Comfort Food

Thank God it is Friday. I don't know why but this has been an especially long week and I am soooooooooooo very much looking forward to my weekend. It's snowing outside right now. Which I do not love. But I remain hopeful about my Monday morning plans for sunrise. This is my three day weekend and it is my time to rest and relax and catch up on my personal chores. I've got some spring cleaning I need to do. Last weekend my project was the kitchen cabinets. Now that they are cleaned up, organized and ready to raid, I really need to reorganize my room, especially my bookshelves.

Along with my plans for photography and personal re-ordering I have plans today for comfort food. This weekend I am going to be making some of my personal favs. Salmon and asparagus. Roasted root veggies with apple. And one of my easiest bits of comfort food, the eternal beans and rice. This is one of my favorite vegetarian meals. It's warm, tasty, aesthetically pleasing. I also do a Moroccan pumpkin rice version of this, and I'll share that recipe soon. But for today — Beans and Rice.

To make this you will need: Extra virgin olive oil 2 bunches of green onions - chopped 1 yellow bell pepper - chopped 1 spoonful (to taste) of garlic 3 cups of cooked rice (I use brown) 1 can of black beans rinsed half can of tomato paste fire diced tomatoes to taste (I always have a can of these around so I like to just add a few at the end) salt and red pepper and black pepper

Start by adding olive oil to your skillet at start that warming up. Seed and chop your yellow bell pepper, I use yellow for this just for the color contrast. You are going to have a lot of red when this is finished. Saute the pepper.

Actually, step one I usually do a few hours in advance. Start with a cup and a half of uncooked brown rice. Rinse it. Put it in an automatic rice maker. Add three cups of water. Turn it on. And walk away. Whenever you're ready for it you'll have three cups of perfectly cooked rice ready and waiting for you.

While that is cooking chop your green onions. I love these. I don't know where they have been all my life (I never used them before this year). They are so much fun and with a recipe like this they add a delightful splash of green.

I can't help it. Any time I cook with these I think of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland shouting "Off with their heads!" It's a little gruesome, but I line all the onions up and then chop of the tips of the bulbs. To my warped brain this looks like an execution, especially when I line up the little tops.

So here you have it: kind of like shrunken heads from Harry Potter meets the French Revolution.

Chop your onions and add to the peppers as they cook. Add garlic to taste. I like to add a large spoonful of pre-prepared garlic. That's because fresh garlic is bothersome. At this point I add salt, black pepper, and a little red pepper for kick.

Rinse your black beans (always rinse) and toss them in to what you've got cooking. The beans don't need to be cooked but I usually stir this all over heat for a few minutes to makes sure everything is uniformly hot.

Remove the skillet from heat. Tomato paste, in my experience, likes to burn rapidly. One minute you are stirring away, the next you've got blackening goo permanently stuck to the bottom of your favorite pan. Add about half of the past to the beans and veggies and stir.

This is where the color of this starts to really stand out. Yellow, green, red, black. It looks and smells yummy.

Add your three cups of cooked rice. Add some fire diced tomatoes if you like. Stir and serve. This is great hot off the oven and also it does quite well as leftovers (the paste keeps the rice moist in the fridge). I love this one. Hope you enjoy.