Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beans, beans, that musical fruit, the more you eat 'em the more you . . . well, we all know what happens when you eat a lot of beans. But, music aside, beans truly are a wonderful food. Low in fat, packed with fiber and heart-friendly protein, and an excellent alternative for those who forgo meat, there's not much to dislike about these little legumes. What I especially enjoy about beans is that there are so many different types of beans, from blacks (my favorite!) to kidneys to chickpeas and so on, and that they taste great both singly and combined in a rainbow of fibrous goodness.

Our kitchen has been seeing a good deal of bean action lately. I am focusing on incorporating healthy proteins into our meals more, and beans are one of my favorite ways to achieve this. Aside from the fact that beans are versatile, tasty, and can be prepared quickly, they don't have a big "ick" factor. What do I mean by that? Basically, I am hypersensitive to the risk of salmonella, mostly as derived from raw eggs and raw chicken. As a result, I possess a aversion to cooking (and touching, chopping, standing next to . . .) raw eggs and meats (especially chicken), so I tend to avoid cooking with them when possible. Egg replacers, by the way, do not affect me in the same way. I never said I was logical, folks. All that craziness on my part comes together to make me enjoy cooking with beans that much more.

The past week or so has seen some delicious bean-based dinners disappear into the respective stomaches of myself and the Best Husband Ever. The first was a black bean chili that I discovered on Allrecipes. It tasted wonderful, and is very hearty and filling. I served it with a little bit of shredded cheddar, and some salsa, Quark, and Ryvita crackers for me while the hubby had his with tortilla chips.

My special success, however, was an amazing chickpea curry. I always feel a little nervous about spicy eastern cooking since my taste buds are pretty wimpy. But the recipe that inspired this meal (also from Allrecipes -- what a great resource!) seemed fast, simple, and healthy, so I decided to give it a try. And . . . I loved it. The Best Husband Ever loved it. I will make it again, and look forward to that day. I can't sing this easy recipe's praises enough, so I'm just going to share the recipe and revel in the memory of this gem of cooking past.

Curried Chickpeas on Rice

1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup diced onions
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 T cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 T curry powder
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup water
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
canola oil cooking spray

Cooked brown rice

In a nonstick pan coating with a generous layer of cooking spray, cooking the onions and garlic over medium heat until just tender. Stir in the spices except for the cilantro and continue to cook for about another minute. Add the chickpeas and water, mixing thoroughly. Once the beans are warm through, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cilantro, saving a couple of sprigs to use as a garnish. Serve over brown rice (I used 1 cup of instant, prepared according to the directions on the box). Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. That chili looks delicious--black beans are my favorite, too!And the chickpea curry--mmmm! I love chickpeas! I'm bookmarking this one to try, soon!


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