I know I'm a couple of days early, but I literally couldn't contain my excitement for another second. There are no words to describe my everlasting love for my shiny, green new vegetarian cookbook- and let me tell you, does it ever live up to its name. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is almost 1,000 pages long, chock full of every little piece of advice for cooks ranging from novice (me) to pro (me someday in the distant future... hopefully). He answers questions like: What is quinoa? How do you choose a good onion at the store? What in the world do you do with leeks anyway?
My first dish- well, actually, it was a side for an impromptu quesadilla recipe I made up with zucchini, diced tomatoes and onions, and the ever-important cheese- was Beer-Glazed Black Beans. This was very exciting to me for three reasons: 1. I love cooking with beans because they are a good source of protein; 2. Um this recipe calls for beer. Of course that's the first thing I'm going to try out from this book. 3. I still have no idea what to do with tofu yet.
These beans were a vegetarian's answer to old-fashioned maple baked beans. They were sweet and hearty and complete with onion and garlic (because everyone knows that NOTHING is complete without onion and garlic). We used Sam Adams Boston Ale for this recipe, and the author, Mark Bittman, gives his readers the freedom to use any kind they like, as different beers will yield dramatically different flavors.
Beer-Glazed Black Beans
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 20 minutes with cooked beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup beer
3 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained but still moist, liquid reserved
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon honey, or for a vegan version, molasses
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Put the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for about a minute, then add the beer, beans, chili powder, honey, and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.
2. Bring to a steady bubble and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
P.S. I HIGHLY recommend using Williams-Sonoma's Vegetable Chop and Measure. I was able to slice and dice the onions AND mince the garlic using this puppy. Huge time-saver!