Joy Of Cooking: Two Grain Date Pilaf

Two Grain Date Pilaf is the third bean/grain recipe that I have tried from Joy of Cooking. This is a really interesting recipe. It pairs basmati rice and bulgur wheat. That is a combination I would never have thought of on my own.

I cut the recipe in half. So here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup diced dates

In a medium sauce pan (that has a lid) saute the butter and onion over medium heat, until the onion turns golden, about 8 minutes. Add the rice, bulgur and cinnamon, stir to coat with butter.

Butter, Onions, Rice and Bulgur

Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover. Reduce heat to medium low heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter. I did that in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. Stir the chopped dates into the butter. This gives the a delicious coating and causes them to separate a bit. They are very sticky and want to clump up.

When the rice and bulgur are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, add the date mixture. Gently stir to combine.

Two Grain Date Pilaf

I served my pilaf with a cauliflower curry.

Two Grain Pilaf with Cauliflower Curry

 

The pilaf was really delicious.  The combination of bulgur and rice was unusual and made the dish visually interesting. The bulgur gave it a nuttiness. It had a nice texture. The dates gave it an exotic flair. The butter added a richness. It tasted great with my cauliflower curry.  I think it would be a nice accompaniment with a piece of chicken and a nice green vegetable.

What’s the verdict? This is a great dish to have in your repertoire. It’s easy and quick to prepare.The ingredients are inexpensive. Though the pilaf has an exotic taste, all of the ingredients are widely available.

If I were to make this dish again, I think I would add more dates. They were good. Or I might leave out the dates altogether and add some sliced mushrooms to the butter and onion saute.

That reminds me…butter and onions really add a lot to a grain dish! I am going to remember to do that more often. Yes, it adds a little bit of fat. But it also adds so much flavor.

I couldn’t really taste the cinnamon. I have had those cinnamon sticks on my shelf for quite a while. Maybe they lost their oomph. Next time I might just put in a good pinch of ground cinnamon instead. Or I might try some cardamom. Another delicious spice.

Last but not least, some toasted cashews would be a great addition to this dish.

On The Road With Beans and Grains

It’s been almost two weeks since I posted last. Husband and I are on an extended vacation in our 27′ travel trailer. We left home on May 28 and won’t return until the middle of July. We are spending the month of June in a gorgeous National Forest Campground just North of Durango, Colorado. This is the third year in a row that we have made this trip.

Haviland Lake National Forest Campground

So how does one enjoy beans and grains in a travel trailer at an elevation of 8500 feet above sea level? There are some challenges!

The first problem is the elevation. I have never successfully cooked beans at high elevation. I assume that there are people who can do it – but I am not one of them. So most of the beans that I enjoy during the month of June will either be from a can or eaten at a restaurant. The elevation does not seem to be an issue when cooking grains. So I can prepare whole grains to my hearts content, with a few caveats.

Our trailer has a “full kitchen”. It has all of the same appliances as my kitchen at home but they are smaller. We have a refrigerator, stove top, oven and microwave. In addition to that we brought along a toaster oven, a small crock pot and we have an outdoor gas grill.

I should tell you that my crock pot is really small. It holds 6 cups or one and a half quarts. That is the perfect size for us. It leaves us just the right amount of leftovers. I got mine at our grocery store for less than $10. You can get a similar one at Amazon. It is the Proctor Silex 1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker.

We almost never use the oven in our trailer. It just generates too much heat in this small space. If we turn on the oven for even a few minutes, the whole trailer gets uncomfortably hot even on the coldest days. The stove top creates a similar problem though to a lesser degree. We do use it for quick jobs like scrambling an egg but we try to avoid using it to boil a pot of pasta. Too much heat! So most of our cooking is done in the microwave, the toaster oven, the crock pot or on the outside grill.

Cooking a big pot of whole grains on the stove top would be problematic. But I think I have a way around this! I have an idea that I can cook many types of grains in my crock pot. I did some research ahead of time. I have some recipes in hand. I will be experimenting with that.

Vegetable Barley Soup –  My first run at cooking grains on the road, was to prepare a crock pot full of vegetable barley soup. I am on record as loving soup. I think it is a perfect meal to have on hand. You can just heat it up, serve it with a salad and some bread or crackers. You are in business.

Barley Soup, Good Bread, and Condiments

This was a refrigerator soup…I just used whatever I had in the fridge. I cut up a zucchini, a small new potatot, and some celery and carrots. I added those to my small crock pot along with a quarter cup of barley and enough water to fill the crock pot 2/3 full. I let that cook on high for 3 hours. By that time everything was very tender. I added a half can of crushed tomatoes, oregano and paprika.  We ate that with a salad, some grilled bread, Louisiana Hot Sauce and some pesto from a tube for a bit of additional flavor. Very delicious. Very satisfying. And the little crock pot cooked the soup nicely without heating things up at all!

Hobo Packs – Daughter is grown now but in her youth she went away every summer to Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX. She loved camp. She loved everything about it. She loved it so much that she went on to be a camp counselor while in college and later she worked for the camp as a staff member. One of the many things she learned at camp was to make Hobo Packs. This has become a real favorite at our house.

A Hobo Pack is nothing more than a foil packet that is stuffed with all the the things you like and the thrown on a hot grill. Cooking times vary of course. It is as much an art as a science.  A Hobo Pack is great anytime because it is quick and easy to prepare and the clean-up is a breeze. You can find a lot of recipe ideas at the Reynolds Wrap website.

I decided to make Hobo Pack enchiladas. I had a packet of Green Chili Enchilada Sauce from Frontera Grill, corn tortillas, canned black beans, chopped zucchini, grated cheese, a large sheet of heavy duty foil and I hot grill. It’s almost that easy!

Ingredients for Hobo Pack Enchiladas

I used a piece of heavy duty foil (or you could double up on regular foil) that was sprayed with Pam. On the bottom of the stack I put a small dollop of enchilada sauce. Then I layered a corn tortilla, drained black beans, chopped zucchini, a nice sprinkling of cheese and some more sauce.

Layering the Enchilada Hobo Pack

I reapeated that layer one more time and then topped with one last tortilla and enchilada sauce to cover. Tightly seal the foil packet. You don’t want it to leak!

Ready for the Grill

I put the packet on a screaming hot gas grill. It temperature gauge said that it was 500 degrees. Husband was cooking some chicken at the same time so he very kindly put up a “foil bridge”. Chicken makes me gag so he tries to keep it from splattering on my packet. Husband is very thoughtful!

Keeping my foil pack away from Husband's chicken!

It just needed to cook long enough got the zucchini to get tender, the cheese to melt and the flavors to come together. I cooked mine for about 15 minutes. Then I opened up the packet, sprinkled additional cheese on top, set it back on the grill for the cheese to melt.

Melted Cheese on Top

I served that with a salad of iceberg lettuce and radishes. I topped it off with some sour cream and had lots of salsa on the side. This was delicious! It was such a quick and easy way to make enchiladas! I can think of lots of variations on this meal; different sauce, different beans, more vegetables, shredded beef or chicken, etc. We will make this again. And again. And again.

So Delicious! The photo does not do it justice!

 

Rice in the Slow Cooker – My first attempt at making a pot of grains in the crock pot was with white rice. OK – I know you aren’t supposed to eat white rice. It’s brown rice all the way. But I like white rice. Husband likes white rice.  I find it easier to cook than brown rice. It seemed like a good place to start experimenting with grains in the slow cooker.

I don’t have any photos of this so you will have to take my word for it. I wanted to make something creamy and comforting so I used a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.  Here is my recipe:

  • One can of Cream of Mushroom Soup into the crock pot
  • Fill the empty soup can with water and pour that in the crock pot
  • Now fill the empty soup can with rice and put that in the crock pot
  • Add some chopped green chilies if desired
  • Stir to combine
  • Turn the crock pot on high
  • Check after an hour – give it a stir.
  • Mine was done in about an hour and 45 minutes but I found recipes that said it might take as long as 3 hours.

This is a fantastic way to make rice on the trailer. It didn’t create any significant heat. It was creamy and delicious. And I could get it started and then go off and do fun things for a while.

I am very happy that I know this recipe. It is a good addition to my list of go-to’s!

Living Out of My Pantry – Days Eight and Nine

I am past the half way mark now. My urge to go to the grocery store is almost overwhelming. But for now I am comforting myself with preparing a grocery list. That’s pretty satisfying!

Day Eight – For dinner I made a meal that few people other than me would actually want to eat. But this is one of my favorite things. Cabbage sauteed with onions and Rotel. I love cabbage. I don’t know many folks who share my love of cabbage. Fortunately I started off this project with a whole head of cabbage on hand. Lucky!

I also love Rotel.

I try to always have a can of Rotel in my pantry. I believe that almost everything is improved by Rotel.

This could not be simpler to prepare. I used a quarter of a head of cabbage and sliced that fairly thin, and sauteed the cabbage and with some onion in olive oil.

Sauteing Cabbage and Onions

When the cabbage is wilted, pour in a can of Rotel – juice and all – and let that simmer for 5 or 10 minutes. If it gets dry, add a little water. It should be juicy!

Cabbage and Rotel - Yum

I usually eat this mixture over penne pasta but in this case I decided to use a whole grain. I had a bag of mixed 5 grain; farro, barley, brown rice, kamut and oats.

Quick Cooking 5 Grain Mix

I cooked this according to the package directions. It took about 20 minutes start to finish. My store sells this as a Store Brand so I doubt that it is widely available. You might look for something like it. It is low in calories, high in fiber, protein and nutrients. It is a little pricey but it tastes good, it’s healthy and it’s quick to prepare. The trifecta.

A Pot of 5 Grain Mix

This cooks up in very distinct grains. It isn’t at all mushy.

I was afraid that without pasta, I might not enjoy my cabbage quite as much. But it was great. The whole grains were tasty and a bit chewy. They were an excellent accompaniment to this dish. I ate it with just a little Parmesan cheese grated on top. I ate every last bite of that cabbage.

One of My Favorite Meals - Cabbage and Rotel

Husband passed on this meal. He does not share my love of cabbage!

Day Nine – I am really trying to be inventive about using up the perishable items that are currently available to me. After a quick inventory of my refrigerator, the two items that were nearing the end of their shelf life were coconut milk (opened that can on Day Two ) and the rest of the butternut squash (also Day Two)

I made a spicy black bean soup with butternut squash and coconut milk. This is a recipe that I improvised, combining ideas and ingredients from several other recipes.

I cut the remaining squash into small cubes, yielding about 2 cups.

The Last of the Butternut Squash

I tossed the squash in a bit of olive oil and but it on a foil lined baking sheet. I roasted the squash for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. It was slightly browned and quite tender.

Meanwhile, I cooked a cup of dried black beans with some chopped onion and 2 dried chipotle peppers in my small slow cooker. When the beans were tender I let them cool. In my new Vitamix blender, I pureed the beans, the chipotle chilies, the squash and a half cup of coconut milk. This turned into a beautifully pureed soup. I returned the soup to the slow cooker and let it simmer until dinner was ready. Just before serving, I added the juice of one lime to add a bright fresh note.

A Delicious But Homely Pot of Black Bean Soup

There is just no way to make black bean soup look pretty. Sorry!

To go with this very flavorful and spicy soup, I made a 5 Grain Waldorf Salad.

Some of the Ingredients for 5 Grain Waldorf Salad

I combined chopped celery, apple and toasted walnuts with raisins and leftover 5 Grain mix. I topped that with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey and fresh lemon juice. The result was sweet and tart.

Really Good 5 Grain Waldorf Salad

This salad was spectacular. I can’t go on enough about how good this tasted. The grains were chewy. The apples and celery were crunchy. Nutty. Tart. Sweet. This salad really had it going on. Husband and I both loved this salad. It’s a keeper.

Dinner - Spicy Soup, Cooling Salad

The soup was spicy and full of flavor. The salad was fresh and refreshing. This was good combination and a great pantry meal!

Bean and Grain Burgers in the New York Times

Last week I posted about making bean and grain burgers. I adapted my recipe from several several recipes that I had seen by Mark Bittman. As it turns out,at about the time that I was posting, The New York Times was running an article on the same subject; meatless burgers made out of beans, grains and vegetables.

The article was contributed by Martha Rose Schulman, a regular columnist in the food section of The Times. She writes an article called “Recipes for Health”. Her interest is in serving delicious, healthy, seasonal foods. She is an award winning cookbook author (Books By This Author), celebrity chef, educator and food consultant.

On March 26 her article, titled “Tasty Burgers Without the Meat” is not only interesting but gives 4 recipes for meatless burgers.  She likes to serve her burgers as a stand alone item (without the bun). Her recipes sound terrific and are all accompanied by a photo.

Her recipes have the same basic ingredients as the burgers I presented last week – but they have some interesting flavor combinations that I am sure are great.The recipes in The Times are for:

  • Mushroom and Grain Burgers (barley and chickpeas)
  • Quinoa and Greens Burger with Asian Flavors (quinoa and white beans)
  • Curried Lentil, Rice and Carrot Burgers (rice and lentils)
  • Beet, Rice and Goat Cheese Burgers (rice and white beans)

In her article she recommeds a book by Lukas Volger, “Veggie Burgers Every Which Way: Fresh, Flavorful and Healthy Vegan and Vegetarian Burgers – Plus Toppings, Sides, Buns and More“.

 

Beans and Grains In Paradise

Husband and I spent the last two weeks on The Big Island, Hawaii. We had a fantastic trip. And we managed to eat some good beans and grains along the way.

Before we left Texas, I did some research about beans and grains on the Hawaiian islands. As it turns out, Hawaii doesn’t really have a rich tradition of dried beans. I am guessing that is because they have a year round growing season that provides gorgeous fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice seems to be the grain of choice in Hawaii.

We stayed in a fantastic condo that had a nice kitchen. I had a few recipes that I found on the Internet for Hawaiian style beans and grains. I knew that there were several Farmers Markets that we could go to. So I went to Hawaii prepared to see what types of beans and grains I could find and how I could use the local produce to make some delicious meals.

Our Condo - Isn't it Gorgeous!

On day one we went to the local supermarket. There were lots of bean and grain options. To my surprise there were several kinds of dried mung beans on the shelves. I don’t think I have ever seen that at my grocery. I had no idea what to do with mung beans (but it is on my list of things to learn more about!). I stuck with some tried and true options. This is what I came home with:

Beans and grains from the local grocery

The following day we went to the Farmers Market in Waimea. The selection of fresh produce was absolutely incredible. I wanted to buy at least one of everything. Husband had to rein me in. There is only so much that two people can eat!

Produce from the Farmer's Market

In addition to these goodies, we had a pineapple, some papayas and bananas.

The first thing that I made was a big batch of rice.  I cooked the rice with several large pieces of ginger. When the rice was done I pulled out the pieces of ginger, but they left behind a pleasant flavor. We ate the rice as a simple side dish one evening and saved the remainder for future meals.

Rice and Ginger

I also cooked a batch of white beans. Fortunately our condo had a crock pot. So I put the beans on to cook and we went to the beach and played.

White Beans

I have told you that I am a vegetarian. What I haven’t mentioned is that I occasionally eat fish – though I never, ever eat mammals or birds, and certainly not reptiles! Since we were in Hawaii, surrounded by fresh seafood, I did eat some fish on this vacation.

Our next meal at home was fish sandwiches with Hawaiian Baked Beans. I found several recipes for Hawaiian Baked Beans. I read someplace that baked beans are often served at Luaus. I can’t give you exact measurements on this recipe. I was sort of making it up as I went along. Baked beans are essentially cooked beans baked with a barbecue-like sauce. To make the sauce I used ketchup, honey, vinegar, soy sauce and sambal. Sambal is a chili paste that you can buy at most grocery stores.

Then I added about a cup of chopped, fresh pineapple. That’s what makes it Hawaiian. I mixed the sauce and the pineapple with about 3 cups of beans and put it all in a baking dish. I topped it all off with some crushed Maui potato chips and crushed macadamia nuts. I was gilding the lilly. I baked that in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until it is bubbling hot.  It was delicious. The pineapple was fantastic. I will never again make baked beans without pineapple!

 

Hawaiian Baked Beans

 

A day or two later, we got some fresh mahi-mahi so that we could make fish tacos. We had avacado from the Farmers Market so we could have some guacamole. We had tomatoes and chilis, so I made salsa. I cheated on the beans here…we bought a can of refried beans and topped them with grated cheese. I was on vacation – it’s OK to buy canned beans! Last but not least, I made some Spanish Rice. I cooked a pot of rice with a good spoonful of paprika, some finely chopped tomato, onion and bird chili.  I served all of that with some corn tortillas. Very fresh and tasty.

Refrieds and Spanish Rice

Our next Farmers Market was in Hilo, on the other side of the Island, about 80 miles away. Hilo makes me think of Old Hawaii. It is sort of a funky little, laid-back town. The Farmers Market is enormous and a little weird. They have a lot of prepared foods and an amazing variety of produce. In general, Hawaii is pretty expensive. But you can get a lot of produce for very little money at the Hilo Farmers Market.

Hot Dog Sushi available at the Hilo Farmers Market

We didn’t buy any hot dog sushi but we did bring home some beautiful fruits and vegetables. We made a simple Farmers Market meal that consisted of corn on the cob (that’s a grain!), sliced fresh tomato, sliced avacado, and a cut up papaya. I had some fresh goat cheese from the previous Farmers Market. I served all of that with a baguette from the nearby bakery. In general, I am not all that crazy about corn on the cob, but this corn was delicious. The best I have ever had.

Farmers Market Dinner

Finally, to use up the ginger rice that I had cooked earlier in the week, I made a big batch of Hawaiian Fried Rice. I stir fried carrots, onions, chilis, and cabbage. Then added cold rice to the skillet. After the rice heated through, I made a well in the center of the skillet and dropped in a beaten egg. After the egg set up, I stirred it into the rice mixture. I stirred in some chopped pineapple (that’s what makes it Hawaiian!), then seasoned the whole thing with some soy sauce and a little drizzle of sesame oil.  I topped it with chopped macademia nuts.

Fried Rice with pineapple and macademia nuts

I had lots of other bean and grain ideas that I just didn’t get around to. The fresh produce was so good that it really eclipsed most of my other ideas. But that’s how travel is; you go and see what your destination has to offer and then you roll with it. I was glad that I had cooked beans and rice in my refrigerator. But in this instance I think they were more in the background while the fruits and vegetables took center stage.

I still want to learn more about mung beans. We’ll save that for a future post!

Sunset In Hawaii

Week Seven – Navy Beans and Steel Cut Oats (and some rice for good measure)

After a Thanksgiving week full of fattening, but delicious foods, I was ready to get back on the beans and grains bandwagon. On Sunday I cooked a half pound of navy beans and a pot of steel cut oats. I also made a pot of rice that we could use for dinners. I just couldn’t see us eating oatmeal any other time than breakfast.

As I was getting my navy beans ready to cook, I started wondering how they are different from great northern beans, which I cooked a few weeks back. Navy beans are a little bit smaller and I think they hold together better when they are cooked. As far as their flavor, they are quite similar. I think they could be easily interchanged in recipes.

Great Northern Beans (left); Navy Beans (right)

I cooked a pot of McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal.

I used Martha Stewart’s overnight method. To have my oatmeal ready on Monday morning, I started on Sunday night. I brought two and a half cups of water to a boil. I added 2/3 cup of steel cut oats (not the quick cooking kind). Gave that a stir, let it cool and then stuck it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, I put the pot back on the stove, brought it to a boil and simmered for about 12 minutes.  Martha Stewart calls that two servings. I call it three.

 

A Pot of Steel Cut Oats

 

I also made a pot of rice. I used Ming Tsai’s brown and white rice mix. I soaked a cup of brown rice in water for a couple of hours, then drain. Mix the soaked brown rice with a cup of white rice, and three cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

So we had a whole lot of beans and grains on hand to start the week. Get busy eating!

Day One- Senate Bean Soup. This famous soup  is served every day in the US Congressional dining area. That is a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century. The recipe and the beans vary. But the traditionally, they use navy beans. I used the recipe found in the Joy of Cooking.  You can find lots of recipes online as well.  I used about 2 cups of cooked beans and all of the bean broth. I added some finely diced celery and onion, a bay leaf, a little bit of smoked paprika, and a cup of diced potatoes. I had some little Yukon Gold potatoes on hand, butI think Russet Potatoes are more traditional. I cooked this in my small crock pot. I added some water to the mixture as well. I cooked all this until the potatoes were not just tender, but falling apart. I put about half of the soup into the blender and pureed it (Be careful with hot soup in a blender!). I  added the pureed soup back to the pot.

 

Senate Bean Soup

 

This was really good. I have never cooked this before because the recipe calls for a ham hock. I was afraid that without the ham this soup wouldn’t have much going for it. But it was great. The paprika added a nice color and a smoky flavor. I served the soup with salad and a loaf of homemade bread.  Husband and I both loved this.

Day Two, Three and Four – Oatmeal for Breakfast. My partially prepared oatmeal had been sitting in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning I finished the preparation and had a nice bowl of oatmeal. I added some vanilla almond milk to it. And topped that off with chopped dried apricots, banana and some slivered almonds. I used agave syrup as a sweetner. But honey or brown sugar would have been every bit as good.

I had plenty of oatmeal for three breakfasts. I tried to change up the toppings each day so that I would have some variety. I found a link to a segment Mark Bittman did on the Today Show called “Five Ways to Jazz Up Your Oatmeal“.  Following his advice, on the second oatmeal morning, I added peanut butter and bananas to my bowl of steel cut oats.  And the next day I added coconut and raisins. I was sorry when my oatmeal was all gone! Oatmeal is a nice way to start the day.

One last thought about oatmeal. I found several websites that sang the praises of savory oatmeal. You could eat savory oatmeal for breakfast or for any other meal of the day. I was interested in that idea, but most of the recipes called for cheese, bacon, an over-easy egg, or some combination of those things. Runny eggs turn me off. But I am interested in the savory oatmeal idea. I just need a little more time to wrap my head around it. Check out this website for some savory oatmeal ideas and some gorgeous photos.

Day Three – Stir Fry and Fried Rice. I wanted a nice stir fry for dinner and Husband wanted fried rice. I am sure that you have noticed that Husband and I often eat different dinners. We have been doing that for years and it is a result of our different diets and preferences. He eats fish and fowl. And I don’t. There are many nights when we each cook up a separate meal. But we always cook together. And we always sit down and eat together. It works for us.

Anyway, on Day Three, I cooked for both of us. Our meals were similar enough that it was easy for me to do. I stir fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, carrots, sugar snap peas. When the vegetables were crisp tender, I added some pineapple chunks to the wok. I made a quick sauce of soy sauce, juice from the pineapple and some chili paste.

For the fried rice I used the same vegetables but cut them up a little smaller. Stir fried those, added a couple of cups of cold cooked rice to the pan. Stir fried that a bit. Then created a well in the middle of the rice and added a beaten egg. When the egg had set up, I stirred it into the other ingredients. I seasoned all that with soy sauce and topped it with some cilantro and chopped peanuts. Husband added some chopped up, left over turkey to his fried rice.

Day Four – Three Bean Salad. Husband had a turkey burger for dinner and I had a veggie burger. We made some oven fried potatoes. And I put together a nice three bean salad using the cooked navy beans. I used a cup of navy beans and about a half cup each of canned green beans and canned kidney beans.  I added chopped red onion and celery. I made a dressing for the salad with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a little bit of honey for sweetness. The beans and dressing marinated together for about an hour in the refrigerator. A very nice side dish.

Day Five – White Bean Spread with Pita Chips. This is a recipe that I got from a cookbook written by Heidi Swanson. It’s a great book with lots of recipes for beans and grains. The book is called Super Natural Every Day.

I put to tablespoons of good olive oil in a small saucepan. I added a garlic clove, cut in half and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Rosemary grows like a weed in South Texas. I have several plants growing in my front yard.  Heat the olive oil to infuse it with the garlic and rosemary. Remove the garlic clove and the rosemary stem.

In my food processor I combined a cup of drained navy beans, about 2/3 of the infused olive oil, a healthy squeeze of lemon, a small handful of slivered almonds.  Process that to a smooth consistency. You may need to add a little bit of water to get it just right.

Put the dip in a small serving dish. Top with remaining oil and some slivered almonds. Serve with pita chips. It was a great afternoon snack. I only wish that I had made it earlier in the week so that I could have been snacking on it all along.

Day Six – Cauliflower Biryani. Biryani is an South Asian rice dish. I am certain that I didn’t make a traditional biryani. But that’s what I am calling it. I sliced up some cauliflower, sprayed it with olive oil and put it in a hot oven to roast for about 12 minutes. Meanwhile I browned some onions in a skillet. Then added some chopped tomato and chopped cilantro to the skillet. When the tomatoes were softened I added a little bit of curry powder and let the spices bloom for a minute or so. I added some of my navy beans and some kidney beans as well.  I added the roasted cauliflower and a cup of rice. This was a very nice lunch dish. If I had had some chutney it would have been perfect!

My so-called biryani served in a tiffin dish

Post Mortem on the Navy Beans and Steel Cut Oats – I am going to start making those steel cut oats every week! It is a great breakfast. And as we learned from Mark Bittman, it can be dolled up in lots of different ways. The Senate Bean Soup was delicious. Next time I will make a bigger batch so that I can have leftovers. The navy beans were easy to cook.  They are mild tasting so they are extremely versatile. I also had a pot of rice. Because I limited my oatmeal to breakfast…that seemed to be a nice addition. This was a great bean and grain week.