Friday, March 7, 2008

Taking a breath

These are the hardest days to get through. No, it is not due to heavy snowfalls that might blanket the world outside my window -- more due to the knowledge is just a bit more than an arm’s reach away before I can grab Spring. I am biting at the bit for a dirt-laden vegetable grown in my own yard. Yet, I know no matter how ready I may be Mother Nature has her own schedule, and regardless of my desire I must abide by her timing. So, now it is a waiting game. I watch the weather channel and pray there are stretches of nighttime temperatures that stays above the freezing mark. This is the indicator that the earth is thawing, and hibernating that were covered over last autumn will ready themselves, and start germinating.

For now, I allow myself to be fulfilled by the expected surprise of the first crocus nestled in melting snow and the splash of colorful daffodils filling a field -- all working to distract me from my true yearning. These seasonal leaders are just trumpeting nature’s green return, and my daily feasts.

Lime Drenched Black Beans - yields 6 to 8 servings

2 cups black beans - soaked 8 hours or overnight
2 inch piece ginger - sliced
1 small onion - diced
2 garlic cloves – crushed to paste
2 limes - zest and juiced
1/8 cup cider or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro - chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste

Drain the beans of its soaking liquid, and place them in a 2 quart pot. Cover the beans with 6 cups of water along with a have of the sliced ginger. Bring to a boil and cook until the beans are tender to the bite – approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Drain the beans discarding the pieces of ginger; reserving 1-1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Return the beans along with the onion and garlic as well the reserved liquid to the pot. Simmer the beans for 15 to 20 minutes covered, and then add the zest of the lime and vinegar. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Finish the beans with the lime juice, salt, pepper and chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

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