always better the next day.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Vegetarian Udon Soup

This traditional Japanese dish is enriched by the addition of an egg boiled until the yolk is mostly solid. When cut in half, most of the yolk stays with the egg, but a tiny bit stays behind to flavor the broth. If you are not vegetarian, you may include shreds or cubes of cooked chicken, another traditional addition.

4 eggs
1 Tbsp rice bran or other high-heat oil
1 c yellow onion, sliced, slices cut in thirds
12 ozs mushrooms (I used a mixture of cremini and shiitake)
10 c water
2-3 Tbsp broth concentrate (I used Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base), to taste
1 Tbsp grated ginger, more to taste
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce, to taste
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 c Napa cabbage, shredded
2 c carrots, sliced on bias
8 ozs prepared frozen potstickers or dumplings
1/2 c pre-roasted asparagus, cut in 1" pieces (optional)
12 ozs fresh udon noodles
3 scallions, sliced

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook eggs 6 minutes at a simmer. Remove from heat with slotted spoon; run under cold water until just cool enough to handle. Peel; place 1 egg in each of 4 soup bowls.

While eggs cook, heat large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and onion; cook until onions are softened with brown edges. Push onions to side; add as many mushrooms as will fit in a single layer. Cook without stirring until mushrooms begin to give up their liquid, then stir and push to side of pot. Repeat until all mushrooms are cooked.

Add a bit of water to pot. Stir vigorously to bring up browned bits. Add remaining water, broth concentrate, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. When mixture comes to a boil, add cabbage, carrots, dumplings and udon noodles, according to the time it takes them to cook until just tender-crisp. Refer to dumpling and noodle packages for timings. (My soup was done in less than 5 minutes from this point.)

When soup is done, use slotted spoon and tongs to transfer dumplings and noodles to bowls with eggs. Ladle broth atop this. Sprinkle soup with scallions. Serve with chopsticks and a spoon; pass sesame oil, black pepper grinder, and Sriracha at the table.

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

This salsa is very easy to make, and puts anything from a jar to shame. My 10-year-old was eating it with a spoon!

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, husked and washed
2 poblano chiles, cut in half, seeded
2 serrano chiles, cut in half, seeded
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp each cumin and salt
1/4 c white onion, minced
a few sprigs cilantro, stemmed, finely chopped

Broil tomatillos and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cover side of sheet with chiles with a kitchen towel; let cool. Remove and discard blackened skins from chiles. Transfer remainder to a food processor, including juice on baking sheet. Process to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Stir in onions and cilantro. Season to taste with cumin, salt and lime juice.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Single Serving Protein Pumpkin Pancakes

This recipe makes a single serving of pancakes, and contains more protein than the typical pancake breakfast, which will keep you going longer.

1/2 c rolled oats
1 Tbsp Sucanat
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
Pinch cloves
1/2 c boxed egg whites
1/3 c canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp butter for frying

Heat a griddle to medium.

Grind rolled oats to flour consistency. Mix with remainder of dry ingredients. Mix egg whites, pumpkin and vanilla together until mostly smooth. Combine wet and dry ingredients; stir until just mixed.

Drop butter onto points on griddle where pancakes will fry. When butter melts and begins to sizzle, pour batter onto pools of butter and cook as with normal pancakes. Makes 5-6 pancakes, serving 1.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning Strata

This breakfast casserole comes together easily the night before. In fact, not only can you put it together in advance, you are supposed to! In the morning, remove it from the refrigerator and preheat the oven. Then take a quick break from presents to pop it in to bake. Right around the time your family frenzy slows down, and people start asking what's for breakfast, it will be ready.

1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced1 large bunch kale, stems removed, cut in chiffonade
6 c stale sourdough bread, cut in 1" cubes
8 eggs2 c milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c shredded Italian cheese blend (mine has mozzarella, asiago, fontina and provolone)
1/2 c shredded Pecorino Romano or other hard Italian grating cheese

Butter a 9"x13" or deep 10"x10" casserole dish. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a large (5-quart) bowl. Add mushrooms in batches; cook in a single layer until beginning to give up their liquid, then stir. Remove to bowl. Add 3 tablespoons water; stir to bring up browned bits. When water boils, add kale; cover skillet and cook until wilted. Remove kale to a cutting board; finely chop. Add to bowl along with bread cubes.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add milk; whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over bread-vegetable mixture. Layer ingredients in casserole dish as follows: 1/3 of bread-egg mixture, 1/2 of Italian cheese blend, 1/3 of bread-egg mixture, other 1/2 of Italian cheese blend, final 1/3 of bread-egg mixture, top with Romano. Cover with foil; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight to allow bread to soak up custard.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350. Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes to allow to come to room temperature. (Reserve foil.) Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until nicely browned, then cover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until cooked through in the middle. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

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