Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

Alton Brown, you've done it again!

A few weeks ago I was watching Good Eats when I couldn't sleep and caught the end of his beans episode and it looked so good and so simple, the next day I pulled up the recipe and bought the ingredients, excited to make it, only to find out that the recipe included pickled pork, which takes 3 days to make.  No worries though!  It was worth the wait.

I followed the directions almost exact, the only changes I made was using brown rice instead of white, and I omitted the thyme, because I just don't like it, and added a little shredded cheese when serving.  Serve with a side of bread (I used the beer bread that I had).

Super yum!!

Here's the recipe as taken directly from the website:


For red beans:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces pickled pork, cut into 1-inch pieces, recipe follows
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris

For rice:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Place the vegetable oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the pickled pork, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher.
Prepare rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking the beans. Place the water into an electric kettle and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil place the butter into a 3-quart saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, add the rice and stir to combine. Add the salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Carefully pour the water over the rice and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the beans over the rice.

Pickled Pork:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 8 ounces ice
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
Combine all of the ingredients except the ice and the pork in a 2-quart non-reactive saucepan, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and maintain a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the ice and stir. Place the pork into a 1-gallon zip top bag and add the cooled pickling liquid. Remove as much air as possible; seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 days, turning the bag occasionally. Use within 2 weeks or remove from the pork from the brine and freeze.
Yield: about 1 1/2 pounds

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dessert sandwich

I don't buy bread that often because I end up throwing half the loaf away because I never eat it on a regular basis.  I'll get in the mood for a sandwich, go buy all the stuff, lunchmeat, veggies, etc., and make one or two sandwiches and end up tossing stuff.

So the other day I was flipping through Shape or Women's Health or Fitness and they had a great pre-post workout snack, a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and sliced banana.

Hmmm...that sounded good, so after my workout I opened up the loaf of Pepperidge Farm Honey Flax bread I bought a week ago (yeah, it took a week to even open the loaf), but decided to improve on the tastiness (not necessarily the healthy part though) and wow, if you are craving sweets with a wicked case of PMS or just want to really indulge, try this.

  • 2 slices bread (any kind you like, I used the honey flax)
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 1 TB Nutella
  • sliced banana
  • handful of mini marshmallows
Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, Nutella on the other, throw the bananas and marshmallows in and you've got yourself a crazy good (but not so good for you) sandwich.  But really, 1 TB of Nutella is like 100 calories, yeah it's got sugar, etc., but who doesn't love hazelnut?!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I holla for Challah

So, I was all set to make the Anadama bread today from the BBA, but to my surprise, that's a 2 day I started sorting through the book, and, aha!  Challah!

I really need to buy instant yeast, which I could never find at the store, until I recently read online that it's the same as rapid rise yeast (someone correct me if I'm wrong), so I'll buy some when I go to the store tomorrow because this book calls for instant yeast in every recipe and my yeast just didn't do a good job of rising today.

No matter, the bread was pretty simple to make, although I messed up the braiding somehow, but I have a feeling it will make some amazing french toast!

Awesome site

So I have a problem...I love cooking, and when I find a recipe I think I'd like, I can't wait to try it.  My only issue is that most recipes serve 4 people (or 6 or 8, etc) and me, I don't like leftovers all that much, and since it's just me 98% of the time, well, you can see my dilemma.

I just stumbled across this awesome site from Fruit From Washington, it's a recipe ingredient conversion calculator.  What is especially nice about this one is you input the original recipe/measurements and select the new number of servings and it calculates everything for you.  Super convenient!  I just used it to make shrimp newburg and it seems like everything was okay!