Our situation so far: Today our heroine is a) sleep-deprived and b) on deadline. Tomorrow I’m tied up on parental business, starting in early morning — yet another all-day field trip to pad out the last weeks of the school year. I didn’t drive for the last one (to Lansing), so I volunteered for this one, fool that I am. It’s to Greenfield Village, which we visited with the Girl Scouts just last month. Which means I’m at risk for boredom. But. Because driving also involves chaperone duties, I won’t be able to duck out at lunch and find some Arab food. (If Greenfield Village is Dearborn’s No. 1 tourist attraction, Arab food has to be No. 2.) And because driving means packing your car with other people’s children, I won’t be able to stop at an Arab bakery (No. 3) on the way home, either. Even though it would be good and good for you, educational and tasty.
So today it’s one big post that will have to carry you through tomorrow. I know you, my little chiclets, are fully capable of bouncing the ball around for that long, and today/tomorrow you’re going to have help. Our regular reader/commenter Jolene told me to tuck this away for a rainy day (and whaddaya know, it is raining):
What’s your go-to kitchen favorite?
Inspired by this WashPost blog post, which has links to several great recipes within, we’re looking for dishes you can make in your sleep, those things you whip up when you want something simple and good, when takeout won’t satisfy. Nothing too complicated, please; let’s work under the assumption none of us has a lot of time, but still want to eat something good.
I’ll go first:
If Alan and I divorce, it will be over this dish, which we both once loved but Alan has recently declared himself sick to death of. Well, that just moves it onto the lunch menu, which I eat by myself most days. And it is?
Black beans and rice
One medium onion
One colored pepper of the stoplight family (green, red, yellow)
One 14-ounce can black beans
One or two cups of rice, uncooked
Start the rice. Dice the onion and pepper and saute in oil (I prefer olive, but just-plain will do) until tender, then add beans (drained or undrained, depending on whether you like it soupy). Lower the heat and wait for the rice to finish. When it’s done and the beans are warmed through, make a bed of rice and ladle the beans on top. That’s it.
What I like about this dish is its tabula rasa-ness — you can add so much to it or just leave it alone. Tomatoes, hot peppers/sauce, leftover chicken, other vegetables, whatever you like that traditionally marries well with beans — it’s all good. It’s both a protein and a high-fiber gut-scrubber, which means it builds both muscles and farts. While you’re eating it, take note that beans and rice is a staple dish across the globe and has been for as long as both plants have been in cultivation. Four billion souls can’t be wrong.
What’s yours? Anyone who contributes Arab-food recipes gets extra points for making that stupid opening paragraph have a hidden point.
* Inside joke for Fort Wayners: Pat Parsley was the byline on the recipe-exchange column in my old newspaper. The woman who wrote it, most weeks, was named Susan. More MSM lies!