food matters monday

This weekend, I revisited “whole food: 300 recipes to restore, nourish and delight” by Jude Blereau.  I picked it up sometime last year at half priced books for a steal, and it looks like you can get it for an even lower price on Amazon.

The premise of the book is very food matters.  The recipes are made up of whole, healthy and unprocessed ingredients, and there is a heavy emphasis on plant based foodstuffs.  It’s not a completely vegetarian or vegan cookbook, as there is a whole section for meat, but many of the base recipes are vegetarian/vegan friendly, with meat mentioned only as potential add ins.

In my marathon cooking session this weekend, I made a chicken stew, millet and veggie patties and baked beans.  I tweaked each recipe a bit as I normally do, as I’m always looking for a way to add more vegetables into the mix.  I stocked up on $1 1 lb bags of mixed veggies recently, and they were just begging to be used every time I opened the freezer.

Bean recipes are always hit and miss with AbuS.  I had thought coming from a culture where ful is eaten daily, he’d be happy to embrace other kinds of bean dishes.  Alas, most times they aren’t his thing.  Alhamdulilah though, he really liked this, although I think it may be more a function of the fact that he’s taken to squirting hot sauce into everything, thus making them taste more tongue burning than anything else.

Speaking of hot sauce, I had a can of adobo in the cupboard that I had bought for some recipe and never used.  AbuS came across it a few months back and decided to see how it would taste in his ful.  That little can has created a hot sauce monster!  Since they were relatively expensive for their size, I decided to try to introduce sriracha.  Much cheaper I thought – $3 for a big bottle, that’s got to last quite a long time.  Um yeah, no.  If I had created a monster before, now the monster had mutated.  We now go through a big 28 oz bottle every 2 weeks.  Still cheaper than the cans of adobo, and I suppose an easy way to add flavor.

Baked Beans with lots of Vegetables

  • 1 cup dried navy beans, soaked
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3 cloves diced garlic (recipe originally called for one)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or water (I used all vegetable stock, but next time I’ll probably go half and half to reduce the salt, or use a stock cube with less salt)
  • 2 tsp molasses sugar (I used brown sugar, which is apparently similar, but less molasses-y)
  • 1 tbsp honey (recipe originally called for apple juice concentrate, which I didn’t have)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (I think they probably meant actual liquid mustard, but I just used ground mustard seeds)
  • 2 tsp hot sauce, more or less to taste
  • a 2 second squirt of ketchup (even with tomatoes, I always feel baked beans need ketchup)
  • 14 ounce canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb bag mixed frozen veggies

After the beans have soaked, discard the water and drain well.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onions, basil and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the navy beans and all other ingredients except tomatoes, ketchup and frozen veggies.  Cover, leaving a tiny crack for a little steam to escape and just barely simmer for 1 hour.

Add the tomatoes and ketchup and cook 2-3 hours more, uncovered (the cookbook notes that by adding the tomatoes after an hour, you prevent the acidity in them from inhibiting the beans from softening).  The liquid should reduce down to a slightly thick sauce that still covered the beans by a 1/4 inch.

Add frozen veggies and cook another half hour.

Serve with whole grain bread.

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