Black Beans ~ Homemade With Love

Hello lovelies,

Beans, Beans, They’re good for your heart, The more you eat them – the more you…..

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That’s pretty much all I knew about beans. Which is not really saying much!

I believe the song to be very accurate because beans are said to be good for your heart as well as leaving you the urge to….

I am cracking myself up here, people.

Trying to stay focused…and moving back to the topic at hand. I had NEVER eaten beans, there was just something about the texture that grossed me out. With that said, a couple of months ago I put on my big girl pants and made myself try them. What I found out was that I really loved beans – imagine that! Who would have thunk??

One of the reasons I believe I am enjoying these beans is because of the way they have been prepared. They are packed with flavor and cooked to just the right consistency for my family and I.

You should know I prefer to use a pressure cooker to prepare my beans. You can of course use a traditional sauce pan, however you would have to adjust the cook time. No biggie – they will work either way.

Ingredients

This is what you will need:

  • Black Beans (Soaked)
  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Cubanelle Pepper (If you can’t find cubanelle substitute with red or green bell peppers)
  • Garlic
  • Dried Oregano
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Water
  • Mushroom Broth

IMPORTANT: You will want to soak your beans for 4-8 hours before you cook them. As seen in the photo above.

ALSO IMPORTANT: The ingredients go into the cooker pretty quickly so it would be wise to prep all the ingredients prior to turning on the stove.

Butter

Turn your stove to medium hight heat – #8 on my stove.

Add butter to your cooker and melt.

Chopping-Onions

Now this is a handy-dandy device I have fallen in love with! It makes quick work out of onions and all my other vegetables.

For a while I was a knife snob. I thought by chopping everything by hand it was somehow better – because so many people refuse a tasty dish based on the chopping technique of the chef….so after I got over my Julia Child complex I moved onto this little masterpiece of a time saver.  The only thing I regret is not finding it sooner!!

Back to the recipe – Chop 1/2 an onion, please.

Chopped-Onions

Here is an extra photo just so you can see how perty my onion looks…You’re welcome.

Onions

Place 1/2 cup of chopped onions into your cooker.

Garlic

Followed by 3 diced garlic cloves.

Cubanelles

Followed by 1/4 cup cubanelle peppers diced.

Let these ingredients sauté until you can really smell them. About 2-3 minutes. We are not caramelizing them we just want to release their flavors.

Pepper

Add 1 tsp dried oregano.

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Followed by 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar.

Let this cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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Add the water.

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Followed by the mushroom broth.

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Drain the beans. You do not need to keep the water the beans soaked in.

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Add the beans to the cooker.

Crank the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Pressure-Cooker-Photo

Above is a photo of a pressure cooker. Which I assume you figured out already, but just in case – that’s what it is.

I use a stove top version. There are also electric versions, however I find you really don’t save that much time with them since it takes quite a while for them to come to temperature.

Again, what ever you are more comfortable with is what you should use!! I want you to be happy!!

This is important:

  • Once the liquid is boiling place the lid on your pressure cooker.
  • Drop the temp to medium high.
  • Once the pressure indicator pops up that means you are at the right pressure for cooking.
  • This is when you start your timer.
  • Set your timer for 10 minutes.
  • Once the timer rings pull your cooker off the stove and empty the steam.
  • Be very careful when releasing the steam from your cooker. If you touch the steam it WILL burn you severely.
  • I wear oven mitts just to be extra cautious when handling the cooker and order everyone, and I mean everyone – even the dogs, out of my kitchen – better to be safe than sorry!!

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This is what it will look like when you open the pot.

Always take a test of your beans just in case you want them cooked more.

Once you are satisfied you can pour your beans into a container or separate the beans from the liquid.

DO NOT throw away the liquid – This liquid is like GOLD!!  Black bean juice is great to use in lieu of stock or water in all sorts of recipes!!

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And there you have it – The best black beans…If I do say so myself, which I actually did say ~ so, you get it right? – Anyway they’re goooood.

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Until next time…A word of advice – Don’t eat beans on your first date or you might really “toot” your own horn!!

Still cracking myself up – Good grief ~ someone stop me!!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!!

Love, L.

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Vegetarian – Black Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, soaked for 4-8 hours
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup onions
  • ¼ cup cubanelle pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 ½ cups mushroom broth

Method

MAKE SURE TO SOAK YOUR BEANS FOR 4-8 HOURS PRIOR TO COOKING.

  1. Place pressure cooker on stove and turn heat to medium high.
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Add diced – onion, cubanelle pepper and garlic.
  4. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add dried oregano and white wine vinegar.
  6. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add water and broth.
  8. Drain beans and add to broth.
  9. Turn heat to high.
  10. Once liquid is boiling place lid on cooker – secure properly.
  11. Once pressure indicator is ready – drop temp to medium high.
  12. Set timer for 10 minutes.
  13. Pull cooker off stove and depressurize.
  14. Separate liquid from beans if desired or store together.
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Gorgeous Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

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So, it’s the end of the week and you have a fridge full of leftovers…Sometimes all those leftovers need is a quick pick me up – like mushrooms and onions.

They are great with leftover mashed potatoes, perfect on all kinds of meats and my personal favorite – mixed with green beans or broccoli.

Clever…right? You’re welcome.

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Preheat the frying pan to medium high.

Add a couple turns around the pan of extra virgin olive oil. Probably one-ish tablespoons. Very technical I know…

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Drop in 1 carton of sliced baby belle mushrooms.

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Add one sliced onion.

Try and get all the onions in the pan – unlike me. I missed…

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Add 1 tsp of sugar.

I always add sugar anytime I make onions. It’s just one of those thangs man.

What can I say…I’m crazy like that.

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Add 2 tbsp of butter. Butter just makes life so much better.

FYI – My butter is always salted – always!!

So get this – All the hard work is finished.

I know…You have to love a recipe that is this easy and makes your home smell this good!!

Saute for 10 minutes on medium high – stirring only occasionally.

Drop the heat to medium low and cook for 20 more minutes.

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During the last 10 minutes of cooking add 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt. You can add more or less depending on taste.

But seriously don’t add too much salt…you’ll get all bloated then blame me and frankly I just can’t take that much pressure. So just don’t do it alright! Geez…

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Then you’ll get this!!

Time for a happy dance…

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That’s what Oso thinks of my happy dance…you can see it in his eyes, he thinks I’m nuts…

He’s probably onto something.

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This is optional – but highly recommended.

Turn the heat up to medium high.

Add about a splash or two of your favorite red wine to deglaze the pan.

Cook until the wine has incorporated into the onions.

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I mean…come on!!

Seriously, do you see the color of this dish – the caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Life is looking pretty good right about now.

So there you have it. Over and out!

Until next time…I’m off to dance with my kids.

Be Blessed, Stay Blessed and remember don’t forget to laugh at yourself or someone will do it for you.

Love, L.

Perfect Rice…Every-time!!

Perfect-Rice

 

Hello Lovelies,

Rice…Such an amazing food. It is inexpensive to purchase, full of flavor and easy to prepare.

However, is it really easy to prepare? For a lot of people rice preparation is their achilles heel. Sometimes the rice is too hard, sometimes it’s too soggy and sometimes it just doesn’t taste very good.

All that is about to change because I am about to show you how to make perfect rice every time.

Follow along as I walk you through my no fail recipe that will even make “Uncle Ben” jealous…

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Here’s who’s playing the game today: Basmati Rice, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Water, Onion, Cubanelle Pepper, Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning, Kosher Salt and Pepper. (Fresh Cilantro is optional)

Beep, Beep, Beep…Personal Preference Alert: There are many varieties of rice to choose from. In this recipe I use Basmati Rice. I suggest you do the same so your ingredients and technique are the same as this recipe. You can branch out later with other rice varieties once you have mastered the basics.

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To start, prep your veggies. Dice 1/2 an onion and 1 medium cubanelle pepper. Put aside.

A long time ago I discovered the cubanelle pepper and my life was forever changed. I have never been a big fan of red and green peppers, I think they’re flavor hogs. But not my darling cubanelle; he’s subtle with a slight sweetness, the perfect pepper. Just like my Papi’s the perfect husband…Aww – how sweet am I?

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Next, pour 2 cups of rice into a measuring cup.

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Now, drown the rice in water…

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Allow the measuring cup to overflow.

Reach into the measuring cup with your clean hand or a spoon, as you continue to run the water.

Move the rice around so the starch is released from the rice and the water begins to run clear.

What’s up with my sink in this picture? It looks so dirty. I promise it’s just the way the water streaks reacted with the flash on my camera. I know you’ve heard that excuse a million times. But it’s true…really!

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Once the water runs clear, it is time to empty the rice into a mesh colander to drain. Set aside.

Check out those bananas in the background, maybe I should make banana bread next?

Why am I distracted so easily? I have the attention span of a monkey…wait are those bananas? What am I saying?

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Now that your prep work is finished, it’s time to have some super rice making fun!!

Set a saucepan on medium high, on my stove I turn the knob to #8. Your stove may be different – it’s just a reference.

Add 1 tbsp of butter and 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to the saucepan.

I always use salted butter in all my recipes just in case you couldn’t sleep wondering about that.

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Immediately add the onions.

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Then the cubanelle pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Side note: You can add your veggies immediately to your saucepan, in fact the sooner the better. You don’t have to wait for your butter to brown or bubble or sing or dance. Just turn on your stove and start tossing the veggies in the pan while yelling, “OPA”. It works – scientifically proven, somewhere I think…?? Why are you listening to me?

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This is what you want your onions and peppers to look like. I can’t explain how good this smells!!

Well, actually you know I could but I’ve rambled enough, so I’ll keep this train a movin’ instead.

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Add the kosher salt.

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Add the pepper.

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Add the Johnny’s Garlic.

Johnny’s Garlic is a mixture of herbs and garlic. I buy mine at Costco. If you don’t have any, you can use garlic powder. It won’t be exactly the same, but good enough for government work.

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There they are; all the spices getting to know each other. I love when my spices make friends.

Now mix them up and let them cook for another 2 minutes.

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It is time to add the rice.

Here is where the ancient family secrets come into play.

These next couple of steps are critical in separating rice from RICE!!

Prior to adding the water, you are going to fry your rice just a smidge. Please, listen carefully as these instructions are important!

Once the rice is in the pan, start stirring it around.

Turn the heat down a notch to medium and most importantly keep the rice moving so it does not burn.

Continue this for 2-3 minutes.

If prior to the 2 to 3 minute period the rice starts to stick to the pan or starts turning brown, then it is time to move onto the next step.

With this in mind, it is your judgement call. Watch your rice carefully because all stoves heat differently and all pans transfer heat differently. What works on my stove may be too much or too little on yours.

BE ATTENTIVE WHEN YOU COOK!!

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Time to add the three cups of water to the rice.

Typically, the water to rice ratio is 2:1. I don’t use this formula, I use 1 1/2 : 1 as my ratio.

Aren’t I quite the rice rebel? This is as good as my rebellion gets…

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Turn the heat to high and let the rice boil (uncovered) for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Give your rice one last stir and immediately place the lid on the rice – TURN THE HEAT TO LOW!!!

Do not forget to turn the heat to low or you’ll have a bubbling mess all over your kitchen!! I speak from experience here, lots and lots of experience…Ugh – I’m having flashbacks!

Set a timer for 20 minutes and do not peak!!

Did you hear me? Resist the urge to peak!! Do not peak, Nada on the peakage, Nope to the looking, Nix on the gawking, No can do on the observing. I could go on…but why, there’s just no need for that! Capiche?

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Hence, the reason you don’t peak, observe above.

Once your timer goes off … do NOT remove the lid just yet. Patience young grasshopper…

Pull the rice off the stove and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Then, finally you can pull the lid off the pan and there you have it – perfect rice.

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With a fork fluff the rice. The veggies will have congregated around the edges so you’ll want to incorporate them back into the rice.

Serve immediately.

If you would like, you could mix some cilantro into your rice for added flavor. Please note though, cilantro is an herb that people either love or hate. If they love it they REALLY love it, but if they don’t, it grosses them out. Check first – you’ve officially been warned; which is much more official than unofficial, so officially you been schooled and officially warned – unofficially – Thank you for your cooperation and understanding…

Until next time…I’m officially off the air.

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

Rice

Ingredients

2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of water
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion – sweet
1 medium cubanella pepper
1 bunch cilantro – fresh (optional)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp johnny’s garlic
Method

Dice onion and cubanelle pepper. Set aside.
Rinse rice thoroughly, drain. Set aside.
Heat a saucepan on medium high heat.
Add the oil and butter.
Immediately add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the kosher salt, pepper and johnny’s garlic (which can be substituted with garlic powder); cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice – stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the water – boil for 2 minutes.
Cover and reduce the heat to LOW!
Set timer for 20 minutes and DO NOT PEAK!
Remove the rice from the stove.
Keep the lid on and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Remove lid and fluff rice with fork.
Add cilantro to rice if desired.