The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Lima Bean Busy February 6, 2012

I’ve decided to make a feeble attempt to post something. It’s been a rather shame-inducing length of time since I actually did anything around here, so I think it’s due time that I get your bellies twist’n’shouting with something perhaps a little unexpected. Unless you’re one of those intriguing anomalies who doesn’t like anything legume-y, well!  I have just the ticket! My affinity for lima beans reigns supreme, once again, and I have a nice little soup that has passed inspection!

Oh yeah, Jon and I moved, so I’ll just let that take the blame for my extreme posting leave of absence. Can we just call it a leave of absence? Anyhoot, yes, Jon and I bought our first house and have been here for exactly 8 days now! I’ve gussied up the kitchen to my liking (including a glorious rolling wooden kitchen island from Ikeeeeeeeeea), and am seriously enjoying my recent cooking endeavors. We kicked off our first (non-takeout/fast food) meal here with Red Beans and Rice. Everything else has been pretty damn great! Now, I do apologize for a lack of pictures in this post, but you’ll have to forgive me because I haven’t yet located my camera, amongst the slew of boxes.

This is my idea of a real superbowl, and it doesn’t leave the most unsavoury aftertaste of Madonna’s pigskin-esque body shaking around, afterward. Now that your appetite is raring to go, let’s do this.
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Ritzy Lima Bean Soup (I’m sorry, I’m Mad Men-ing again)

Ingredients

  • 4 (or 5?) strips of bacon, sliced 1″
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I removed half the seeds and ribs)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed 1″
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup corn niblets
  • 2 cups frozen (or fresh, if you’re lucky) lima beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water (or stock)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (whatever kind you want)
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

First things first, fry up that bacon. It’s fine right in your cooking pot, which doesn’t have to be too huge, medium-large is good. Once it’s brown and crisp, drain the fat (save it, save it!), and add butter. Yes, this is what you’re doing. Add carrots, onion, celery, jalapeno, potatoes, and garlic, and saute until lightly browned. Add corn and lima beans, and bay leaf. Stir and add enough water or chicken stock to cover all ingredients about 1″. Add basil, paprika, a little salt and pepper (to season the vegetables as they cook). Let it come to a boil, and drop the heat to a simmer, around medium-low. Cook for 25 minutes or so, until the lima beans are soft and buttery. Add cream, stir, check seasoning and serve!

I wouldn’t exactly know what to serve with this, as it’s extremely good on it’s own, and that’s how I enjoyed it. However, it’s one of those cute, yet elegant dishes, where you feel like Melba Toast should be in the picture somewhere. I don’t know, whatever that guy at the Maidstone Club is having with it?

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Dass all I have for now, I hope that you are enticed, despite pictures, and that unabashed jab at Madonna. I promise you though, it is beautiful and serves up very attractively. Even if you have unattractive dinnerware!

Happy trails then,
Meg.

 

Pea S. I Love You April 10, 2011

If, culinarily-speaking, there is anything to say about me, it is that I sincerely enjoy a good dried bean foodstuff. I cook with dried beans/pulses so often, that I could probably make them in my sleep. However, I would not, because I semi-recently had a very vivid dream that my kitchen was on fire. At any rate, I would like to share with you a pretty basic method for cooking the little wonders. Really basic, but wholly satisfying.
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Today was extraordinarily pleasant, weather-wise, and warm weather, for some reason, always makes me want black eyed peas. Now, when I say this, please be aware that I do not condone listening to the musical group, and this is entirely unrelated to that abominable excuse for a band. If you find yourself experiencing confusion between the two, please refer to the pulse variety as, “cowpeas,” from this point on! I can also get behind, “Holstein beans,” but that is my own personal made-up variation, so don’t go asking for them in the grocery store…
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Now, when I say that I cooked up some beans, I do not mean to say that I boiled them up in a pot of water until the point of nasty. This method, regardless of the beans you use, will result in a sort of gravy, which means that it’s goddamn excellent served over rice. Beans and rice? Always. This is sort of a Southern thing, although use of peppers and celery (and a good amount of the spices) aren’t always necessary. You can play around with the spices all you want, also. I usually go with a bit of a Cajun-y vibe, so that’s what you’ll see here, as far as spices go. If you use something other than black eyed peas, the timing will be adjusted accordingly, because most beans have different cooking times. Also, please be advised that soaking is a very good option, you can either go with the overnight (cover with a few inches of water and cover the bowl, overnight), or the quick-soak method, which is covering them in a pot with a few inches of water, boiling rapidly for about 3 minutes, popping a lid on, turning off the heat, and letting it sit untouched for an hour. Same result! In the end, the soaking is a timesaver for the actual cooking process. Enough of that jibber jabber though! Let’s get on with it!
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Cowpeas Deluxe (I don’t know why I just decided to call it this, but let’s go with it anyhow)
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Here’s the fancy shot to prove that beans aren’t just for broke-ass hillbillies (oh, to be a broke-ass hillbilly…)
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And here’s the best way to eat ’em. Especially if you mix them all up with the rice, maybe a splash of Louisiana hot sauce too…
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Ingredients
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4 strips of bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces (you can use pork hocks, smoked sausage or salt pork instead, by all means)
1 small onion, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1/3 cup red or green bell pepper (about 1/3 of a big ‘un)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock (or water with bouillon, or just water!)
2 cups dry black eyed peas, soaked
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry thyme
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1-2 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce (or whatever you prefer, you can also use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, too )
1 bay leaf
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Method
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Okay, first, get yourself a big cooking pot, preferably heavy bottomed (cast iron for the win). Saute the bacon until browned over medium-high heat, and add all vegetables, sauteing until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute or so, until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and then drop the heat down to a simmer. Cover with the lid ajar for about an hour, an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender. At this point, it should still be pretty soupy. We want the water to evaporate, and the starches to thicken up now. So, turn the heat up over medium or so, keeping a close eye and stirring frequently (stickbottom, do not want…), with the lid off. When it gets to a gravy-esque consistency, you are done! Check for seasoning, and serve over rice.
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Das all fo’ now. megohm, over and out!