Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dad's Day Picnic featuring "Chipotle Black Bean Dip"

So, my dad is a bit of a foodie. Not just in that he loves food, loves to read about food, has a garden, etc etc. He really likes being adventurous with food, really adventurous. I remember a story he told me a few years back about how he was driving down the street once and the car in front of him hit a pheasant. The car didn't stop, but my father did, he pulled over, he assessed the pheasant, he thought it didn't look to bad, so he picked it up, he put it in his car, he took it home. And HE ATE IT!

Can you f'in believe that. I recall him saying something like "it wasn't too bad, a bitch to pluck". I think I stopped listening at the part of the story when he said he picked it up. At that point, I think Ihad started to see spots. I give him credit though, I'm a pretty intense foodie, but he's got me beat, by a long shot. So when it came to Father's Day we decided to have a picnic, my little sister and I creating various culinary treats. See our spread below.

One of the things that I made to go with that there crudites was Chipotle Black Bean Dip from the book Vegetable Planet, this is the same book that I got the Rockin' Guacamole and Jamaican Black Bean Burger recipes from. All have been fantastic.I've made this dip twice, and the second time I added a bit of water to loosen it up as it is very very thick, if you like it thick keep the recipe as it appears below, if you like it a little more lose add some water until you get the consistency you like. I will say that I also doubled the number of chili peppers that it called for - cuz I dad likes his shit spicy.
Chipotle Black Bean Dip | Vegetable Planet

1 (15oz) can black beans
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 C chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
1 pinch cayenne
2 tbsp lime juice (I used the lime zest as well)
salt and pepper to tasate
1/4 hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted (optional)

1. Pour black beans into a strainer and run cool water over them.

2. In a food processor,combine the cilantro with the onion and garlic and chipotles and run the machine in short spurts to mince the vegetables. Add the black beans, cayenne, lime juice and salt and pepper and puree until smooth. (This is the point where I added a little water to make the dip less thick)

3. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds if you like.

Rating  = Damn Good

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rockin Guacamole | Veggie Planet

I just can't seem to get enough eggplant right now. I actually have four plants growing big and strong in the garden right now. I can only hope that they produce enough fruit to make this recipe over and over and over again. Actually, hopefully I'LL be able to use jalapeno, bell pepper, red pepper and onion from the garden in this recipe too. The only thing in this recipe that came from the garden was the cilantro, but come August I'll pretty much be able to make this from the back yard - will just need to get the avocado from the market. 

This recipe comes from the cookbook Veggie Planet, the author owns a restaurant of the same name in Harvard Square in Cambridge. The original recipe calls for cooking the eggplant for 30 minutes, I found that I needed to cook the eggplant for almost an hour to get it fully cooked, I'm sure it depends on the size of the eggplant, but just know that you may need to cook it longer.
The original recipe also didn't call for jalapeno, I had one on hand, so I added about a half a jalapeno to the recipe.

Rockin Guacamole | Veggie Planet
1 lb eggplant
1 ripe avocado peeled and pitted
1 red bell pepper seeded and minced
1 green bell pepper seeded and minced
1/2 jalapeno seeded and minced
1 pinch cayenne
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup red onion minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425, cut eggplant in half and lay on baking sheet cut side up. Bake for 30 minutes (or longer) then allow to cool.

In a bowl combine the avocado, bell peppers, cayenne, garlic, red onion, cilantro, olive oil and juice.

Spoon the eggplant from its skin and add to the mixture. Mash with a fork or a potato masher. Add salt and pepper to taste, chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Mmm Mmm Mmm

Rating = So Damn Good

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jamaican Black Bean Burgers | Cook-Outs, Moose Sightings, was a good weekend

Ok. So I'm a little tardy on posting the events of our Memorial Day Weekend in VT. I'm also sucking bad at posting anything in general even though I've been cooking up a veritable storm lately.

Let's just say that you know it's going to be an exciting weekend when it starts off this way:
For 10 years we have been travelling to VT. The streets along the way to out house are littered with signs screaming "Moose Next 10 Miles" and every time we drive by the signs I exclaim, "bullshit"; as we have never seen a moose on the road, ever. We'll I can no longer call bullshit on the moose sign because this baby moose caused a whole lot of ruckus on the road until it figured out it should be back in the woods. Our friends were with us for this trip and we felt we had to tell them that they were very special because this shit doesn't happen everyday.

The weekend going forward was awesome, but essentially non eventful unless you count the rousing game of boys versus girls trivial pursuit where dwarf tossing was an actual answer to a question that caused us all to roll on the floor laughing, that was until the Monday morning when we decided to take out friends on a short hike to the watering hole and waterfall not far from our house. The four of us were enjoying the watering hole just talking amongst ourselves about what a great weekend it had been, and how great the scenery was in Vermont. Interesting because your "scenery" will inevitably change when an older couple joins you at the watering hole, and this older couple are nudist and proceed to take off all their clothes and sit spread eagle on the rocks in front of the waterfall. I must say, I stared, I laughed and I apologized to our friends with a simple shrug of the shoulders saying, "that's Vermont for you."

So, two firsts of the weekend, the moose and the nudists, "that's Vermont for you."

Ok, ok ok. The recipe, so so so good, but only if you like ginger, and allspice because you really do taste it in every bite. I served these topped with spicy mango salsa and they were really really good. The recipe made enough for us to have two each and freeze three for future use, although I probably made them thinner than most people would so you may only get 4 patties out of the recipe if you make them big.

Jamaican Burgers | Vegetable Planet
4 slices stale or toasted sandwich bread (I used bread crumbs)
2 tbs canola or corn oil
1 1/2 C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 (15oz) can black beans drained and rinsed
1 1/2 C cooked rice (I used brown rice)
1 jalapeno seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Break the bread into pieces and grind them in a food processor. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and saute them, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until they soften. Add the garlic, ginger, allspice and nutmeg, and saute for exactly 2 minutes more. Put the mixture into a food processor. Add the black beans, rice, and chopped chili peppers. Running the machine into quick spurts, chop the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

3. Add the salt, pepper and bread crumbs to the bowl, and stir well with a large spoon. If the mixture is too wet to form patties add more bread crumbs. 

4. Form into 4 patties, in a large non stick skillet cook over medium heat for four minutes each side.

Rating = So Damn Good