I love recipes that are simple, better yet I love recipes that are simple AND can be made ahead. This morning as D headed off to golf early, I decided to prep two meals for eating later, maybe later today or tomorrow or heck even Monday.
Earlier this week, I headed to Whole Foods Camelback for my first big grocery run since being based in Phoenix. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they carried some of our favorites, including Clover milk, plus a ton of local foods. Their produce section was beautiful too. I finally felt like I had discovered a grocery store that would nourish us. While Fry’s is the most common grocery store here, I find it to be very similar to Safeway and it just does not feel right to me. I still want to try Sprouts, however that is a bit more of a drive from the corporate condo.
I like to grocery shop once a week. To do this requires some meal planning, but I find that I am less harried at the end of each day to figure out what I am going to make for supper. I used to plan it exactly by the day, but now I try to select 4 to 5 meals to cook during the week figuring we may have evening plans at least 1 or 2 nights.
This week I had already made the Fettucini Alfredo, Perfect Baked Potato & Winter Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Almonds, and the Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage. Still left to cook were Nicoise-Style Orzo Salad, Black Bean Soup (recipe not online, so will share when I finish soup), and Almond Milk Creamed Spinach.
With a morning completely on my own, I thought it would be perfect to make the black beans as those always take awhile. I looked at the recipe and realized that it would have wanted me to soak the beans overnight, so I pulled out my From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients as I LOVE the Frijoles Negros de Olla recipe.
My grandmother has made the most amazing black beans, especially refried for as long as I can remember. Since they are so delicious, I always assumed the recipe would be super complicated. When I was using up thing in my pantry back in California, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the recipe is amazingly simple and the results are super delicious. Recipe follows at bottom of this post. Ummm and if you are lucky I may just share the refried beans recipe later this week….
While the beans were cooking, I made the Nicoise-Style Orzo Salad. This recipe is also surprisingly simple.
Finely chop small red onion and Italian parsley. Roughly chop tomatoes and kalamata olives. Add capers. Place in small bowl and set aside.
Cook orzo. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Add to large bowl and top with chopped ingredients.
Top with dressing of garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Give it a good stir. Season as needed.
I will be adding cilengine before serving as I feel like some delicious mozzarella will be the perfect finishing touch to this salad.
Here is Sra. Kennedy’s amazing Frijoles Negros de Olla Recipe
1 lb dried black beans
1 TBSP lard (optional and I use butter as it what I have on hand)
1/2 medium white onion, roughly sliced
Salt to taste
1 sprig of epazote (I use dry as it is what I can find)
Pick over beans to remove stones and remnant beans. Cover beans with cold water, skim off anything you missed.
Drain the beans and put them in heavy pot with onion and lard. Cover well with hot water, about 4 inches above the level of the beans. Cover pot and set over high heat until it reached a boil. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking until the skins become tender. Add the salt and epazote and continue cooking until beans are soft but not falling apart, approx 2 to 3 hours. Keep hot water on hand to top off the water if it gets low – never add cold water.
This is what my kitchen looked like this morning. A bit of chaos and lots of SUCCESS = great start to Saturday.