Tag Archives: beans

Good Morning, Tamale Casserole!

A while back, I made an argument for taking back the microwave, and I stand by that argument. While not appropriate for cooking most dishes, it can be really effective in the throwing together of a meal in under thirty minutes. I’m not necessarily one of those 30-minute-meal types: I like to languish in the kitchen, relax, chop and slice and cook at leisure. This is, understandably, why most of my meals clock in around 45 minutes to an hour, and also why, reasonably, I don’t tend to do a lot of cooking mid-week. Unless eating out or being cooked for, I tend to subsist on whatever is readily available in the kitchen.

Thankfully for my appetite, The Garden of Vegan not only contains wonderful vegan recipes, it features an entire chapter on microwaveable meals. Coming across a recipe for “Tamale Pie” I was immediately entranced – all the goodness of a cornmeal-crusted casserole in exactly half the time I would usually make something like this. Despite a minor error with the cornmeal topping, this came out delicious, hearty, and very, very quickly.

Best of all, this dish is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. It’s so fast, make two and save the other one for later in the week.

Tamale Casserole

Ingredients
– 3/4 cup cornmeal
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 cups water
– 2 cans beans, your choice, drained and rinsed (I used black and pinto)
– 1 cup corn
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 1 small green pepper, chopped
– 1 cup tomato sauce
– 1/2 tsp cayenne
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1 tsp dried basil
– 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional)
– 1/4 cup jalapeno, sliced (optional)

– In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, salt, and water. Microwave for 6 minutes. The cornmeal should be a firm mush.
– In a microwaveable casserole dish, add the beans, corn, onion, and pepper. Cover with sauce and spices. Cover the whole dish with the cornmeal mixture and add the jalapeno on top, if using. Microwave for 8 – 12 minutes, until the cornmeal is crisp on top and the entire dish is heated through.

(Recipe adapted from “Tamale Pie” in The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard)

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Good Morning… Uh, er… Good Afternoon!


My Sunday afternoon laziness delivers rewards once again!

It was a withdrawal weekend for me and my partner. While the pro football season is still going strong, it’s just about over for college football (except for the bowl games, but we have to wait for those). Luckily, nice weather on Saturday gave us a good excuse to enjoy a few hours outdoors, including some backyard time spent tossing the football back and forth. (I’m getting better, really! I can almost throw a consistent spiral.)

Something I didn’t do this weekend was make it to the Strip for my bi-weekly produce shopping. (After a Friday night out late, celebrating a friend’s birthday, I needed a morning in.) My fridge was stocked with tofu from DeWalt’s World of Health on Potomac (selling extra firm 1lb water-packed tofu for $1.20 each) and I had a few remnants from my post-Thanksgiving Strip trip, but otherwise, not much to work with.

Luckily for our Sunday afternoon late brunch, I had just enough to make us a decent round of vegan “huevos rancheros,” this time with the added novelty of tomatilloes. Note to self: as long as there are cans of beans in the cupboard, you will eat like a king. Good thing to remember when I’m a broke student next fall.


Sunday Afternoon Lazy Man’s Tofu’n’Beans

Ingredients
– 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 pound extra tofu
– 5-7 small tomatilloes, sliced
– 1 large sweet potato, sliced
– 1 avocado, sliced
– 1/2 tbsp liquid smoke
– 1 tbsp turmeric
– 1/2 tbsp Arizona Dreaming spice from Penzey’s (you can use any Tex-Mex style spice blend, or better yet, make your own!)
– 1 tsp onion salt
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– Ground black pepper (to taste)
– 1 tbsp salsa (I used an extra hot jalapeno salsa)
– 4 corn tortillas (optional)
– Olive oil (as needed)

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour about two tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet. Peel and slice the sweet potato, then toss on the oiled baking sheet. Lightly season with onion salt and pepper. Toss again to evenly distribute seasoning, then place in oven. About ten minutes later, flip the potatoes. You want them tender, but a little crunchy on the exterior.

– While the potatoes are baking, drain the tofu and squeeze out excess water (if you’re gentle, you can do this by hand just by squeezing the tofu like a sponge, but gentleness is key). Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a non-stick pot – again, amount is really up to how oily you like your dish – and set at medium heat. Add tofu, tomatilloes, liquid smoke, and turmeric. Cook for about five minutes, then add the beans and the rest of the seasoning (including the salsa). Cover and turn heat to low. Let this cook for about ten to fifteen minutes (the longer the better).

– Suggested plating: Two corn tortillas on the plate, a layer of the roasted sweet potatoes, then the tofu’n’beans. Top with avocado slices.