Sunday, May 31, 2015

Black Beans with Everything

Time is short. Food is delicious. What to do? A simple pot of home-cooked beans can form a delectable base for every meal from breakfast to dinner and back again. And once you make the basics, your fridge is stocked for the week, or even an impromptu dinner party.


For the black beans:
1 1/2 cups dried black beans
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf

For the rest:
1 1/2 cups volcano rice or other brown rice
Pepper jack cheese, grated or thinly sliced
Handful or two cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
Handful or two fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 avocados, diced as needed just before serving
Good quality tortillas
Olive oil
Any or all of the following:
1 clove of garlic, smashed
2 small or 1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into thirds and then lengthwise into sticks
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into strips
1 shallot or red spring onion, halved and sliced into half rings
Several handfuls spinach or baby kale
Pastured eggs
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Lime wedges

Rinse the black beans. Place in a pot, cover with 1-2 inches of water, throw in 3 cloves of garlic and the bayleaf, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 45-60 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Remove from the heat, salt to taste, and set aside.

Cook rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, sauté the veggies: Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic, stir for a minute, then add the zucchini and cook until golden here and there. Add the peppers and continue cooking until soft, covering if the pan starts to dry out. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot. And/or, heat a pan, drizzle with olive oil, sauté onion or shallot until softened, and then toss in some greens and cook until tender.

Toss together the tomato and cilantro. Scramble a few eggs if you're headed for breakfast burritos. At the last minute, dice the avocado.

Serve as a bowl: Rice, a sprinkling of pepper jack, beans, and then veggies, avocado, tomatoes mixed with cilantro, avocado, whatever else. Or serve ingredients separately and hand guests tortillas to make fajitas with whatever they would like. Or arrange your rice and beans alongside egg, veggies, cilantro, and a dollop of yogurt for a divine breakfast burrito. The possibilities are infinite. Or at least varied enough for a week of easy eating.