Monday, May 18, 2009

Black Bean Watchamahoosit

I always know it's summer (or close enough) when I start getting a craving for BBW. I'm sorry, but I don't have the perfect name for it, because if I call it Black Bean Salsa, you'll probably limit yourself to thinking it's just a party dip. However, BBW is much more than that! It lasts for days in the fridge, and although you can eat it on chips, you can also eat in a pita for lunch or even serve it over scrambled eggs. Warmed up and mixed with some leftover chicken or turkey, it's delicious in fajitas, too. If you think it needs freshening up, squeeze another lime in or add a fresh avocado. This recipe is very versatile.

First, assemble your ingredients:
1 30-oz can of black beans, drained
1 15 oz can chic peas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 bag of frozen corn, thawed
1/2 (or less) chopped red onion
1 bunch of scallions (green onions)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 small can chopped green chilies
salt and pepper to taste
2 T whole coriander seeds
2 T whole cumin seeds
1 lemon
1 lime
1 16oz jar of your favorite Picante sauce/salsa
2 avocados (optional, but what fool wouldn't? JK)
soy beans (edamame, also optional, but don't be afraid; they have a very mild flavor, add gorgeous color, and are good for you)

By the way, for some reason, my store only carries this brand of edamame:Just so you know, I'm not all about organic stuff, but I do like me some edamame, so I suck it up and buy organic. I use the whole bag, but you could use 1/2.

First, set the corn and edamame out to thaw. You may also just run a little warm water over them to have a quicker effect. Drain the beans and garbanzo beans, too, but don't rinse them.
While those are thawing, you may chop your red onion...
and the green onion...(I only used the amount pictured and discarded the rest.)
Cilantro has stems, so you'll need to strip the leaves off before chopping...
Throw everything as you go into a large bowl. Here's how it's coming along...nice. Mr.4444 came into the kitchen at this time, and said, "Wow, what is that herb that smells so good?" (It was the cilantro, of course.)
Add the green chilis...
How's that for colorful?
As always, I wash all of my produce with Veggie Wash before preparing it. I just get grossed out by the thought of them being picked by hands that probably don't have access to a public restroom. (I'm just sayin') So, yes, I did wash the lemon and the lime before slicing them in half. I also let them sit in some hot water for a bit before that, so that when I squeezed them, the juice wouldn't stubbornly cling to the insides.
If you have any pent-up anxiety, this is a great opportunity to release it; squeeze the lemon and lime as hard as you can (into a strainer, so the seeds don't end up in the food and break someone's tooth.) Again, you'll get more juice if you warm them up a little first. (Sometimes, I microwave them for about 30 seconds.)
See this little doohickey? It's from Pampered Chef, and if you asked me, "If your house were burning down and you could only take one kitchen utensil, what would it be?" I would choose this thingy.
It's fantastic for taking tops off of strawberries and tomatoes, as well as funky spots off of any fruit or vegetable. In this case, I love it for scooping out the "pith" of the fruit. You can see it there, below, on top of the black beans; it's the meaty part of the fruit (but not the tough, chewy stuff; just the good stuff. The recipe calls for just the lemon pith, but I take it from both. Pour the lemon/lime juice into the bowl...
Add freshly-ground pepper and salt to taste. Then prepare the coriander and cumin. When I got this recipe from my friend, Julie, she said that I needed to invest in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, because already-ground spices are just a sacrilege. She's right; there is nothing like the wonderful aromas of freshly-ground seasonings, so buy them like this...And yes, this is way more than you need for this recipe, but guess what? They are the primary seasonings needed for this delicious grilled salmon recipe, so quit yer whining; you'll use it up in no time! Use this (mortar and pestle)or this (spice grinder)to grind them up.

Now, contrary to what you might think, this is not sawdust sprinkled over the BBWIt's what it looks like when you grind up all the lovely coriander and cumin over the bowl, taking time to put on your wrist brace first (it's a workout, let me tell you, but so worth it!). Then, add the Pace Picante Sauce. Oops. Just realized I used Pace Chunky Salsa. Guess what? I don't know the difference between the two, and I don't think it matters, because I've made it both ways before and survived.
Here you mix it all up. Don't worry about food mixing together; as my mom says, "If you think that's gross, you should see it when it's in your stomach!"
How's that for beautiful? I usually like to leave the avocado out until just before serving, though I have also put it in right away; it's not going to hurt anything.

BBW can look a little scary to the vegiphobe, so serve it in a pretty dish with a little cilantro garnish. Once you get them to try it, they'll be hooked. And if they're foolish enough to pass, you can smile and take it home, cuz you know that just means more for you!

Interested in the nutritional info for this recipe? Click here.

P.S. BTW, if you have my cookbook, this recipe can be found on page 52.
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