Rapini With Spiced Turtle Beans, Tuscan Beans With Kale And Craisins, Bean-Stuffed Squash, Oven-Baked Tofu
RAPINI WITH SPICED TURTLE BEANS
Way back when, I posted a variation on the bean recipe HERE - using back then soy beans rather than the turtle (or black) beans pictured here. I may have added a few extra little bits of this and that for interest, but the idea is the same: spicy hot (but not too hot) beans gently simmered with a sweetener (maple syrup works nicely, as does agave nectar, but I like organic molasses for this one to go with the rich taste of this kind of bean.) along with various spices (see recipe) to produce a delicious bean dish that keeps well in the refrigerator and can be used for a variety of dishes.
In this case, I served rapini (broccoli rabe), lightly done with a little garlic, to complete the Beans 'n' Greens meal. The contrast of the slight bitterness of the rapini with the beans is sensational.
TUSCAN BEANS WITH KALE AND CRAISINS
This is an old favourite, but I can't resist adding it in here. The recipe I have posted before, as HERE, although I, like most of people reading this blog, don't follow the recipe slavishly. Using lightly cooked shredded kale steamed with a touch of onion or garlic and some dried cranberries (craisins) not only looks wonderful and is good for us, but the slight sweetness of the cranberries turns the kale into something even more special than usual. As you will have gathered by now, I love putting slightly sweet dried fruit with 'cabbage-like' vegetables. One could used chopped dried apricots here, or raisins, currants - whatever. Again, it's Beans 'n' Greens in a simple but not boring way.
Now this was nearly a disaster. I used the photo to make the point that either of these bean recipes would be good, if there are any leftovers, in all sorts of ways - on toast, on a split baked potato, etc. Our preferred way is to stuff them into a small pre-baked squash (you choose your fave) and serve with whatever other leftovers or salad seem appropriate. In this case, I had some tofu that needed to be used quickly, the baked squash and the beans (and a green salad - always have the makings of a green salad here). But it was indeed nearly or perhaps actually a disaster. I left them in the oven that bit too long and the tofu, which was also marinated and then baked, got too much heat and the edge of the squash turned a little darker than was aesthetically desirable. Wanna see my disaster in the uncropped version? Here ya go:
Not a dish I am proud of! I actually can bake tofu successfully, however (and usually don't scorch my squash). Later in the week I made tofu to go with greens (much more sensible than adding it to beans, but as I say it needed to be used) and managed bake my marinated fingers of tofu enough to get just the right degree of colour and texture.
So simple, but it is easy to answer the phone and let it over-do. This was frozen tofu (makes a different texture) lightly squeezed to removed excess liquid after defrosting, then marinated in minced garlic (you can used the dried flakes if you are in a rush), ginger (powdered is a different taste, but it works for heat), crushed or powdered chilies - totally optional - a little mirin or other sweetener (just about half a tsp, but to taste), a shake of Bragg Liquid Amino/All-Purpose Seasoning, and a little water to help it not be too strong. Marinate in a flat dish and turn a couple of times while you're preparing something else, then put in a 375 F oven for as long as it takes - it depends on how thick you have cut the tofu strips or logs or fingers - turning once. You can used a light spray of oil on an oven tray or cookie sheet or put it all on top of a sheet of parchment paper. I find the spray of oil works better.
Serve hot with a drizzle of whatever you fancy and decorate according to your whimsy. Leftovers make great additions to a wrap or, cubed, a salad. We rarely have leftovers. *sigh*