Friday, August 17, 2012

Three things to do with beans

I mentioned that we are staying at a farm where we have been eating a lot of beans and grains. One of the things we have been eating a lot of is tacos. We started out pretty basic (beans and cheese). But I thought I would share some of the ways we've been changing it up.

All of these recipes utilize kidney beans, because that's all we have. Every couple of days we soak about two cups of dried beans before we go to bed. The next evening when we want to make dinner we bring them to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender. I season them with some salt and pepper, chili powder, and cumin. We then use the beans in various recipes, including but not limited to, tacos.

Basic Tacos
To the left is our first taco attempt. It is pretty basic. Each taco has some beans, shredded lettuce, grated carrots, and about a tablespoon of feta cheese. It's not really feta, it's a salty kind of goat cheese that they make here on the farm. But I think feta would be a good approximation. Obviously we used corn tortillas.

I didn't take a picture of it but I think my favorite is when we saute 1 or 2 mild green peppers and then add one cup of beans and two eggs. We use corn tortillas.

Post Punk Kitchen Lettuce Wraps
This next one isn't really a taco, more of a wrap. But I think the essence is the same. The recipe is from Post Punk Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking websites. The original recipe is titled Portland Porche Lettuce Wraps. It is a bean and nectarine filling wrapped in lettuce and topped with edamame pesto. I also liked it because I think there description of Portland, OR was pretty funny. It was a good mix of recognizing the really awesome things about Portland, while still recognizing that people can be kind of pretentious about it. I think the PPK recipe would be delicious, but I made some substitutions based on what I had. I used sugar snap peas instead of edamame, and I didn't shell them. I also used sugar snap peas instead of asparagus. And, of course, kidney beans. I thought it turned out really well. The dish was particularly visually appealing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sweet Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Usually you make fried green tomatoes in the fall when some of the tomatoes don't turn green before the first frost. We transplanted a bunch of tomatoes late, so they already had little baby green tomatoes on them. We had to pick the green tomatoes so that the plant would put energy into establishing its roots and putting out a full crop of tomatoes later. It seemed like a waste to just compost all of those baby tomatoes... so obviously we decided to fry them. I can't quite remember why we decided to make them sweet, maybe because we had already had dinner?

This was an experiment, and I am not sure I would actually repeat it. The tomatoes were tasty, but they were tasty in the way that all fried foods are tasty. I don't know that they really added any tomato-y-ness to the final project. But should you find yourself which a bunch of tiny green tomatoes that you simply can't throw away, this is probably as good of a use as any.
Fried Green Tomatoes - before they were fried

Sweet Fried Green Tomatoes
Lots of small green tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
1/2 cup corn meal
1/4 sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 egg beaten
1/4 milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Vegetable Oil

Mix cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl mix egg, milk, and vanilla. Heat oil to medium high. Dip tomatoes in egg mixture and then corn mixture. Place tomatoes halves in oil. Flip after about 30 seconds, or when the first side is suitably brown. Cook until the second side is suitably brown. I think they would have been extra good over vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Savory Carrot Pancakes

We have been harvesting carrots on the farm. As you can see, in addition to the usual orange, they come in several beautiful colors. It has been really fun trying to wiggle them from their homes in the dirt. 

Carrot Porn
The carrots were not thinned very well, and have grown into some, rather "unusual" shapes. These shapes have inspired Shaun has to go into carrot porn... Not really, this is the only sexual carrot pictures that has been taken (cross my heart)

If pictures of carrots that vaguely resemble human body parts are not what gets you off (and I kind of hope they don't) carrot pancakes are probably a better idea if you .

Carrot Pancakes

3 large carrots, grated
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 tbsp dried italian seasoning

Mix all ingredients and fry 1/4 cup portions in 1 tbsp vegetable oil for a couple of minutes on each sude. This recipe made about 6 pancakes, which ended up being two good sized servings. The carrot pancakes were crispy and slightly sweet. We had this dish for lunch with some watermelon slices and boiled potatoes tossed with a little bit of butter.