It’s Too Darn Hot
So there’s a heat wave going on. And I don’t have AC.
The last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove. So … hummus sandwiches are nice … the first several times … and then oh, they can get so borrrring!
And you know, I kind of hate to eat hummus at home. Why? Because usually it’s the only non-vegan option when I go out for lunch. Don’t get me wrong. I love me those chickpeas! And you never want to bite the hummus that feeds. Well, I guess you do. You know what I mean.
Maybe I could try making a bean spread that is not hummus? After all, I just got in this huge shipment of muy fabuloso Rancho Gordo beans!
When I tried to make a bean spread, though, I learned why hummus is king.
This stuff didn’t look good. It tasted like bland baby food. I haven’t given up, but man, I’m going to stop ragging on hummus. That stuff is genius.
So after the great spread failure, it was back to the drawing board for me.
I think it’s safe to say that Rancho Gordo beans are officially trendy. And the other “It Girl” of 2011 would have to be … the coconut. Coconut water is everywhere. And coconut oil has been getting a second look these days as people update their views about healthy and unhealthy fats. These two ingredients have been on my mind lately because, well, people are talking about them. With their mouths full.
Now I’m not one to follow trends slavishly. But nor am I one to ignore a good idea when it comes to me: fabulous summer rice and beans dish, served at room temperature, with the tropical flavors of coconut and lime. Yes, please!
This time, the recipe gods smiled down on me. So with that, I give you …
The Dragon Fruit Summer Edition: Coconut Rice and Beans
IngredientsPlease note: it is important to cook the rice and beans in advance, allowing at least enough time for them to come to room temperature, unless you want the dish to be hot. This dish will still taste great even if your rice and beans are a few days old. 1 c cooked brown rice (I used Trader Joe’s brown jasmine rice) 1 c cooked beans (Any kind will do, see note below) 1-2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil 1-2 small green onions, chopped 1/3 c mango, either ripe or green, chopped; or a crunchy vegetable of your choice such as diced cucumber Bunch of cilantro to taste, minced Juice and zest of 1/4 – 1/2 lime (I think more is better!) Lots of ground black pepper (I like to use 1/4 t of it or maybe even more) Sea salt to taste
Cook rice and beans in advance, allowing at least enough time for these ingredients to come to room temperature before assembling.
In a microwaveable bowl, combine rice and beans. If these ingredients are cold from the refrigerator, microwave for a little bit until just warm.
Gently heat coconut oil (if solid) until it just melts. Drizzle over rice and beans and mix thoroughly. Heating the coconut oil too much tends to compromise the flavor, so I would advise against putting it in the microwave (although I have done it myself).
Add other ingredients, mix thoroughly. Done! SO simple, no?
Note on beans: The best beans to use are fresh, but canned will do very well. The best variety of beans to use is something with a milder flavor – like pinto beans. (Using all black beans overwhelmed the other flavors.) The bean I used here in this picture is the Rancho Gordo Tiger’s Eye (see photo below). It’s a nice medium flavor. Ideally, I would have used 3/4 c of the Tiger’s Eye and 1/4 c of black beans, probably from a can. I played around with the bean combinations and really liked the way adding some black beans enhanced the depth of the dish.
I liked it so much that I didn’t take any pictures and ate all my black beans.
To cook beans, check out the RG method: http://www.ranchogordo.com/html/rg_cook_beans_primer.htm
I just soak for a few hours or overnight and simmer them in water. Plain water.
Note on lime, black pepper, and salt: Really the star of this dish is the zing that brings it all together, the lime, black pepper, and salt combination. I didn’t invent it. The Cambodians did. It’s known as Tik Marij. If you can get your hands on Cambodian Kampot pepper, do it! But any black pepper will do. It’s a brilliant, tart, mouth-watering sauce that adds life to any dish.