Welcome to the Chef’s Corner with Chef Amy. My culinary training is from The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC where I studied health supportive culinary arts. You wouldn’t believe how many bean dishes we made during the program and how surprisingly easy they are to put together! Dried legumes are the way to start a healthful, blood sugar regulating, protein and nutrient rich dish. Canned and tetra packed legumes may contain added salts or other unwanted ingredients, they are more costly and most are packaged in BPA lined containers. So, don’t be afraid of dried legumes - they are easier to work with than you think!
Soaking your beans prior to cooking is ideal. This helps to release the phytic acid which can cause bloating and gas. I like to soak my beans for at least 8 hours in filtered water. If something comes up and I can’t cook them that night, I simple change the soaking water every 8 hours until I do have time to cook them.
When you are ready to cook your beans, put them in a pot and cover them with 2-3 inches of filtered water. I like to add a bay leaf or a piece of kelp and a pinch of sea salt. Bring the beans to a boil and skim the white foam and discard. After the foaming subsides, stir the pot, lower to a simmer and cover. Depending on the bean and your preference for texture, simmer for 20-90 minutes. Most beans are ready in about 40 minutes. Check multiple beans for doneness. I like to smash them between my thumb and forefinger to check. If it smashes easily, they’re ready.
Cowboy Caviar Recipe Outline
½ lb. Black-eyed peas, cooked and drained
½ lb. tomatoes, diced
½ lb. peppers, diced
¼ lb. onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. herbs, minced
2 T. citrus juice
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Toss everything together and enjoy. This will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
I consider recipes to be an outline for the real dish. Recipes can teach you techniques and an overall concept of a dish. Substitutions are always welcome- especially when your focus is local. A recipe that was created in Seattle, might not have every ingredient readily available in Central Florida, well without a heavy carbon food-print at least. So don’t fret if you don’t have everything on the list, just go with the flow. Fresh is always best and local is always freshest!
Tomatoes are available from Pure Produce and Kissimmee’s Green Place. You can choose between roma, grape, cherry, beefsteak and yellow taxis.
Peppers are available from Pure Produce and Kissimmee’s Green Place. You can choose between red, green, cubanelle and holland.
Kissimmee’s leeks, Global Organics’ shallots or cipollini onions will be delicious.
For herbs, try Pure Produce’s Cilantro, Sista Suzie’s spicy oregano, sorrel or parsley or even Kissimmee’s dill.
Lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit will give a nice punch. You might even want to add a little zest too.
If you have any questions, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org