What a miserable spring Saturday! It rained, it poured, it was windy, and it was cold. The kids' moods were about as warm as the weather until I desperately relented and brought their bikes inside (once again) for them to ride. Brian and I alternated napping all day, whether we really were just that tired or entering some weather-induced coma, I'm not sure. And despite our best efforts to forge some fun family activity - game, yoga, music, or otherwise - it dissolved into fits of tears from alternating kids for alternating reasons. Yes. It was simply one of those days.
The bright spot, however,was dinner. It simmered almost all day, smelling up the house with goodness. It was warm, spicy, filling, nutritious, and of course, delicious. And, in the tradition of all truly good food, it turned those frowns upside down and brought new life and better moods into a gloomy house. The evening was finished with giggles and smiles, a much more preferable ending to any day.
Spicy Frijoles over Fry Bread
Yield: 4 servings
For the beans:
1 C dried pinto beans
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 t smoked paprika
1 t cumin
1 bay leaf
1/2 t garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t sea salt
2 t black pepper
about 4 C water (I never measured the water, just kept adding as they cooked)
2 T tequila or beer (I had neither yesterday and they were delicious even without)
Fry bread, recipe cut in half
shredded monterey jack cheese
sour cream, if desired
Combine the dried beans (no need to soak) with everything in a stockpot and simmer, stirring periodically, up to 8 hours, adding water as needed to get the desired consistency (loose or drier, it depends on your preference). You could do this in a crockpot, but I imagine it'd need more like 10 hours and definitely pre-soak the beans in that case.
Make the fry bread dough, let it rest one hour, then fry it in about 1 inch of vegetable or canola oil. You want to get it fairly crisp, so about 2 minutes per side. The crispiness will soak in all that good bean stew goodness and the resulting texture when you eat it will be a mild crunch, a bit of chew, and a pillowy center of goodness. Seriously, the fry bread is what makes this dinner. Remove the fry bread to a towel, season with a little sea salt, and let drain until ready to eat. Serve underneath the beans garnished with cilantro and cheese and sour cream (if desired). Yum!
A few days ago I wasn't feeling well, so I decided to keep it simple for dinner and utilize some leftover pizza sauce I had lurking in the fridge to make a basic cheese pizza. My dough, my pizza sauce, 4 kinds of cheeses. Done. Then I remembered my sage bush was the size of a monster truck tire after the warm winter we had, and in lieu of simply pruning it away, I am on a mission to use as much sage as humanly possible.
My pizza dough makes two pizzas so I thought, "why not!" sage and brown butter pizza. Done. Then I noticed the peas. They were sitting in my fridge all sad, needing to be used, and I just couldn't let them go to waste. Pea with sage brown butter pizza.... sure, why not. Then I put the flavors together in my mind and started to get excited, and, as with any kitchen experiment I do, the thrill of discovery overcame the ailments I was feeling until....... EUREKA! Sage and balsamic brown butter spring pea pizza. It was so yummy!!!
Sage Balsamic Brown Butter Spring Pea Pizza
Yield: 1 large pizza (which, in this case, served only 2 - it was that tasty)
6 T salted butter
3 T good balsamic vinegar
1/2 recipe my pizza dough, with those instructions exactly
7 large sage leaves, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 C frozen peas
sea salt and pepper
3/4 t garlic powder or 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 C parmesan cheese, grated
Prepare the pizza dough and par-bake according to those instructions.
Make the brown butter sauce: melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Cook about 3 minutes more, or until it turns a beautiful brown color - not too light and not too dark. Remove from the heat and, turning your head away from the pan, stir in the balsamic vinegar (it will sputter a bit). Set aside to cool.
Onto the par-baked pizza crust, spread the cooled brown butter sauce (or if its still hot you may drizzle, it just goes on evenly if the butter has cooled and hardened somewhat). Add the peas, sage, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. Top with both kinds of cheeses and broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot or cold. It was delicious both ways. :)