I am a very bad cooking role model. Please don’t tell anyone or they might take my food blog away. On the other hand, I am an excellent model of fitness, relaxation, and quick tasty meals. I like all of those things, and I’m going to assume that you do too. Sometimes it’s good to exchange the kitchen for the living room, the table for the floor, then leave the dirty dishes in the sink while Barack Obama delivers a speech accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. The dishes can wait while history is being made.
A few days a week, I lace up my sneakers and run to the lakefront paths to listen to the sound of waves crashing on sand while my heart pumps with confidence and my lungs expand to take in fresh air. I run in the evening, an interlude between work and play. I run to be alone with my thoughts, to feel alive and awake. Running is cheap therapy for me. When I finish, I am tired and happy, sweaty and serene. I stretch my feet and calves on a step, then I climb the stairs to my apartment and plop my body on the living room rug for some more stretching and maybe a glass of water.
The television happens to be in the living room, and sometimes I like a little entertainment while I gather the energy to get cleaned up after my run. Last Thursday, I turned the tv on just in time for the opening scene of Grey’s Anatomy, which I used to watch with zealous devotion. I was in the mood for something frivolous and shallow. Grey’s Anatomy, with its sex-drunk doctors and outrageous medicine, was just the ticket. In between lusty scenes, I ran to my stove to whip up the fastest pot of black beans ever made in my kitchen.
The cooking drama went like this:
Commerical break! Measure out garlic oil into pot. Chop onion.
Break! Heat up oil in pot and throw in onion. Saute until softened and smelling good. Turn off heat.
Break! Measure out 1/2 tsp. each of cumin, coriander, and oregano. Turn heat back on and saute spices and onion for a minute. Turn off heat.
Break! Open can of black beans. Drain and rinse. Add to pot along with a 1/4 tsp. of salt. Turn on heat. Stir to mix beans with onions and salt. Mash some beans on side of pot with spoon to mimic texture of refried beans. When beans are hot and mixed well with other ingredients, turn off heat.
Break! Assemble big fat burrito and a quick side dish of trimmed, shredded broccoli stalk. Carry meal into living room and eat on floor while watching tv doctors get it on with each other.
Break! Rummage for dessert and find leftover cookies. Brew mug of decaf green tea and carry cookies and tea into living room just in time to watch campaign video for Barack Obama. Feel sense of pride as rookie senator from Illinois delivers moving speech about changing America. Secretly hope future President Obama doesn’t cut the NIH’s budget. Assure self that NIH grant will be funded and that self will finish graduate school with a PhD. Realize that dirty dishes are not going to wash themselves. Peel self off living room floor and vow to have dishwasher in future kitchen. Wonder if purchase of energy-efficient dishwasher is tax-deductible.
Seasoned Black Beans
Makes about 2 cups
The secret to these speedy, delicious black beans is storebought garlic oil. Daphna and I are both crazy about Boyajian Garlic Oil. I toss potatoes in it before roasting them. Daphna and her husband like to make garlicky popcorn with it. Even if you buy garlic oil for just one recipe, like these beans, I bet you’ll find a million other uses for it. It’s a great pantry staple to keep on hand.
1 tbsp. garlic-infused olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. oregano
15-oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. salt
1) Measure the oil into a medium sauce pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for several minutes until the onion is softened and deliciously fragrant.
2) Add the spices and saute for another minute.
3) Add the beans and salt to the pot and stir to mix everything together. Cook for a minute or two to heat up the beans. Mash some of the beans on the side of the pot to create a thick, creamy texture.
Serving suggestion: Into a large whole-grain wrap, such as Cedar’s Mountain Breads, pile some black beans. Top them with shredded cheese, salsa, and a mound of lettuce. Close the wrap and serve.