Sunday, October 24, 2010

Awww, Azuki Beans and Butternut Squash

This is a simple dish that is quite tasty and satisfying.  I started with a recipe from The Kind Diet and fixed it up from there.  Azuki beans are these nice little red beans from Asia that often are used in sweet desserts that contain "bean paste."  They are high in flavor, fiber and protein.  Butternut squash is always a winner, especially this time of year.

Soak one cup of azuki beans overnight in water.

Saute in a large pot:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped and peeled butternut squash (1/2 large squash)
1/2 large onion
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt

Add azuki beans and cover with 2 inches water.  Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.  Serve when beans are split and soft.  You may season with garlic salt for extra flavor.  Here, I garnished with steamed edamame.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and overwhelmed with life.  As my absence attests, I was victim to both situations.  Thanks to a new job and the support of friends (thanks Diane and Kiran), I am inspired to post today.  It is beautiful in Houston (75 degrees!) so we had a nice trip to the farmers market.  The pickling cucumbers were abundant and a good deal, so I picked up a small bucket to turn into spicy tart pickles.

If you are interested in canning, I recommend The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest.  It has tons of information on pickling, canning, jamming. jellying, drying and any other form of preservation.  If you haven't canned or pickled before, it has lots of key information to doing so safely.  The pickle recipes tend to be large volume, but you can do some math to reduce the recipe or improvise.  You can either make these pickles in regular jars and refrigerate or use sterile canning jars and water seal them.

Here is a good basic Pickling Spice recipe:

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole allspice
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

To make pickles:

Use as many pickles as you like:  whole, quartered or chopped.   Pack them into jars.  Add at least two tablespoons of pickling spice per jar.  For spicy, garlicky pickles, I added 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes and 3 cloves minced garlic per jar. 

Boil (microwaving works well) enough vinegar to top the cucumbers within 1/4 inch of the jar's opening.  If you like them really tart, use white vinegar.  If you want a more mellow taste, use 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 apple cider vinegar.  Cover cucumbers with vinegar, place the tops on the jars and refrigerate or water seal them.  They should be ready in about 24 hours, but for a deeper flavor I like to let them sit for several weeks.