Monday, July 11, 2011

Recipes using crushed legumes

I know: that's kind of a strange thing to blog about, but what can I say, I like legumes, whole or crushed, so let's get to it, shall we?

Several months ago, my cousin mentioned that she was making refried beans in her crock pot.  I like refried beans, but the one time I tried to make them myself, it didn't go so well, and it gets to be kind of expensive to buy them pre-made if you're only going to use 1/4 cup and then the rest is going to sit in the fridge forgotten until furry green stuff starts growing (*sigh*).  Did I mention I'm the only one in my household who likes refried beans?

So anyway, I tried her recipe about a month ago, and it was pretty good.  I froze it in individual portions, so no more green furries invading my yummy bean-y mush.  Here it is:

In a crock pot, place:
3 c. dry pinto beans (rinse and pick through first to remove any foreign debris)
1 onion halved (I would use a big one, or two small ones)
1 chopped jalapeno pepper--keep the seeds in
2 T fresh garlic
salt & pepper to taste (I've heard that salt in the water while beans are cooking is not a good thing, so I waited to add the salt until the end and I forgot!)
1/8 t. (or more) ground cumin and
9 c. water

Cook on high for 6 hours; drain some of the liquid (I would suggest saving the liquid to add back in if you accidentally drain too much), and mash (use a potato masher if you want a lumpy texture or a food processor for a smoother texture), adding more cooking liquid if necessary to get it to the consistency you want.

Easy, and yummy!  For a quick and delicious lunch, I spread 1/4-1/2 c of beans on a flour tortilla, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and black olives, and microwave until the cheese is melted and the beans are warm.

Several months ago, my mom in law mentioned that she had discovered hummus and loves it.  It's so good for you, too: high in fiber and protein, but it's kind of expensive considering what little goes into it.  Some time ago I came across this easy recipe for hummus from HiddenValley.com--I liked this particular recipe because it doesn't call for tahini (which is not a staple food item in our home).  So, a couple of days ago, we tried it.

Ranched up Hummus Dip

1 can (16 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Light dressing
3 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic

Combine garbanzo beans, salad dressing, water, lemon juice and garlic in food processor. Process until smooth. Serve as a dip with red bell pepper strips, carrots and pita wedges.

I served it with wheat thins and carrots.  MC, who insisted several times while Bubby and I were making the hummus, that he does not like hummus, l o v e d it!  Bubby liked it, too.  I would have preferred a little less ranch flavor, but it was still pretty good.  AKD, on the other hand, made a face like he was going to throw up after he tasted it...oh well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

A discussion of crushed legumes would not be complete without everybody's (OK, not everybody's) favorite crushed legume food: peanut butter!  Seriously, people, if you haven't tried fresh homemade peanut butter, you're really missing out, and it's so easy to make your own, cutting out the extra salt, sugar, and trans-fats that give commercial peanut butter a bad name.

So, um, all you do is throw some roasted peanuts into a food processor and process until it's the consistency you want.  If you use unsalted peanuts, you might want to add some salt.  You could also add some peanut oil (about 1 T for 1.5 cups of nuts) to make it a little more spreadable.  For chunky peanut butter, add some more nuts after you get the butter to your desired consistency and process for a few seconds longer to create chunks.  According to kidshealth.org, peanut butter can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for about 2 weeks.  I came across this recipe from Joy the Baker, suggesting the use of honey roasted peanuts.  What a great idea!

Last but not least, homemade Sunflower Seed Butter.  One of my favorite people is allergic to peanuts, so while this last recipe does not contain crushed legumes, I wanted to include it for him.  I got it from Funky Food, which looks like a great resource for folks who have food allergies.
 
1 cup sunflower seed (I would use roasted, unsalted, which you can usually find in the bulk foods section of your grocery store)
1-3 T oil of choice
salt and sweetener to taste

Toss in blending machine of choice. Blend. Add more oil if it isn't smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides and blend some more.

Funky Food Trisha suggests adding sweetener if you're using it for sandwiches or spreads, but probably not if you're using it for baking.
 
Here's another recipe for sunflower seed butter that's a bit more complicated, but looks oh-so-good!  Enjoy!

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