Monday, August 29, 2011

Vegan Salad

Usually, I have a few things to say about a recipe. All I can say here is, "Make it. Make it now." It's simply delicious...

Vegan Refried Beans (THE Refried Beans)

Do you know how many years I've been looking for THE refried beans? I've tried them on the stove, in the crockpot, with bacon or garlic or cumin, or something to make my kids not say, "I just want the red lady beans."

So, I could hardly contain myself when my brother-in-law and his wife made these delicious vegan refried beans. My kids love these, and I learned this week that they'll eat more if I don't mash them.

These beans plus Sour Cream Enchiladas makes a meal where no one missed the meat.

El Cucui's Awesome Refried Beans
Christian and Sarah Schumann-Curtis

1 pound dry beans (pinto or black) or 4 14-15oz cans of cooks beans makes this dish so much easier)
1/2 cup oil we used canola, Christian and Sarah use olive
6-7 garlic cloves
1 T water
1/2 c veggie broth we use chicken broth
1 t salt
1 t coriander (heaping)
1 t cumin (heaping)
1-2 T lemon or lime juice
1 tomato I used 1 can of diced tomatoes and drain them

If using dry beans, rinse beans and soak overnight. Rinse again and with fresh beans, bring to boil, then simmer until beans are soft, even falling apart (about 1 hour).

If using cooked beans, open cans, drain, and rinse.

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel garlic and put cloves in the oil in a cast-iron skillet. Place in oven while getting the rest of the ingredients together.

Put beans, tomato, cumin, coriander, broth, and salt in a large pot. Then, add garlic and oil (I take the garlic out of the oil and mince it before adding it to the beans) to the pot. Bring to a boil. (I then simmer the beans, with the pot lid on, while I make the rest of dinner. Sometimes, I mash with a fork a bit, but my family seems to like this recipe better with whole beans.) When you're ready to serve, stir in the citrus juice (I like lemon for pinto, lime for black beans) and add a chopped banana for a Cuban flair.

THE Chocolate Cake

Now, if only I could find THE chocolate frosting!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/4 c boiling water
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 t instant coffee
10 T (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 c sour cream, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, then dust with cocoa powder and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the boiling water, chocolate, cocoa powder, and instant coffee together until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until incorporated.

Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, and remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

Give batter a final stir with rubber spatula to make sure it si thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 15-20 minutes, rotating and switching the pans halfway through baking.

Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of cakes, then flip out onto wire racks. Peel off parchment paper, flip cakes right side up, and let cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.

Pecorino and Bean Salad

I got this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis' most recent cookbook and I've enjoyed it all summer as a vegetarian main dish.

12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)--I did 1 pound green beans
3 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 t finely chopped rosemary leaves (or oregano for the Greek version)
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or Garbanzo beans)
8 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (1 cup)(or feta cheese)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
+2-3 T fresh lemon juice

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes, or until vibrant green but still crisp. Drain and set aside.

In a small nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not brown, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rosemary and let cool slightly.

Combine the green beans, cannellini beans, Pecorino Romano cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a serving bowl. Add the garlic-rosemary oil and toss well, until all the ingredients are coated.

After making this a couple times, I switched it up a little making a pseudo-Greek style version of this dish by doing the following: switch rosemary for oregano, cannellini beans with garbanzo beans, Pecorino Romano with feta cheese, and I added about 2-3 T of fresh lemon juice.