Saturday, December 17, 2016

Black Bean Chili

3 12 oz. bags of frozen mixed colored bell peppers and onions

4 15 oz. cans of black beans

2 15 oz cans of red beans*

2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes

1 6 oz can of tomato paste

2 Tbs. of chili powder†

cooking oil.

1. Open the cans of beans dump them into a colander and rinse the goo from the can off of them. The goo contains calcium chloride and is there to keep the beans from turning to mush.

2. Cover the bottom of the pot with the cooking oil. Saute the pepper and onion mix until the onions are cooked and most of the water has evaporated.

3. Add the chili powder to the cooked pepper and onions mix, and stir and cook a bit until the chili powder has dispersed and dissolved a bit. This should only take a minute or two, but you do not want the powder to lump up.

4. Add the diced tomatoes to the pot and stir. Cook until they the ingredients start to simmer.

5. Add the beans and bring to a boil.

6. Add the tomato paste.

7. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer for at little while.

Makes about 3 quarts.

*Yes, I know, it says black bean chili. But, it is my recipe. I detest the very existence of kidney beans and would never put them in a dish I prepared. If I could not use red beans, I would go with white beans, or maybe pintos.

†I use the Regular Chili Powder from Penzeys. I have also used Spice Islands. If you want to use hotter mixes, or you want to add cayenne, Tabasco, or Sriracha, go for it.

Baked Salmon with Sauce

I should begin by stating that I really don't like fish very much. If I had my druthers, it would seldom be on my menu.

One of the problems of eating fish these days, is the limited assortment of fish species available in most stores and restaurants. I assume, but do not know, that this is a consequence of the growth of the population and the simultaneous decline of world wide fisheries. Particularly where I live, far from a large body of water, most of the available fish is farmed.

One of the few farmed species that we find acceptable, and which can be cooked without large quantities of additional fat (which is always an issue in this house) is Atlantic salmon. Please note that Atlantic and Pacific salmon are different species of fish, that differ quite a bit in taste and texture. Both of us find the pacific salmon to be hard and more strongly flavored than we like.

We prepare the salmon by marinating 8 oz fillets in Kikkoman teriyaki sauce for an hour. I only use the original variety of Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce. I once tried the "Less Sodium" variety and found it to be vile. I have not tried any of the other variants.

I then drain and bake the fillets in an open pan in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.

For a sauce, I mix the following:

6 oz. plain yogurt*

an equal quantity of mayonnaise†

a palmful of dried cilantro‡ rubbed between the hands to crumble it and release the flavor

a heaping teaspoon of ground cumin seed

*The exact type of yogurt is up to you. A regular yogurt will produce a thinner sauce, A Greek style yogurt will produce a thicker sauce. I recently discovered a 6% Plain Yogurt from Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy Ohio which contains 6% butterfat. It is creamy and wonderful. It appears have some distribution outside of its native turf in Southeastern Ohio.

†Go ahead and make your own if you wish. I use Hellmann's (Best Foods West of the Rockies) Real Mayonnaise. People who use Kraft are on their own. People who use Miracle Whip are beyond hope.

‡I have also used dill.