Tuesday, March 17, 2009

At Last

The return is scheduled to arrive four days from now yet is nature ready to release the earth. I am trying to spot crocus that have pushed through the perma-frost offering the first glimpse of color and tender reveal of the next season. I know though even with these signs it is still 4 to 6 weeks before I will be blessed with verdant leaves and crisp young stems to adorn my daily plate.

So, while I wait, and try to maintain my sanity during I what consider the worst food interval – that period between winter’s end and spring’s release – I am still able to live off my stores. I am knowledgeable enough to have squirreled away a sufficient amount to give some depth to the blandness of the moment. I still have a decent stash of tomatoes in the freezer; dwindling jars of pickled cucumbers, cabbage, carrots and chilies, and the last of the shelling beans dried for a future meal.

I will not watch the calendar rather I will be conscience of the weather, and light a candle to ward off any late season snowstorm. Let it rain. Let it sun. Let it grow!

Tomato stewed Black Beans – yields 6 servings
1-1/4 cup dried black beans
1-inch piece of ginger root – cut in half lengthwise
1-teaspoon whole coriander seed
1-teaspoon whole cumin seed
1-can (13.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1-tablespoon Mexican achiote paste
5 garlic cloves – chopped
1 medium-sized onions – chopped

Soak the beans in 4 cups of water for about eight hours. Drain the beans, and place in a 2-quart saucepan along with the ginger root. Cover with 4-cups of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the beans for an hour to hour and half – until tender.

Drain the beans, reserving about 1/2-cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the ginger root.

To the 2-quart saucepan return the drained beans, coriander, cumin, tomato, achiote, garlic and onions. Bring back to the boil, and then reduce down to a simmering. Season with salt simmering for another hour.

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