Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beans and Rice

Bah! It's the end of September already!! Geesh.

There've been plenty of good eats around here, but I didn't share. I'm six weeks away from D Day and I'm so hungry at every meal that I'm more concerned with eating than photographing and documenting. I am not apologizing. Let's move on.

We've had an unseasonally cool summer. Just about everyone complained about the lack of summer heat- except me. Since my temp is running extra high, I loved it and thanked my lucky stars. I thought I made it through virtually unscathed. Then, this week happened.

A heat wave of grotesque proportions and tardiness hit the Bay Area, and many areas have had record temperatures. Why now, oh why now? Sniffle and whine. I've emerged alive, and so is my little one who reminds me every few minutes with a swift punch in the side.
If it was possible for me to be even more hermit-like and useless during this time, I certainly was. I got a few little things done in the morning before the house reached frying temps and I'd transfer my hippo-ness from the fan in the living room, to the bathroom (over and over and over), to the bedroom at night in front of the portable air conditioner cranked HIGH.

My point here being that I threatened World War Trois before I'd turn on the stove or oven for dinner. Flat refused. Tough luck for Ray for whom dinner means something baked, boiled, pan-fried, stewed, or grilled. But I'm the food maker, so raw foods and the microwave were in fine form.
Today is warm, but I no longer feel like I'm being tortured. In between some housework that I put off during the heat wave and phantasizing about the 71 degree forecast on Saturday (that's more like it!), I had to make a proper dinner, worthy of us and the chickpea parasite with whom I share my food.
Beans and rice have been on the brain, so beans and rice it is! In the crockpot. . . which I probably could have used during the heat wave if my brain hadn't melted. Oh well.

We used to have beans and rice regularly for dinner when I was little. Mom made fluffy white rice with a bit of onion and black beans, and topped each portion with a generous amount of cheddar cheese. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. She made both components on the stove, but here I decided to utilize my crock pot and mix everything together.
I love black beans, but light red kidneys are another favorite and what I found in the pantry (beans are delicious and pretty interchangeable). Plus brown rice for a nuttier texture and more fiber, and some tomatoes- love tomatoes always. I did break out a skillet to saute a small onion and some garlic for a flavor punch. I threw in a little red pepper flakes and dried thyme for good measure.
Now for the cheese- cheddar is really the best, I can't imagine using another variety.

Don't skimp on the cheese- when it melts into the rice and beans it's heaven.

Now don't bother me. I'm eating.

Beans and Rice
serves 3-4

2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 can beans (light red kidney or black beans), rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1/2 tsp dried thyme
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt to taste

Put 1 Tbs olive oil in the bottom of your crock pot and add the brown rice. Toss the rice to coat. Heat a skillet over medium low heat and add the second 1 Tbs olive oil and the onion. Saute for several minutes until softened, then add the garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes more. Add the onion, garlic, and rinsed beans to the crock pot.

Pour the diced tomatoes through a colander with a measuring cup underneath to catch the liquid. Add the tomatoes, then enough water to the measuring cup to equal 2 cups total (I needed to add about 1 1/2 cups water). Add the liquid to the pot, along with the dried thyme and red pepper flakes.

Cook on low for 4 hours, until the rice is done and tender. Salt to taste and serve hot or at room temperature with plenty of grated cheddar on top.


Erica said...

So good. This is one of my favorite meals. I'm partial to pinto beans but love black and kidney as well. 6 weeks!!

Unknown said...

definitely a winner! i think chickpeas are my favorite... but black beans come a close second :)

Kelly said...

That looks gorgeous and so comforting. I think it is perfectly understandable that taking food photos is NOT your main concern. :-) I was also just thinking of you the other day and was thinking you must be due soon. Good luck!