Beans beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat......

I couldn't help myself, I had to reference, well, gas.... This is so un PC, and has nothing to do with jewelry, but neither do any of the recipes we post.  So lets just have some fun, shall we?! As I head into the next decade of my life, which recently included a colonoscopy (ahem....), I was made aware that I need to add more fiber into my diet. I'm guessing as the baby boomers all boom into the same decade I am entering, they too will need more fiber.  And as I have come to learn, adding fiber into my cooking repertoire doesn't have to be a gassy nightmare full of tasteless cardboard.

I've been learning how to make all kinds of bean and grain dishes as part of this new experimentation, so I thought I'd share some with you.  For starters, here is the simplest bean dish imaginable: Refried beans, the big secret is they don't have to be fried at all, just a little sauteed.


The beans can come in a can, which makes this quick and easy, or you can start with dry beans and soak them, which will take some planning.   They can be approached from a totally vegan perspective or you can cook the beans with pork which adds a lot of flavor but also animal fat.  There are many ways to skin this cat bean!

Easiest version #1

1- 25oz can of beans (I like Westbrae Natural organic pinto, or black beans) 1- medium onion (red, white, yellow or a combo), chopped chunky 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped chunky 1- serrano green chilli pepper, sliced thickly (with or without seeds per personal preference) olive oil to coat the pan (not a shallow pan or your beans will come spilling out) Salt & pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until really fragrant, onions are soft and very translucent, and garlic is turning color (but not burning!).  Add in the sliced serranos. Pour in the canned beans with their liquid (I don't wash, strain or anything), stir to combine, and let simmer for a couple minutes. If you cook on medium this should take about 10-15 minutes from start to finish.  Turn the heat off after you've tasted, corrected with salt & pepper, tasted again and feel happiness will soon be entering your tummy.  Let this cool down a bit before putting into a food processor and pureeing until the desired consistency. If you want the beans to have an extra kick, you can leave the serrano pepper in while pureeing, or remove for just a hint of spice.

We eat this as a side with tortilla chips, rolled up in wraps (like a burrito), spread over tortilla chips with cheese, avocado, salsa and jalapenos (nachos), or with a side of barley (lots O'fiber!!) as a main dish.

If you decide to go the dry bean soaking route it is just as easy to make, you just have to plan ahead.  In a bowl large enough to accommodate the beans once they swell:

Easy Version #2

1 cup dried beans 1 thumb sized piece of Pacific Kombu seaweed (which does something magical to aid digestion and eliminate gas) 3 cups of water

Soak over night, strain and rinse the beans in fresh water in the morning.  You can cook the beans in a pot of unsalted water for an hour or so until tender OR put them in a slow cooker set on low and 5-7 hours later depending on how mushy you want them, they will be ready to saute and puree into a delicious and nutritious meal.

My next fiber friendly recipe installment will include how to cook these re-fried beans with roasted pork shoulder...yum! Happy eating!