Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pinto Beans and Kale

After a long, freezing, and frustrating day I wanted something easy and spicy and steaming for dinner. A few weeks ago my friend Mia mentioned that one of her favorite meals is her grandma's pinto beans and kale.

I had kale and a 28 oz can of pinto beans from Aldi that's been in the pantry for months... so I threw a few things together and it turned out to be the perfect thing for a cold and grumpy night.

Pinto Beans and Kale

(serves one hungry girl three times)

1 tb butter
2 cloves garlic
about 1/2 lb of kale, shredded
28 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 vegetable bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups hot water
1/2 tsp thyme and rosemary
lots of black pepper and red pepper flakes

Melt butter with garlic in skillet over medium high heat, add shredded kale and beans, saute until wilted. Add veggie broth and spices, and let simmer, stiring occassionally, about 30 minutes until most liquid has evaporated.

I ate this with a some of Aldi's jambayla rice mix I had on hand. It was perfect. I also have to tell you all how inexpensive this meal is to make if you have basics on hand. The kale ($1.29/lb at Kroger), beans (about $1 at Aldi), and rice ($.99 at Aldi) cost less than $4.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Pumpkin!

Had to share my first carved pumpkin this year:

I found the template at the Associated Press political pumpkin pattern site
and was putting the finishing touches on Barack's ear about two hours later! I tried to find a pumpkin with a flat-ish side because the templates aren't really designed for round things.
I used lots of pins to hold the template in place, poked about 8,000,000 tiny holes around the edges of the pattern, carved the lines using a grapefruit knife, and carefully picked out the positive space using a paring knife. I'm thinking about trying to photoshop my own template of Biden grinning. I just love that smile.

experimenting with ice cream

Two good friends surprised me with an ice cream freezer for my birthday about a month ago. Since then, I've been experimenting weekly using Jeni Britton, David Bovitz, and the contents of my fridge as inspiration. So far I've tried vanilla, lemon yogurt, lemon-raspberry yogurt, chocolate, white chocolate ginger, and just plain frozen yogurt. The best, so far, was the white chocolate and ginger.
The original recipe can be found here, but I made a few minor changes in both ingredients and methods. Here's my version:

White Chocolate and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate chips, spun through food processor
5 egg yolks

1. Blanch the ginger for a minute, drain, and add sugar and milk to saucepan. Stir occasionally over low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Put white chocolate into medium bowl and set aside

3. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl and, while whisking, slowly drizzle warm ginger/milk mixture into bowl.

4. Return to saucepan once combined and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened enough to coat a spoon (about 5-8 minutes?)

5. Add hot mixture to white chocolate and stir until chocolate melts. Add the cup of heavy cream, cover, and refrigerate while making and eating delicious dinner (about 4 hours).

6. Pour through strainer (or large slotted spoon) to catch the big pieces of ginger, and freeze the mixture in your ice cream freezer for about 40 minutes until really, really thick. Eat and share what you can, put the rest in a plastic airtight container. Cover the top of the ice cream with plastic wrap to avoid ice crystals.