Sunday, February 22, 2009

Texas Caviar

Lately everything we've been eating is either something that we've already posted or straight from someone else's blog. Therefore, I'm going back to Christmas and posting one of our salads.

This is probably my husband's favorite recipe. When I had surgery a few years ago, I made a double batch of this and he ate it for lunch and dinner for a full week. Amazingly, he still likes it!

It is such an easy item to make, we often take it to get-togethers and everyone always seems to like it. This year I asked my family if they could only pick one recipe from past holidays, which would it be and most picked Texas Caviar.

Kay, just to be different, doesn't like it. Lucky for her, there is usually a large variety of foods when we have this so she can completely avoid it. This year for Christmas, she made it by herself while I was on the phone making our final holiday plans.

Texas Caviar

1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn (white shoe peg is really good)

1 small jar chopped pimento

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup green pepper, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 cup oil

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons sugar

Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Kay: She is asleep on the couch right now. She is battling terrible growing pains today so no comment from her.

Mom (Dana): Bill eats this with a fork but it is also really good on corn chips or wrapped in a tortilla (I'll throw just about anything into a tortilla!).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Onion Rings

As you may have noticed in past posts, Kay doesn't usually like onions. That is one of her top complaints. A couple months ago I made green beans in mustard sauce with crispy shallots (I plan to post this if I can ever find the dumb magazine - it has to be in this house somewhere). I had the shallots sitting on a paper draining and Kay kept eating them. I was worried we wouldn't have any left for the green beans! Later when Bill called she said, "I like onions now"!!

I told her she would have to try onion rings the next time I made them. I made them, she tried them, and she loved them. Bill and I love them too. We could seriously pig out on these. Luckily they are not the kind of thing that I have time to make a ton of so we are forced to eat only one portion each.

I've spent forever perfecting this recipe and technique. I finally figured out how to bake them but have them taste like they were fried. I don't have exact measurements since it really depends on the amount of rings you are making. Also, they are really messy but completely worth it.

Onion Rings

Onions, cut into thick rings
Bowl one - flour
Bowl two - one egg with about 2 cups milk
Bowl three - 2 cup wheat germ mixed with basil and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dip all the rings into bowl one, then bowl two, then bowl three. Place them on a paper towel on the counter.

Cover a baking sheet with the oil. Place it in the oven for 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Immediately place the rings on the pan and return it to the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Flip the rings once about half way through.

If desired, lightly salt upon removing from the oven.

Kay: I never thought I liked onions but these really make me like onions more. I like how they are crunchy.

Dana: I do this same thing, minus the flour step, for eggplant Parmesan.

Monday, February 2, 2009


We've always eaten a lot of beans but, unless they are going in soup, I usually use canned. My reasoning for this was that we like to eat a variety of beans and so the cans are more convenient. Like everyone else though, I've been trying to cut back on my expenses and so I decided to try dried beans again. I measured this week and a one pound bag of black beans gave me the equivalent of 4 cans but cost the same as only 1 1/2 cans. The extra bonus was that we now remember that we actually prefer the taste of beans that we cook ourselves!

The way that I combated my own argument that we need a wide variety of beans on hand at all times was to go through my recipes. For the past month, every week I've picked one kind of bean. I then found 4-5 meals or snacks using that bean. For example, last week I made chickpeas. We had patties, falafel, chickpea salad, and roasted chickpeas. I also planned to make a pasta and rice dish with chickpeas but we ran out! There is such a variety of things you can do with beans, you don't have to worry about feeling like you are eating the same thing every night. Not once did Bill or Kay say "Chickpeas again?!".

My other argument was always the time involved which is really ridiculous because, seriously, I'm not that busy! It's almost no hands-on work. Here's what I do:

Soak one pound beans in a large bowl with about 6 -8 cups of water. You need a large bowl. It is amazing how much they swell. Leave on the counter overnight.

When you wake up, drain the beans. Place the beans in a stock pot with 6-8 cups fresh water and one strip of kombu* or 2 bay leaves. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer one hour. Test for doneness. You should be able to easily crush it with the back of the spoon but you don't want them to be mushy because you'll more than likely be cooking them again in whatever recipe you choose. Drain the beans, remove the kombu or bay leaves, and leave to cool. Once cool, place in a large ziploc in the refrigerator.
(Here's what a smashed bean looks like.)

You can also freeze them. I've done this in the past with good luck. Lately I haven't had any left over to freeze.

I don't salt my beans. I'd rather add salt if needed, when I'm adding them to a recipe. If you insist on salting the beans while cooking, don't add it until the last 20 minutes or so. But really, don't add salt - it isn't good for you!

*Kombu is supposed to make the beans easier to digest. It also seems to help them cook up more evenly. I ordered a ton of it through but I've also seen it at our health food store.

Kay: Kidney and garbanzo beans are my favorites. I like kidney beans whole in recipes but I like garbanzo's mashed up like in chickpea patties.

Mom (Dana): Really - it only takes one hour in the morning. You can eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, make the bed, watch tv, read a book, etc. Who doesn't have an hour in the morning on a weekend? You could even go back to bed if you really needed too. Just remember to put your timer nearby!