Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Black Beans and Rice Cooker Magic

I was brave this Sunday. I tossed 2 1/2 cups of rinsed dried black beans into my rice cooker with two bay leaves and a chopped clove of garlic. 5 cups of water and one sleep later... the beginnings of an awesome soup.

Sadly, I was so excited about presenting J with the pretty bowl of soup and cornbread, that I neglected to take a photo. He assured me that it was photogenic. Next time! But till then, here's the recipe.

(finger numbingly good) Black Bean Soup
2 1/2 cups dried black beans (obviously more after re-hydration)
1 clove of garlic roughly chopped
1-2 bay leaves (I have a bundle in my freezer from my veggie dealer, and need to use them up)
2 small/medium red onions chopped
1 decently sized red bell pepper chopped
2-3 cloves garlic (yes more garlic, ALWAYS more garlic) minced
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of one lime
handful of cilantro/coriander
1-3 chilis diced (I used what we had available at our local Brazilian store, and am not sure what kind they were... made my finger go numb for a bit, so I take it they mean business)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Pop the first 3 ingredients and 5 cups of water into your rice cooker. All I did was hit "cook" and let things roll until I got up the next morning. Make sure to prep well in advance if you are cooking this the same day!

2. Add olive oil, onion, garlic, pepper, and cumin to pan and cook till onions start to brown slightly. Be careful not to burn the cumin on the edges of the pan (coat well with oil before adding it).

3. Transfer the pan love into a large bowl and toss in the chili, lime juice, and cilantro/coriander, followed by about 1 cup of the beans.

4. Mix well with submersion blender (if available) or transfer batches into food processor/blender first, then into a large bowl. Continue till all the beans are mixed (unless you like your soup to be lumpy and beany... your call).

5. Now is the time to add your salt and pepper to taste. You could add a few tomatoes here, to thin out the soup without losing flavor, or you could add a cup or two of hot water with veg bullion or possibly a bit of soy milk. I opted for a thick soup and left it as is.

This soup is delicious over fresh cornbread*, and perhaps a dollop of sour cream (vegan or otherwise), if you are feeling naughty.

*I initially followed a cornbread recipe in my ancient vegetarian cookbook that called for 4 eggs (I was astounded by the amount of eggs, but figured the cookbook knew better than I did). The first batch came out of the oven smelling raunch. Probably because I am not a huge egg fan. J dutifully tasted it and threw it away (it was unsalvageable, despite my initial mottainai leanings), whilst I whipped up PPK's tried and true vegan cornbread with the minor adjustment of nixing the syrup. Soooo much better than eggy goo!

Friday, January 15, 2010

To Begin

I came across the following at yogapoint's blog .

"Below is Satyananda Saraswati's personal sankalpa (intention), may it serve to inspire us as it did him."

I am an invisible child of a thousand faces of love,
That floats over the swirling sea of life,
Surrounded by the meadows of the winged shepherds,
Where divine love and beauty,
The stillness of midnight summer’s warmth pervades.

Life often cuts at my body and mind
And though blood may be seen passing,
And a cry might be heard,
Do not be deceived that sorrow could dwell within my being
Or suffering within my soul.
There will never be a storm That can wash the path from my feet,
The direction from my heart,
The light from my eyes,
Or the purpose from this life.

I know that I am untouchable to the forces
As long as I have a direction, an aim, a goal:
To serve, to love, and to give.
Strength lies in the magnification of the secret qualities
Of my own personality, my own character
And though I am only a messenger,
I am me.

Let me decorate many hearts
And paint a thousand faces with colours of inspiration
And soft, silent sounds of value.
Let me be like a child,
Run barefoot through the forest
Of laughing and crying people,
Giving flowers of imagination and wonder,
That God gives free.
Shall I fall on bended knees,
And wait for someone to bless me
With happiness and a life of golden dreams?

No, I shall run into the desert of life with my arms open,
Sometimes falling, sometimes stumbling,
But always picking myself up,
A thousand times if necessary,
Sometimes happy.
Often life willl burn me,
Often life will caress me tenderly
And many of my days will be haunted
With complications and obstacles,
And there will be moments so beautiful
That my soul will weep in ecstasy.

I shall be a witness,
But never shall I run
Or turn from life, from me.

Never shall I forsake myself
Or the timeless lessons I have taught myself,
Nor shall I let the value
Of divine inspiration and being be lost.
My rainbow-covered bubble will carry me
Further than beyond the horizon’s settings,
Forever to serve, to love, and to live
As a sannyasin.

- Swami Satyananda Saraswati