A Year of Beans and Rice: Intro

Howdy, y'alls! It's been awhile, I know. If it's any consolation, I think of you often but I have a hard time putting virtual pen to paper. Believe me, it's not you, it's me. But I'm sure you've heard that line before.

ENNY-hooze, I eat a lot of beans and rice. They're cheap, it's easy to keep the main ingredients on hand, and I can usually get the meal on the table in less than 45 minutes if I have frozen cooked (brown) rice on hand (see below.) I have a short attention span and my main motivation to cook is to eat (as quickly as possible) something that qualifies are real food and tastes good, and most anything made with already-cooked rice and canned beans is going to meet that criteria. As a bonus, leftovers can (usually) be frozen, so make a double batch and get two meals for the effort of one.

If this sounds like a good idea, read on, my friend.

Since this a year of anything qualifies as A Project, I have to have A Plan, right? My plan is to post twice a month. Many of my favorite rice/bean recipes are already posted here, but I'm going to revisit them and tweak them if necessary. That will give me a few weeks' grace if the well starts to run dry. Not that that would ever happen... ahem. There may even be photos!

About that rice thing:

I've mentioned before that long-grain brown is my rice style of choice (most of the time.) Brown rice takes significantly longer to cook than white rice, and this is where my rice cooker shines. Every couple of weeks I set up a batch of brown rice in the cooker, wander off and get into all sorts of trouble, and when I remember to check it, it's done. I've also mentioned that I cook my brown rice at a straight 2:1 water to rice ratio so it's just done -- the individual grains aren't blown out. Then I freeze it in two cup portions in quart zip-top bags. Dump it in a bowl with a little bit of water, cover loosely, heat in the microwave for a few minutes, and it comes out quite nicely, thank you.

No rice cooker? Try this oven technique from Alton Brown.

And then there's the Dried Bean Issue. I've struggled over the years with varying degrees of success, but I've recently made some progress in this area, so maybe we'll talk about that, too.

Ready? Let the Year of Beans and Rice begin! I'll be back by the end of the month with a recipe, I promise.
(we all know how good I am at honoring those, don't we?)


Karen said...

Yay! New recipes :)

Amy Carey said...

LOVE it, Liz! I'm looking forward to future posts and recipes. I need to get away from animal protein myself so this will help.

Karen Frisa said...

I used to eat beans & rice a lot, but haven't had it much since that whole arsenic thing came out. Maybe you'll nudge me... (Glad to see you're back!)