Suddenly I have things to do—not a job per se, but still many a task at hand. Irritatingly the Apartment association has decided to revamp the entrance and breezeways of all the buildings, which is lovely and kind of them, but also results in a large accumulation of dust inside my door. Guess who gets to clean that on a regular basis? Yay. I’m also trying to actually complete a short story or two for a couple of contests and whatnot, but Oy my mind doesn’t cooperate and constantly wants to change everything as I write it, blocking me from actually moving forward. I’m also going to begin contributing on a volunteer basis at the moment for a peer’s education-oriented website. If that goes somewhere, it could become a proper paid gig. Have to start working on that asap.
And then there’s my beloved blog—no matter what, I intend to keep this going as a testament to my love for food, writing, and the sheer desire to not let it dwindle like so many other pursuits. But obviously when times get a little busy, certain things have to get simpler. Dinner last night, for example. A bean and pepper stew that looks thicker than it actually was. But really quite good with some bhindi (okra) and naan for the boy.
- ½ red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp chopped basil (or dried)
- 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
- ½ can of black beans, drained and rinsed (mashed up as well, which in hindsight I ought to have done)
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- 1 ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Juice of one lime
- 2 tsp sliced jalapenos, further chopped up
- Assorted bell peppers, sliced
- 1 green onion, chopped
In a pot start with 3 tbsp olive oil and sauté the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and basil. I actually did the basil as well because my Sister-in-law recently gave us her new favorite cooking ingredient—assorted crushed herbs and spices frozen in cubes (Dorot, found at Trader Joe’s). Now G doesn’t usually like the taste of these because he can tell the difference between fresh garlic for example and preserved, but as these are frozen, they don’t have any vinegar or preservatives like those pastes do, they just have some oil and lemon juice, so overall a better choice than the garlic pastes in my opinion. I too can taste the difference, especially from the pastes. So I experimented with them this time.
Anyway, sauté the garlic, onions, mushrooms and basil until browned, and then add the beans and all the spices. Once blended, add the lime juice, jalapenos and tomatoes, mixing everything thoroughly and mashing up the beans as much as possible. What I wanted was to lose as much bean integrity as possible, but I think I would have done better to mash it up before hand. Using a spoon or spatula was hard. Anyway, add about ½ cup of water, bring to a boil and simmer. You may end up adding some more salt, or pepper etc to your liking. Make sure to check occasionally and stir, so it doesn’t get too thick—just want to cook down the tomatoes and make a nice stew. Add more water if necessary.
In a frying pan, heat a little oil and toss in the veggies o they become soft but hold onto their vibrant bright colors. Add your green onions, reserving some to garnish at the end, sprinky a little salt and pepper and toss everything together. I like it to stay a tiny bit crunchy, so when it mixes into the stew it retains its composure and isn’t lost to the world. You can fry it to your preferred consistency.
Healthiness, Simple, and Spicy (I added a bit too much chili spice this time haha).