Saturday, August 05, 2006

vegging out

The heat has broken somewhat, but it's still not what you'd call cool. So we opted to keep the temperature of dinner minimal, both the cooking of it and the eating. It also turned out to be more or less vegetarian (I used some chicken broth making the beans, but mostly because it was in the fridge, a leftover; vegetable broth could be easily substituted).
Black Bean Salad
about 1 cup uncooked black beans
liquid to cover (I used a mixture of water, red wine, and chicken broth)
half an onion
several sprigs of Thai basil
2 cloves of garlic
a sprig of mint
2 ears of corn
assorted heirloom tomatoes, enough to make about a cup roughly chopped
half a lime
olive oil
Herb Pesto (see below)
I sorted through the beans, put them in the dutch oven with the liquid and the next 4 ingredients, and simmered them until they were tender (this took a while, because these beans were pretty old). When they were done, I discarded the onion, garlic, and herb sprigs, and set the beans aside to cool down.
I microwaved the corn--my new discovery, and I wish I remembered whom to credit, but I don't. Corn cooks perfectly in the microwave wrapped loosely in a paper towel. For 2 ears, I put the timer on 2.5 minutes, but you probably would need to experiment to find the perfect timing for your own microwave.
I cut the corn off the cobs and combined it with the beans and the tomato, annointed it with the juice of the half lime and a dose of olive oil (probably a couple of tablespoons), and the pesto.
The pesto looks depressingly khaki in the picture, probably because I used a mixture of purple and green basils. I threw it together, but this is a good approximation:
Herb Pesto
handful of green basil leaves
handful of purple basil leaves
the leaves from a goodish sprig of purslane (optional)
handful of mint leaves (I used 2 kinds--apple mint and spearmint)
5 or 6 walnut halves
about 3 tbs parmesan cheese, in small chunks
a dash of cider vinegar
olive oil
Throw the 1st 5 ingredients in the food processor and whirl it up a little; add a splash of olive oil and watch it approach chunky paste-hood. I kept adding olive oil until the texture looked right to me, probably about 3-4 tablespoons--some people would like more. At the last, I added the cheese and the vinegar (in vain hopes that it would keep the color bright--it did--bright khaki) and let it go a few more seconds. It was marvelously good, destined to be eaten on toast for breakfast the next day.
This was a hot-day meal to remember: it was vegetable-rich; I believe the beans and corn give you a complete protein; it was easy; and it was very good.


Kalyn said...

Your blog profile description could fit me perfectly. I teach fourth grade. Sorry to hear you are forbidden to use cilantro - there is just no middle ground on that flavor. This salad sounds good, but no corn for me, not South Beach approved.

bloglily said...

What a lovely recipe! The directions are very clear and this is the sort of thing that's perfect for summer. (I had no idea you could microwave corn.) I've just purchased Deborah Madison's huge vegetarian encyclopedia and noticed right away that I have no idea where to begin. It occurred to me reading your post that, of course, blogging (as you do it) is an ideal way to reach readers who suffer from cookbook fatigue. With a blog, you get depth, and you get dailyness, not to mention personality and honesty.

I'm your newest fan!