Corn and Beans

This was a strange week– I didn’t do as much cooking as usual, and so much of what I did do was way too unremarkable to write about. The two best meals of the week were bean and/or corn based. (I guess I’m getting back into my Nicaraguan eating habits).

In an effort to use the last of the black beans I cooked a week prior, on Monday night I made bean soup. I had to make a variation of a recipe that we’ve come to love because when I tried to add the white beans, I realized I didn’t have any! So I made this soup:, sans white beans. It was still ridiculously good, especially with sliced avocado, sour cream, and cilantro on top. Also, I added a dried chipotle chili to the pot while the soup simmered, and then removed it before blending. If you can get your hands on dried chipotles, I highly recommend them as an addition to any soup or stew that would benefit from a slightly smoky flavor. I opted not to photograph the soup because really, it was not the slightest bit pretty. The lack of beans led the soup to turn out thinner than the original version, and although it was delicious, it looked not so nice…and considering my currently compromised photographic capabilities, it looked even worse as a jpeg than it did in my bowl.

The next meal worth mentioning was Friday night’s dinner. I was inspired by Mark Bittman’s variations on corn, pictured below. The graphic introduces 12 unique corn recipes, broken into 4 categories: cold, warm, soup, & fried cakes. This “Eat” column is from the August 26th issue of the New York Times Magazine.

What we ultimately selected from Bittman’s suggestions was no radical departure from our usual flavor/ingredient repertoire. The method, however, was new, and an improvement over the way I had been preparing our corn.  We went with “Mexican-style” (surprise, surprise), because we had some really fresh eggs that we were eager to use. Mexican-style called for sauteing onions, adding canned black beans with their juice, and then adding the raw corn kernels to the mixture. Until now, I had been steaming my corn on the cob and then cutting off the cooked kernels. In hindsight, that was silly. (Thank you, Mark Bittman, you truly are a model Minimalist). After the corn was cooked, we topped each serving with a fried egg or two (my egg was a double-yolker!) and garnished with cilantro and avocado. For such a simple, short ingredient list, the meal was a knockout.

Again, maybe not the most visually pleasing of creations, but it more than made up for it’s homeliness in flavor and freshness. And, like most things, it looks better better next to a glass of wine.


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