Sunday, February 26, 2012

Very Adult Black Bean Brownies

I refer to these brownies as "very adult" because they are sweet, but not overly so. Their taste is almost earthy due to the molasses of the brown sugar. And the unsweetened chocolate and cocoa content make them a potent stimulant with just a few bites. The substitution of black beans for flour means no gluten and a good dose of protein to counter-balance the sugar - so though you will experience the stimulating effects of caffeine from the chocolate, there is no unpleasant sugar crash after the act of enjoying them.

Black Bean Brownies

15-oz. can of black beans
1-½ squares of unsweetened Baker's chocolate (about 1-½ oz.)
scant 2 cups of brown sugar
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of sea salt
½ cup olive oil
2 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350℉

First drain and thoroughly rinse the black beans - then put them in the microwave for 2 minutes or bring them to a full steam on the stove (with a lid on) so beans are cooked through and easily mashed.

In a medium sized bowl mash the hot beans with a fork.
Chop unsweetened chocolate into fine shards.
Continue mashing chocolate shards and brown sugar into the black beans.
Add cocoa, salt, and vanilla and continue mixing.
Into a measuring cup pour ½ cup of oil and add 2 eggs - beat gently with a fork.
Fold egg mixture into batter. Mix thoroughly.

Pour thick batter into an oiled dish or pan and bake about 45 minutes till firm and a testing knife comes out clean. This is a fudgie and soft rather than cakey brownie. Allow them to cool and then cut into small pieces. If too "soft" exposing the pieces to air or putting them in the refrigerator will firm them up somewhat. Operative words: fudge, chocolate, delicious.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Philadelphia Cheese Steak - Fast Food

Not everyone may care for this next recipe. Those who enjoy an occasional cheese steak sandwich, however, (and I know you're out there….) might find surprising how easy this snack is to prepare. Thinking about it… to my mind, anyway, I realized the key ingredient is not the caramelized onions, the thinly sliced beef, or the melted cheese…, but the necessary inclusion of black pepper. If you happen to have the following ingredients, this dish comes together in a snap.

Leftover beefsteak
1 small onion
some fresh sliced green pepper (optional)
grated or sliced cheese (provolone, cheddar, whatever…)
olive oil
salt & pepper
bread or roll (with which to 'sandwich'  the cheese steak!)

It's best to prep all the ingredients first. Slice leftover beef into paper thin strips. A serrated knife works well. Coat the beef strips with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper. Slice up a small onion into thin half-rounds (julienne green pepper as well, if desired). Grate enough cheese to cover the meat/onion combo in a pan. Have sufficient bread and or rolls at the ready.

In a hot skillet, caramelize (wilt and brown) the onion in a bit of olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium and add the seasoned beef. Once melded with onion and warmed through, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and place a lid on the skillet. Let it all sit just till cheese is melted. Then fill your favorite bread or roll with the steaming goodness and enjoy yourself :D

Both Giants and Patriots fans can eat this, I think.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Comfort Food ~ Tuna Pasta Melt

There are winter days that call for "special measures". In this case, a piping hot casserole of pasta twirls, melted cheddar cheese, and albacore tuna (fresh from the can!) served such a purpose. The fact that I'd purchased the 1-pound box of pasta for 99¢ and the tuna for 75¢-a-can warmed my heart even more. This dish flowed together quickly and efficiently.


2 cans tuna
dried parsley
sea salt & pepper
olive oil

½ box pasta twirls
bottled water (this house has metallic-tasting well water)

6 oz. or so cheddar cheese

While the water for pasta is coming to a boil, drain and fork apart canned tuna into a small bowl. Season liberally with dried parsley, salt & pepper. Drizzle olive oil over it. Mix well and let sit.

Once pasta is in the water, pre-heat the oven to 375℉.

While pasta is cooking to desired consistency, grate cheese and set aside. Lightly oil the bottom of a shallow baking dish.

Drain cooked pasta, spread into baking dish, add to it the grated cheese, then the seasoned tuna on top. Place uncovered in the oven for 10 minutes or so - till the cheese is perfectly melted.

By the time the melt is ready, you've cleaned everything up and are ready to enjoy your labors of love :)  It's no work at all.

Thought this would make two meals for me… Hah! Closer to one!!!