Tag Archives: Beans

spicy green bean stir-fry, or cook your veggies lighting-fast

How did summer go by so quickly? It’s as if I blinked and if was gone. And I’m ready for fall, not just yet, despite the fact that fall is my favorite season. Perhaps it’s because this summer, especially August were such busy months at work, that I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the usual lull of the month. Or maybe it’s because this has been one of the most enjoyable summers I can recall, with lots of new and exciting projects, including this one.
green beans and peppers sauteed in spicy sauce

But I suppose, everything has an upside, including summer coming to a close. Like my last trip to the green market last week rendered me positively giddy: fresh and ripe tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, Swiss chard, green beans among others. Since I haven’t had green beans in ages, I had to grab a small bag, but not before filling my bags to the brim with various produce. And so like this, I ambled home, beaming from my wonderful finds.

A few days had passed and the green beans were still peering at me from the crisper. I would grab a few each time I went to look for something in the fridge, wash them, and then eat them raw, reveling in their crisp flavors. But I wanted to cook them, if only a little bit, so that their vibrant green color stood out more. And yet the recipes I found didn’t really get me all that excited. Steaming the beans and drizzling lemon juice over them seemed very predictable, and even though that has always been my preferred way to eat these little green guys, I wanted to do something more exciting.

green beans and peppers sauteed in spicy sauce

And so I figured, why not give it a slight Asian twist, add a bit of ginger, some spicy sauce, slice a pepper into the mix and just sauté ever-so-lightly? And that is exactly what I did, spending perhaps not twenty minutes in the kitchen. Making a meal in such a short time feels almost like cheating. Glorious, time-saving cheating.

toasted sesame oil
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove
½ lb green beans
1 green pepper
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
chili garlic sauce (available at Asian grocery stores)
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce (available at Asian grocery stores)

In a small glass combine the last three ingredients and set aside. You will need this sauce later for flavoring your vegetables.

In a walk or a non-stick skillet, heat a little bit of sesame oil, add ginger and let it flavor the oil for a minute. Reduce heat and add the garlic clove and allow it to flavor the oil, but not brown – after a minute or two remove the garlic clove and turn up the heat again. Add the green beans and the garlic and sauté, stirring quickly – you want the vegetables to be lightly coated in oil, not swimming in it, so be sure not to add too much oil in the beginning. Stir the vegetables for a couple of minutes until you see their color pop, then quickly add the spicy sauce mix and stir it around. Give it another minute and take off the heat, emptying your stir-fry in a bowl. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and enjoy.

Note: if making this dish with tofu, be sure to add the tofu prior to adding the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. As a garnish, cilantro would have really enhanced this meal, but we didn’t have any, so I had to make do with what we had.

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Beans or no Beans: Chili and Such

If one is going to talk about Chile peppers, it’s probably within the realm of good taste to talk about Chili.

Now I spent a great deal of my life believing that Chili was a stew of ground beef, tomato broth and beans. This is most assuredly due to the fact that I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, home of things most certainly not chili or chile related. Rolling Rock Beer? Yes! Primanti Brothers? Absolutely. Chile peppers? Eh, not so much.

But it could have been worse I suppose, where I could have grown up thinking that chili consists of beans, tomato sauce, and cinnamon over pasta.

That’d be Cincinnati chili by the way.

Chili con carne is almost assuredly a Texas creation, which I’ll give them full credit for. It’s not a Mexican dish as far as I’ve been able to discover. The basis of red chili comes down to meat, salt and dried chiles combined into a stew. It was a way to stretch meat for several days.

The question for me is whether pinto beans are part of the mix. Beans are a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine, but there are folks who state unequivocally that beans are not part of the chili experience. From the International Chili Society’s Judging Criteria:

1. Traditional Red Chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats,cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.

2. Chili Verde is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with green chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.

I don’t know which is more amazing; the fact that the International Chili Society has such an aversion to beans, or the fact that there’s an International Chili Society.

When you search for recipes on the web, it’s apparent that beans are an integral part of the Chili experience for many, many people.

I still am the belief that one can put beans into their chili, but I have come to understand that chile peppers should also be part of the mix. I’m a quick learner that way.

Technorati Tags: Food and Drink, Chili, Chile Peppers, beans

Shrimp and Black Bean Lettuce Wrap

Shrimp and Black Bean Lettuce Wrap

Perhaps it was a bad idea to choose a Lettuce Wrap as my first lettuce recipe. atfer all, in wraps, Lettuce is more of a delivery system rather than a key flavor factor. But this came out better than I expected and tasted quite good.

The initial recipe I based this recipe off of called for butter lettuce, but butter lettuce is a thin and flimsy leaf. You should pick a firmer lettuce (with decent length) for a better result.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup red onions, diced
  • 1 tsp chili pepper
  • 1/2 tsp powder ginger
  • 1 lb shrimp, shelled and cleaned
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Lettuce leafs, chilled

Place a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablepsoons of oil, and bring up to heat. Add onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions just start to turn translucent. You’ll want to have a little bit of texture in your onions.

At the same time, you will want to heat another skillet over medium heat, adding the oil, chili pepper and ginger. Once oil is up to temperature, add the shrimp and allow to cook. Saute until the shrimp is cooked.

Add 1/3rd of the black beans to your onions. Mix well, and mash beans with a spatula. Add the remaining beans, scallions and cilantro. Combine with cooked shrimp. Spoon into lettuce leaves and serve.

Serves 4

In one medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add Chili pepper and ginger, and

Frijoles Negros Maneados

This recipe makes a great side dish, especially if the main course is along the lines of carne asada.

This recipe also proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that pork goes well with beans…ahh..ummm.. Okay, that’s hardly breaking news. It sounded more profound in my head than it did on the computer screen.

Heed my warning tho…this is a hot dish. It goes remarkably well with beer as a beverage choice. Okay, not so much of a warning as it is a tasty recommendation.

  • 2 tablespoons of shortening (or lard if it’s on hand)
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 8 oz. ground chorizo
  • 7 oz chipotle peppers
  • 4 cups black beans (2 14 oz. cans)
  • 1 Tablespoon corn meal
  • grated jack cheese (to top)

If your peppers are dried out, rehydrate them in water for 30 minutes.

Melt the shortening in a skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet if you have one handy). Add the onions and fry until nearly translucent. Salt.

Add the chorizo, and fry until brown. Add the peppers and beans, and mix in the corn meal to thicken the sauce. Simmer over medium heat fro 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Serve with grated cheese and chopped scallions

Serves 6

Full of Beans

I haven’t yet written about Beans in the ‘educational’ sense. With the recent Is My Blog Burning featuring the legume, I’d figured now would be the best time to provide context on what makes a bean a bean.

The first thing one has to realize when it comes to beans is that they come in two basic camps…old world beans and new world beans. Bean originally meant the seed of the fava bean (old world), but was later broadened to include members of the genus Phaseolus (new world) such as the common bean or haricot and the runner bean and the related genus Vigna. This would include soybeans, peas and lentils, but for the sake of this post, we’ll discuss those legumes in later posts (or in the case of lentils, we’ll simply refer to a previous post…’cause we’re cool like that).

Fava Beans are old world. I think that’s pretty clear. If you’re eating horse beans, broad beans, or field beans, these to are also Fava Beans. So much for variety in European Beans.

But here’s the big secret when it comes to beans…pinto, kidney, navy, black turtle bean, snap beans, French, green, wax (yellow pods), pole and runner (climbing) beans??? All the same type of bean.

I bet you didn’t see that one coming did you?

It’s true.. they’re all Phaseolus vulgaris. They’re simply harvested at different times and dried or canned at seperate times during their development. It is also true that these beans exist in many forms and colors. They are grown as dry beans or as green beans.

Then there’s the good ol’ Lima bean…also known as Phaseolus lunatus. Now I could talk about other beans out there, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Why? Because it’s the oldest domesticated plant found in the western Hemisphere. It’s suggested that it was developed in what is now Guatemala, and if we’re to believe that from domesticated food comes civilization, then the lima bean is responsible for the birth of societies in the Western Hemisphere…way back around 7000 BC.

So yeah, lima beans may be the bane of youths world wide. Yes, it make taste horrible when cooked from the Frozen Green Giant packages. But it helped create entire cultures.

It still won’t help me get over my aversion to them tho’.

IMBB 11.0: Beans: Huevos Motuleños

Talk about coincidence. This months topic for Is My Blog Burning happens to be beans, hosted by Cathy of My Little Kitchen…which also happens to be the ingredient I’m researching at the moment (for those new to my site, I generally focus on one ingredient for a series of recipes…I also, seperately, focus on a cuisine as well, but I digress).

So yes, this fit into my plans nicely, but the problem was finding a recipe that could be interesting enough to publish. Let’s face it, beans aren’t one of the more exciting foods out there.

To combat that, I decided to head to Mexico in order to find a recipe that interests me enough. I found it in one based off of a Rick Bayless recipe, found in his book Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. Called Motul-Style Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Black Beans, you can find this recipe throghout the Yucatan Peninsula.


  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 2 habenero peppers, sliced in half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

The Rest:

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 6 oz. ham, sliced into strips
  • 1 1/3 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (feta cheese or other salted farmers cheese can do in a pinch
  • 6 eggs

Heat your broiler to 500 degrees. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches from the broiler. Allow the tomatoes to become blistered and blackened, turning over once while cooking. This should take about 12 minutes, 6 minutes for each side of the tomato.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel the tomatoes and place in a blender. Puree.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions. Cook until a golden brown and slightly darkened on some of the onion slices. Add tomatoes and habaneros. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with the salt and remove the peppers…I can’t emphasize how important it is to remove the peppers.

Keep sauce over low heat as you cook the rest of the meal.

Using a large skillet, heat up 1/2 cup of corn oil. Fry tortillas until crisp an you have what is essentially a tostada. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a small pan, warm the black beans over low heat. In a seperate pan, heat up strips of ham until browned. Add the peas and cook.

Using the large skillet that you used for the tostadas, fry your eggs. Cook the eggs long enough to solidify the whites, but the yolks remain somewhat runny.

Place the tostada on a plate and spoon a bit of beans on to the corn tortilla. Top with an egg, ensuring the yolks do not run. Drizzle the top of the eggs with the tomato-habanero sauce. Sprinkly the plate with ham, peas and cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Yankee Chili

yankee chiliI am still on this bean kick, although I have moved from the old world beans (fava) to the new world beans (almost every other kind of bean save soy). This means I can finally get to use black beans and kidney beans in the recipes of choice.

The first thing that came to my lower-middle-class-background mind when thinking of beans was chili.

That sound you just heard was that of Texans shuddering in disgust.

You see, according to Texans, ‘authentic’ chili isn’t made with beans…or tomatoes or onions. If you put beans in your chili, not only are you not Texan, your darn near that of being a heathen. I hope you can sleep with that on your conscious. I know I can. Since I discoved several recipes claiming to be ‘authentic‘ chili, it’s hard for me to feel too guilty about blaspheming a culinary tradition. But rather than pissing off any more texans, I figured it’s best to continue the tradition of calling this “Yankee Chili”. The last thing we want is more pissed off Texans. The last Texan we pissed off ended up invading Iraq.

Yankee chili is really more of a stew than that of a chili. This generally means you can get away with putting almost anything into it. If it’s spicy, has a tomato base and has some sort of protein source (meat or bean) you’re good to go. You can use chicken, shrimp, or other seafood products in your chili, but I wouldn’t brag about it. Others may say it’s not ‘authentic’ enough.

Adapt this recipe any way you see fit.

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 3 jalepeno peppers, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. ground Chorizo
  • 1/2 lb. beef stew meat, diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 bottle mexican beer of your choice
  • 1 14 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 14 oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons ground corn meal

Heat the olive oil in the stock pot. Saute the onions and jalepeno peppers until onions are nearly translucent. Add the garlic, chorizo and diced beef. Allow beef to brown in pan (approx . 10 minutes).

Add the tomotoes, beef stock and beer to the pot. Bring to a boil and add beans and spices. Boil for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium low, bringing the chili down to a simmer (185 degrees F). Mix in Corn meal and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.

On a 1-5 scale of spiciness, this chili ends up a 3 to 3 1/2.

serves 8