For years now I’ve had friends, acquaintances, colleagues, students, clients and, well, pretty much anyone who’s eaten my cooking, tell me I should a) teach a class, b) write a book, c) do a cooking show, d) open a restaurant, e) or do catering.
My reaction has always been, “eh, not so much.” I love to cook, teach, write, perform, and sometimes even serve, but not full-time, not as a real job. So I’ve confined myself to casual barter and a few random posts on cooking.
That may be changing. I’m spending a considerable part of my down time contemplating the ideas that persistently rise up, teaching cooking, having a specialty line, writing a cook book, all have their charms. My emphasis this week has been on convenient, healthy, frugal foods. I’ve been eating variations on yellow rice and beans all week.
I cooked a pound of red beans in the slow cooker overnight. Then cooked a family-sized package of yellow rice (makes about 8 cups). I took about 4 cups of the beans and packaged them in Ziplock baggies in the freezer, and refrigerated the balance in a covered bowl. The rice was also refrigerated.
Meal 1: heat medium skillet, add splash of olive oil. While oil heats, quickly dice zucchini and mushrooms. Pulverize 1 clove garlic in press or under knife, add to veggies sauteing along with parsley and a little oregano and thyme. Stir in 1 cup yellow rice and 1/2-2/3 cup beans. Mix until ingredients are hot. If they are too dry, drizzle broth, tomato or V-8 juice in while stirring to proper texture. Season with grated cheese or a splash of lemon juice.
Meal 2: Microwave lunch: Put 1 cup rice and 1/2 cup beans in a microwaveable container. Grate directly into container: 1 small zucchini, 1 small carrot (or half each larger ones). Again, splash generously with V-8 or other tomato based juice or soup. Refrigerate until lunch. Heat, add grated cheese and enjoy.
Meal 3: Savory version. Dice Zucchini, saute with minced garlic in olive oil. Saute yellow rice and beans (same 2:1 proportion as other recipes). with the squash. In food processor, roughly chop a large handful of green stuffed olives, a can of drained artichoke hearts, some capers, a few black olives, a clove of garlic and fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, or rosemary might work well). Lightly pulse these ingredients along with a handful of red beans. top sautéed beans and rice with a dollop of this tapenade and enjoy.
Whatever combination of savory ingredients (add almonds, diced tomatos, or the classic anchovies, for example) can be handled this same way for a wide array of flavors, all based on simple red beans and yellow rice.