Tag Archives: family dinners

Getting Better All the Time: Black Bean Burgers with Black Quinoa…Baked!

20 Feb

I am always tinkering with my black bean burger recipes – at under a dollar per pound of dried beans that end up being at least 1.5 quarts once soaked – almost everyone can afford to play with beans in the kitchen. My six-year-old likes them most of the time (we’ve had a few failures of seasoning and of texture along the way, before developing and settling on this recipe) and they freeze well, so I can throw them from the freezer into my lunch bag and heat them up satisfactorily in the office microwave.

Getting beans ready for the mashing

Getting beans ready for the mashing

I generally start soaking my beans by rinsing and picking through. I put them overnight in a big bowl covered by at least 3″ of water. In the morning, I drain and rinse, then put them in the slow cooker (crockpot)with a teaspoon or so of salt, switch them on low, cover and go to work. By the evening they are usually done; there is a “beany” smell that tells you it’s time to check for tenderness. Good cooks engage all their senses to the task; the more you cook, the more likely you are to raise your nose from the computer suddenly, like a mystic having a vision, and say solemnly: “The beans are ready” or “The rice is done.” The less you cook, the more likely you are to look up from the computer with streaming eyes and cough “Oh s**t, dinner is burning!” Continue reading

Slow Cooker Caribbean-Style: Chipotle-Lime Jerk Chicken

26 Jul

I acquired a slow cooker with credit card points about a year ago. In my tiny space, it is rather a big deal to bring in a bulky piece of equipment that you have no place for. So you’d think I’d make it work for its slice of my kitchen shelves.

Vinny in the kitchen (this may be him making the ceviche and not the chicken, but nevermind)

Vinny in the kitchen (this may be him making the ceviche and not the chicken, but nevermind)

But perversely enough, no. I’ve been intimidated by it! I love it for softening beans, but have hesitated to truly play with it in that way we hesitate when confronted with a new way to do habitual things. You wouldn’t think, since I do so much cooking and experimenting, but surprise…I too can be loathe to embrace a new (for me) technology when my customary ways have been working out so well!

Remember to put veggies on the bottom, then meat, then sauce

Remember to put veggies on the bottom, then meat, then sauce

So I was very glad to be tossed right into slow cooking by my friends Vinny and Carolyn Macchirole with whom we stayed for several days in Long Island’s North Fork recently (Leandro happily at sweaty, buggy, scrape-y, muddy, swimmy Peconic Dunes summer camp from 9-5, everyday for a week, oh heaven for both of us). We’d been planning a Caribbean Night cooking extravaganza (more recipes to come) and Vinny was in charge of the jerk chicken. He came up with a recipe for slow-cooked chipotle-lime chicken that he felt could be easily altered to our purposes. And he was right,

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