Monday, August 8, 2011

Summertime Eats - 3 Bean Salad

I have always wanted to make something like this, I just never could get into it. I'm not a big cold bean dish type of guy. So after thinking about it for, oh, let's say about 15 years or so, I thought no time like the present if I ever was to try it. It's a pretty healthy dish with lot's of flavor and texture and I will be making this a part of our regular menu.

Ingredients

- 1 540 ml can of Chick Peas, rinsed
- 1 540 ml can of Black Beans, rinsed
- 1 398 ml can of Cannellini Beans, rinsed
- 1/2 a red onion (about 237 ml or 1 cup), finely chopped
- 2 small cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced in 1/4" segments
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 15 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, quarter the larger ones
- juice of 2 lemons (you can use the zest as well if you choose)
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chives, sliced into 1/4" pieces
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped*
- 8-10 leaves fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried if you don't have any fresh
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- EVOO, the good stuff
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

1) Pour the beans into a large enough bowl to hold the whole salad.

 
2) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together.


Serve or let sit for a day or two as it gets better when it rest to let all of the flavors come together, or as the fellow who inspired me to take my cooking to another level and beyond, James Barber said "let them get married."
Yield: A lot.


* If you notice, I like to say "a handful or a small handful...", things like this which aren't exact measurements. I do this with ingredients which are a little less potent. Call me lazy, but exact measurements in cooking aren't as important if you aren't cooking in a restaurant where it has to be exact, every time. When it comes to dried spices, use tablespoons and/or teaspoons. They are already to go and you don't have to screw around chopping them up before you measure them. Use what you want, as much or as little as you like. When you cook a lot, you know what each spice brings to the table, so to speak. I know it isn't exact, but we're not baking here where it has to be spot on. It's alright to bend "the rules" sometimes and cooking is a good example of that. Also, if you are ever confused about how I prepare any of the ingredients, look at the pictures to see how my end result compares to yours.

Anyways, enough of that. This salad is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, different textures and tastes really, really good. I'm extremely happy with how it turned out. The black beans are loaded with molybdenum, which helps control the movement of iron in our bodies among other things, folate, dietary fiber, protein and vitamin B. The chick peas are pretty much the same, loaded with numerous good things to help your body. Again, Cannellini beans come chalk full of everything which aids you in a healthy diet. They are actually white kidney beans and bring a little more to the table than the other two, but are quite comparable nutrient wise. This is a nice way to have a meal on Meatless Monday or Wheatless Wednesday, even Gluten-Free Friday.

If you want to save a little money or are worried about the BPA content from the canning process, use dried beans. They are a little more work, but will save you around 100-200% of the canned price. Honest. It will also give you the satisfaction of the do-it-yourself mindset. Make sure you rinse the beans. They are full of sodium and other stuff canning can add you can do with less of and rinsing them in water will help take some of this away.

On another kind of bad but good to know note, when eating this salad, beware of going to Costco after and eating a Polish dog. I did this after I finished making the salad and testing it. I have to have one of those tasty dogs once every six months or so, love 'em. The problem is you won't want to be around yourself, let alone anybody else for about an hour afterwards due to a leaky gas main.... somewhere. Aren't you glad I go through all of this trouble so you don't have to??

Wine Pairing

I served this as part of a dinner we had with some wonderful friends last week. One couple brought over a couple bottles from the Noble Ridge Vineyard. Their Pinot Noir went very well with the bean salad. Kind of a fluke pairing as we weren't sure if we should open up the Pinot first or the Meritage. I guess we got lucky. Both were nice bottles of wine, so whichever we had I don't think it would have mattered.


Little O's Menu

Our little Fava Bean has been keeping us on our toes as of late. She saw the big bag of Trail Mix in the fridge we buy from Costco once a year or so. Epic fail on our part. We try to eat healthy as much as possible, but I don't mind falling off the apple cart once in awhile. It keeps me sane to have an ice cream or a handful of trail mix once every week or two. No big deal. Now she wants to eat the M&M's in there. She likes the bright colors, but she also likes the almonds, cashews and peanuts as well. Oh, and absolutely loves eating the raisins. We even break out the bag pistachios. She really gets into eating them with us, which we love to see. They're cholesterol free and a one ounce serving contains over 10% of the daily requirement for dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, phosphorous and B vitamins. They are heart healthy and as long as you eat them in moderation can be beneficial to you.

Quote Of The Day:

"Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear"

~ Aesop (620-564 BC) Greek writer, wrote Aesop's Fables


Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

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