Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bean Propaganda

I've been trying to be a "good wife" (whatever the heck that means) by cooking from time to time. I'm sure I've said it on here before but I dislike cooking. I can follow a recipe just fine (never mind that I have to call my mom or refer to the great wedding gift, The Joy of Cooking, from time to time) but I'd much rather have someone else cook for me. Luckily The Pilot doesn't mind cooking but the poor guy works for days on end and then has to come home and feed me? Not cool. So I try to pay it forward and cook for him.

A while back I actually thought ahead (!) and prepped a recipe the night before and in the morning, I threw it in the crock pot. The Pilot came home from a trip before I got home from work and texted this to me:

The house was starting to smell yummy when he got home! And because I hardly ever cook, I made sure to tell him to keep out of the kitchen. I didn't want him to jump in and help (because I hardly ever do when he's cooking...I suck.).

I got the recipe from another blogger, 100 Days of Real Food. When the word easy is in a recipe, I'm all over it! Any recipe that require latex gloves, even better. Say what?? More on that later. So here's the recipe:

Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans

1 onion, peeled and halved
2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno or hot pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
One pinch cumin
6 cups water

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
2. Cook on high for 8 hours or overnight.
3. Remove the bigger onion chuncks and drain excess liquid.
4. Mash remaining beans with a potato masher.

So I mentioned that I can follow a recipe. I CAN but that doesn't mean I can do it easily. Here's what went down:

1 onion? What kind of onion? The recipe didn't specify. I need directions that are VERY specific! I went with a white onion. I will add that I think I have an abnormal response to onions. I don't just tear up like some people do. As soon as I start peeling the damn things I can barely keep my eyes open it burns so bad! But, I soldiered on because I love my man and I was determined to cook a meal for him!

2 cups of dry pinto beans? I have never in my life purchased beans. Where do you find those in the grocery store? After wandering around looking for an employee to ask, I came across the rice and the beans were next to that. Dumb luck.

1/2 fresh jalapeno? I have never in my life purchased a jalapeno. I don't usually like spicy food so I steer clear of such things but I sucked it up and bought one. This is where the latex glove come into play. I've heard horror stories about people getting pepper juice in their eyes and they temporarily go blind. Ok, so maybe I've just read one random thing about that but still, you can never be too cautious so when I picked up the pepper in the store, I used the plastic bag to pick it up. And when I got home, I put on latex gloves from the first aid kit while I handled the pepper. I am awesome.

2 cloves garlic. Easy peasy, right? I had checked to make sure we had garlic. We had chopped garlic, which I figured was just fine. When I started the prep work though, I realized that there wasn't a conversion on the side of the jar like there normally is (darn The Pilot and his fancy organic garlic!). How much minced garlic is 2 cloves....or should it be how much chopped garlic is 2 cloves? After a brief detour online to look it up (and check FB), I found what I needed....and now I have no idea what the answer was but oh well, it worked at the time. I came back to the kitchen with the conversion in my head....only to discover that I couldn't get the damn jar open. It was new. I got our the grippy jar opener thing and gave it all I had. Nothing. I hit the jar on the side of the counter, prayed the jar wouldn't break and tried again. Nothing. Son of a! This is one of the many reasons I got married, where's a strong man when you need him? Oh yeah, he was probably sleeping in some shady hotel next to an airport at the time. I stepped away from the jar of garlic but gave it the evil eye while I turned the TV off. I needed to concentrate. I came back to that thing and once again gave it all I had and POP! It finally opened. I swear it was at least 30 minutes after I first started and I was only on the 3rd ingredient. Come on!!

1/2 teaspoon black pepper? I just mentioned that I don't like spicy things....that's because I think black pepper is spicy. And because of that, I don't buy black pepper. If a recipe calls for it, I skip it. Now, we might have some black pepper but all of our spices are in the cabinet above the microwave. Unless it is on the very edge of the shelf, I cannot reach it. I was too lazy to get a stool so I just skipped the black pepper. I doubt The Pilot noticed.

Pinch of cumin? Are you kidding me? How much is a pinch?? I rolled with it but still, I much prefer exact measurements and instructions.

Moving on.....I put the slow cooker on low because by the time I leave for work and get home, it's at least 10 hours so sometime even the slow cooker recipes pose a challenge for me. When I got home, it was time to drain the liquid and mash the beans. I did recruit the Pilot for just this one part. I couldn't pick up the crock pot because it was hot and heavy (TWSS) to tip it to drain without losing my beans. What? I picked up the pot while The Pilot used a spoon to make sure my beans didn't fall out. Why does is this sound all wrong??

Once the liquid was drained though, I needed to mash the beans. The recipe says to use a potato masher. Well, even though we are newly married and registered for all kinds of random gifts, a potato masher was not one of them. I don't think I've ever even eaten real mashed potatoes (I grew up in an instant mashed potato kind of household) so why on earth would I have a potato masher? I honestly considered running to the store on the way home to buy a potato masher. The girls at work came to my rescue though when I told them about my plans earlier that day. Being more domestic than I, they suggested I used a fork or even the back of a spoon. Genius. I tried the fork first but the beans weren't quite tender enough. I switched to a big wooden spoon (an eco-friendly, bamboo wedding gift thank you very much!) and while it took a little while, it did the job.

I know it kind of looks like dog food in this picture but I swear it didn't taste like dog food!

I heated some whole wheat tortillas and melted cheese on the tortillas before stuffing full of beans. More cheese melted on top of the homemade burritos and spoonfuls of sour cream and guacamole made it a pretty decent meal!

The Pilot enjoyed it...and we both lived to tell about it so that is a success in my book. I think the best part of this recipe though was that it made a lot of beans (plenty for a hungry family of 4 I would say) but we were able to have lots of left overs over the following days. Once we had reached our bean limit, if you know what I'm saying, I put the rest in the freezer. It gets a little crumbly when you reheat it and we probably could have added a little water but once you melt the cheese on it, you don't really notice too much. Something else that is great about this recipe is that it's veggiesauraus friendly and is still a good source of protein. And when I say a good source of protein, I mean it has plenty of protein for one meal but it's a great protein because it has buckets of fiber and water (all great things). It isn't full of empty calories that leave you wanting more to eat an hour later. Yeay for beans! Here's some bean propaganda for you if you aren't convinced that beans are great!

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