Posts tagged beans
Sunday, March 27, 2011

kale and white bean soup

kale & white bean soup

The other day I got a call from a headhunter. She was checking-in to see what I was doing with myself, and if I was looking for work. I explained her that no, I wasn’t, and instead I was trying to make a leap to the world of food writing, recipe development, and more blogging. There was a notable and uncomfortable pause before she stiffly wished me luck. Another step away from my old life.

These days, I get a lot of questions what it’s like to be a freelancer, to take a leap from a desk job, away from something steady and predictable into the unknown, where you are the one responsible for setting your schedule and your income isn’t set in stone. Is it hard? Yes. Is it emotionally challenging? Definitely. Do I get anxious? All the time. Have I regretted making the switch? Not even for an instant.

Continue reading kale and white bean soup.

Friday, August 13, 2010

couscous, corn, and mushroom salad

couscous salad with corn and mushrooms

Last week was a bit of a whirlwind, and I’m still recovering. Darting between work and blog events and friends’ birthdays can sure be exhausting. I’m dreaming of a beach chair with an umbrella drink and hours upon hours of reading. Alas, a vacation is but a few months away, so I must comfort myself with periodic lazy weekends in Brooklyn! Brooklyn, you complete me!

salad mise

Well, dear readers, last week I got to check out the BlogHer conference in New York, and it was mere minutes away from my office – bonus! The impetus was seeing good friends in town, particularly the lovely Alice Currah, of Savory Sweet Life, who crashed at my place for the weekend and ate some of my homemade mango sorbet! I finally met Kamran, an old twitter friend (amazing what the interwebs has done for us, isn’t it?), in person. And I also got to met Ree, of the incredible Pioneer Woman, and Elise of the encyclopedic Simple Recipes, at the amazing party that Ree, Elise, and Jaden (of the spicy Steamy Kitchen) threw on the roof of the Peninsula Hotel. It was good to see some old friends there: Lisa, Deb, Marc, and Jennie. And meet some new ones whose blogs I’ve been reading for so long. Sadly, I missed saying hi to a few folks as well. Sometimes, it seems, we forget about face time, given how much time we spend online: working, playing, maintaining our lives. In person, face-to-face is so much nicer, I think. While Twitter and Facebook and blogs have been instrumental in building beautiful communities and bringing people together, there’s nothing like saying hello to them and shaking their hand, or hugging them because you feel like you’ve been reading them for so long, you’ve known them forever.

israeli whole wheat couscous button mushrooms!

Martha's Circle Blogger Soiree

On the heels of the conference, the lovely folks at Martha Stewart Circle (see the turquoise circle on the side of this site? That’s them!) threw the most beautiful party for bloggers, with a private tour of the building for their charter members. I was elated to finally meet Mark Ganem, who looks after MC members, after we exchanged a flurry of emails, as well as other folks who work for MSLO (thanks, Amie, for sheparding me through). I finally got to meet Aran, the voice behind one of my favorite blogs, http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/, and Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson of Matt Bites.

sauteeing mushrooms & onions

We were sent home with a gift bag full of Martha’s publications: Living, Everyday Food, Bride, and Whole Living, and I spent a good portion of the past Sunday curled up in a chair leafing through the complete stack. I remember getting a subscription to Martha Stewart Living at fourteen (along with Gourmet (sob!) and Bon Appetit! I devoured each new issue immediately upon its arrival. I think my parents were relieved I wasn’t reading magazines like YM or Seventeen, but by and large they were puzzled by my addiction. I clipped a whole bunch of recipes, but this one here – really caught my eye. I was contemplating cooking a Sunday supper, when I saw: Israeli couscous, fresh corn, sauteed mushrooms – sold! It sounded simple and fresh – summer embodied.

avocado

I loved the recipe, but made a few tweaks: upping the corn to three ears from two (because there’s no such thing as too much corn, don’t you agree?); and sauteing the mushrooms with the onions (because caramelized onions make everything, and I mean, everything better!); and throwing in some cilantro (because when you ask me to complete a sentence: “Corn, black beans, lime, jalapeno, and…”, I want to shout out “Cilantro!”) I realize all too well that to many folks cilantro tastes like soap, so if you’re one of those people, by all means do leave it out, but I think it works rather nicely here. Also, the recipe didn’t call for whole wheat couscous, but I wanted to try it and loved its hearty bite.

cooking the corn and the scallion whites

Perhaps the weekend following this one, I will whisk Andrew (my plus one has a name!) and myself to Prospect Park, armed with some Arnold Palmers, ripe tomatoes, olives and this salad. We might sit under a tree and read, and snack, and read some more. We might even nap. Summer is passing us by, and I don’t want to waste single moment soaking it in. It’s not quite a beach vacation, but I think it’ll do just fine.

mixing with the corn

couscous salad with corn and mushrooms

Oh Wait, there’s more!! Bonus! Lookie here, I made a wee bit video with the folks at Yahoo! Shine while at the BlogHer conference. I was egged on by Alice – she thinks I do well on camera, but I can’t quite bring myself to watch it. You be the judge!

Continue reading couscous, corn, and mushroom salad.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

roasted sweet potato salad with black beans & chili dressing

sweet potato salad

Okay, quick, when I say “potato salad” what do you think of? First associations, no cheating now. I bet you thought of summer and picnics, didn’t you?

And if you live in the Northeast, you probably thought of how summer of 2009 cheated you of the appropriate number of picnics. And now that we’re in the full swing of fall, there’s no turning back. Pumpkins and squash in the farmers market have replaced tomatoes and berries. The mornings are darker; the day lights hours – shorter. We wear layers. We carry umbrellas. We switch our closets out to winter clothing – a task that somehow always takes longer than you’d think. I have no explanation for this strange phenomenon; it would seem pretty straightforward: sweaters in, sun-dresses out. Right? And yet somehow it’s more tricky than this.

sweet potato saladsweet potato salad

And since we’re about as deep into fall as we can get (oh, yes, I know that November is all but knocking on the door) we’re pretty much done with the picnic season. While I’m sorry to just dangle the carrot in front of you, please don’t hate me because I’m going somewhere here with this. While the potato salad conjures up images of summer and cook-outs, I’d like to introduce you to my new fall staple – the sweet potato salad. This is all about the cozy and the comfortable. Think you, flannel, mulled cider and this salad. Some dim lighting and softly-playing music. You might even have a blanket nearby. There, doesn’t fall sound absolutely wonderful?

chili lime dressing

I first spied this recipe over at Mark Bittman’s New York Times Bitten blog and instantly knew it was going to become a new favorite. I’m not sure if it’s the jalapeno-lime dressing, or the roasting of onions and potatoes, which instantly gives them a more hearty, smokier flavor than if you were instead to boil the sweet potatoes. And Mark mentions that roasting gives the potatoes a tougher exterior so they keep their shape better when you mix all the ingredients (remember how smushed the regular potatoes get in a traditional potato salad?) One glance and the recipe held my attention. It was something old, yet something new. A seasonally updated twist on the known that sounded healthy, delicious and made me excited to go to the farmers market and see beautiful sweet potatoes laid out on farmers’ stands. Summer – I’d hardly thought of it.

sweet potato salad

Speaking of new and updated, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you some of the new features on Sassy Radish. That’s right – new things are abound if you poke around a bit. I’ve been joking to my friends that Sassy Radish got a face-lift, but it’s more like it got that and a few fillers to plump it up. Hey, anything to keep looking good for you, folks! So what do we have around here that might be of interest?

1. Goodbye MovableType, hello WordPress – that’s right, I made the publishing platform leap and switched teams. Lately, comment spam got to be so unwieldy in MT and I just didn’t have time to manually (yes, you read that correctly – manually) clean them out, because they were coming thousands a day. I heard from many people that WP has a terrific plug-in that catches spam way better than any other, and so I decided to take that leap. These wonderful people pulled all this off in a week. And put up with my late night emails (yes, there’s a time difference, but nonetheless).

2. Print feature – I know many of you have written and said there’s no way to print the recipe and guess what? Now you can! At the bottom of each recipe there’s a print link – and it prints with a picture – how awesome is that?

3. Updated recipe indices – the regular recipe index is still in place, but now you have a recipe index by month and a recipe index by topic/ingredient (that tag cloud you see below) – you can sort by that.

4. FAQ page – the questions are coming, but if you think there’s something that should be on it that you’d like to see, drop me an email and I’ll include your question.

5. There’s a conversions link – convert grams to ounces and back – without whipping out your calculator or trying to do math in your head (fun, but not without consequences, especially if cooking with bourbon and, um, having a taste).

6. Subscribe by email – you can now get Sassy Radish updates without having to check your RSS reader or the actual page. Content can get delivered to your inbox, which is particularly useful if your employer blocks everything but CNN, Bloomberg and the New York Times (big banks, I am looking at you).

8. My updated blogroll – it’s now pulling from my good reader and is dynamic. So when I subscribe to something new – it will reflect that as well.

9. Earlier posts – want to go back in time and see what I cooked up months prior, but wish to see the time line? At the bottom of each page, there are now links called “earlier posts”.

10. It looks like there are still a few kinks being ironed out but for now: PLEASE UPDATE YOUR RSS READER FEEDS: be it Google reader or something else.

So change, much as I like to resist it, is good. Especially change that replaces a traditional staple with a delicious updated one. This is a hearty and filling salad, but one that won’t leave you feeling sluggish or heavy. In fact, its crisp, bright, spicy notes will energize you and give you a spring in your step. And we could always use a bit more of that in the dark fall hours.

Continue reading roasted sweet potato salad with black beans & chili dressing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

turkey chili

onions instead of sour cream

Ever since I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I’ve been rather preoccupied with eliminating high-fructose corn syrup from my diet, and trying to get my hands on grass fed meat and true free range chicken. Yes, I’ll eat whatever meat is being sold in Whole Foods from time to time, but when I can, I will try to get the stuff from small family farms, and by small, I mean small.

welcome, fall!

In general though, we’ve been trying to decrease the red meat consumption – for health reasons more than anything. And as temperatures suddenly dropped last week and we all felt a fall chill, my mind turned to chili. Everyone marks fall in their own way and for me, nothing signals the change of seasons more than crisp, fall apples (preferably Cortlands) and a steaming bowl of chili. And yes, chili con carne is the traditional way to go, but I’m making a few alterations.

dried poblanos
without planning and in a hurry, canned beans will do turkey for me, turkey for you

And if anything, seeing King Corn this afternoon with KS and his younger sister made me feel a lot more vindicated for abandoning the classic oldie-but-goodie and sticking with something slightly healthier (nevermind the whole Topps debacle). For the record, the film is great and I was (for the most part) engaged and entertained. I’ve learned little new as Michael Pollan has obliged in educating me in this matter, but it did drive the point home yet again – we are what we eat and for the most part, Americans are children of the corn.

oh the goodness!

I have to confess that eating this batch of chili made me realize that I actually prefer the turkey version to its original “con carne” one. I suppose that “chili con gobble” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as “chili con carne” does, but I’ll get used to it – my palate has already.

Since we’re decreasing/limiting dairy consumption in our household, we chose to top our chili off with some chopped onions and added some hot sauce (when do we not). But I think that the most preferred way is to give your generous bowl some sour cream, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and green onions and award yourself with a heaping spoonful!

Continue reading turkey chili.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

lima beans with tomatoes and onions

butter beans with green and yellow tomatoes

Sometimes I have this elaborate story to tell you about how this or that recipe came to me. And at other times, I don’t. I have cravings I cannot quite rationalize, I then will literally dream about the dish and the next day I must make it or hell will freeze over.

KS has by now learned not to argue with my cravings. Even at times when we have other food in the fridge practically going to waste – if I get that look in my eyes, all bets are off. It’s on occasions like these that I develop what he calls “food hands”. I’d be shoving a forkful of food in my mouth and hear him say under his breath, “Foodhands!!” For the readers scratching their heads over the term, imagine, if you will, preternatural hand speed made popular in the Matrix series, but focused on food consumption as opposed to hacking your enemy to bits. Food hands seem to say, “Come near me and my food, and scary things might happen to you.” Apparently, my diminutive stature is very deceiving when it comes to feeding myself.

my favorite beans

After our SC sojourn, I’ve been craving large lima beans, the kind you soak over night and cook for over an hour the next day. The kind that when expand are as big as well-sized almonds. They’re also often called butter beans, and in my lexicon they’re called “edible bliss”. They are indeed very buttery, earthy, filling and definitely satisfying. They’re my favorite bean in the whole wide world and I could probably eat them if not every day, then very often indeed.

And that’s about all on these beans. With the abundant and sinfully good tomatoes we have in season right now, these beans are simply heavenly. And with fall creeping up on us, they’re somewhat of a good segue into the season. A little earthy and yet when eaten cold the next day (that is if you have leftovers) – a little summery. Or if you want to puree them in a food processor and serve warm, drizzled with some good olive oil, they’re heavenly on crostini.

Of course, with a dish this good – you too could develop food hands. And then your loved ones might be in danger.

Continue reading lima beans with tomatoes and onions.

Monday, February 19, 2007

tuscan white bean soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup - with toasted baguette with garlic

I was a bit saddened by this NYTimes article – couples where one person is the alpha cook and doesn’t give up control, watching his partner’s every kitchen move, and sometimes (gasp!) putting them down! This made me sad, for food, to me, is one of many ways we show that we care, extend ourselves, and bond with others. While I am extremely detail oriented and a perfectionist in the kitchen, I am also of the persuasion that I don’t need to be in control in the kitchen all the time. Quite the opposite, I find it quite refreshing to kick back and let someone else do the work in the kitchen. Provided of course, that the person cooking know what he’s doing. Luckily for me, the BF is that person, knowingly navigating the kitchen and teaching me a thing or two in the process.

Which brings me, perhaps, to a bit of a name change here. After I sang him praises and vowed to give him due credit for this entry’s meal, he decided he no longer wanted to go in the disguise of the vacuous and impersonal label of BF, and instead adopt a nom-de-plume of Konstantin Steel (the K, being my Russification of his vision, I’m sure). If you start wonder where on earth he came up with such a name, then I’ll allude to a discussion we once had of what our names would be if we were exotic film stars. His was Konstantin Steel; mine – will remain a deep, dark secret. Ha!

Konstantin Steel's talented hand

But back to all things cooking-related; this week, I’ve cooked almost nothing. Work’s been quite demanding and there was Valentine’s Day in the middle as well. I did accomplish quite a bit last week, on the kitchen front, but I’ve yet to blog about it – I am SO behind (head down in shame).

But KS, my goodness, he was a cooking superstar this week. He picked up my slack and raised it up a notch. So not only did he make me a sublime dinner of Lobel’s steak with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and roasted green beans for Valentine’s Day (I’m still faint from it), but last night, he whipped up this Tuscan White Bean soup that hit just the spot. He even soaked the beans the night before. All I did was chop the vegetables for our customized mirepoix and eat the soup. Not bad for an alpha cook! Not to mention yesterday morning when he made us delecable huevos rancheros, toasted tortillas and everything, and all I did was pour coffee and grab some forks.

the winter of our discontent - satisfied with this bowl of soup

So you see, I relinquish kitchen control quite easily, in fact, KS and I switch the alpha cook roles depending on who is cooking what and who’s specialty it is. Today, for example, I promised to make him those white chocolate, pignolia nuts, cranberry cookies he’s been asking for weeks. While I’d rather not mention repeats here, the cookies were such a hit, I’m still hearing about them two months after Christmas. This will be my alpha cook moment – but last night, I was quite happy in the beta category, playing sous-chef and staying out of the way.

In the end, I think that two very competent cooks can play nicely in the kitchen – it’s just a matter of taking turns, giving up a little control, and most importantly realizing that the person who is cooking for you is crafting a gift of love, and what can be more perfect that that?

Continue reading tuscan white bean soup.

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