Thursday, June 18, 2009

Black Beans in the Style of a Mojito

I have a fridge full of limes and a garden full of mint. Actually, I don't really know if I can really say that the mint is in the garden. Most of it is growing in the cracks in the walk up to our house.

Go easy on the mint. I used about ten leaves and it really took over. Cook the black beans however you want, and feel free to do it ahead of time. Soak them before you cook them if you like doing that. I'm a reluctant believer that salting beans from the start of their cooking makes them tougher, so I guess salt them after they've begun to soften, but definitely do add a fair amount of salt to them. Also, try to end up with only a little bit of bean-cooking water at the end. If the beans are still floating around freely, boil it away or dump some out.

  • 1 cup of dried black beans
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 and 1/2 limes, zested (you can zest the whole second lime)
  • 5 mint leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine (you could leave this out)
  • salt, pepper

Cook the black beans. Fry the onions in the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes (turn the heat down for the longer time, turn it up for the shorter time). Salt them a bit while they cook, and add the lime zest. When the onions are nice and brown, start cooking the rice. Add cooked beans with their liquid to the onions. Add the wine, turn up the heat, and let this bubble away while the rice cooks. When the rice is ready, turn the heat off under the beans, and add the juice from the limes and the chopped mint. Add pepper, taste, and add more salt or lime juice if it seems wise. Serves four.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Asparagus with Rice

I was embarrassed to post this recipe because there's so little too it. But what's wrong with that if it tastes good? I used lime juice when you'd expect lemon because I had a large bag of limes in the fridge, and I thought it worked well.

  • 1 pound of asparagus, trimmed of woody stalks and cut into one inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • salt, pepper

Cook the onions in a large skillet with the oil over medium heat, stirring often. Add salt. Cook for about twenty minutes, until the onions are nicely browned (but feel free to cut this short if you're in a hurry). Add about 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. Stir this around quickly, scraping the pan to free any nice, brown oniony bits. Shake a bit of salt in, add the asparagus, cover, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for a few minutes, until the asparagus is nearly cooked to the point you like. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit, and try to get some brown on the asparagus. Add lots of pepper, salt if necessary. Squeeze the lime over this, mix, and remove from the heat. Serve with rice; about 1/2 cup dry rice makes a good amount to go with this. Serves 2-4, depending on what else you're eating.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mathless Days

It's been a full two days since my last final. Two entire days without any mathematical obligations! In another week I'll start studying for my three preliminary exams in real analysis, algebra, and topology/differential geometry, and I'll start doing some reading about Coxeter groups (I can't tell you what those are until I've read about them).

This week, I'll explore Seattle and its surroundings and eat the best food I can find. I started by crossing N. 145th St., leaving the friendly confines of Seattle for the strikingly similar confines of Shoreline. Shoreline isn't known for much yet, but everyone should go there to enjoy the delicious Korean food at Haenam Kalbi & Calamari. Their logo is a smiling pig and squid. Based on this, we ordered a dish of pork and calamari in a chili sauce, which came with a gas burner and was cooked on our table. I spooned some onto my plate as soon as we got it, and as I took my first bite the waitress scurried over. She grabbed my plate, slid the food back onto the burner, and said, "Not ready yet." My bite of squid tasted fine--it wasn't quite raw--but the dish was better when it was nicely charred and the waitress gave us permission to eat it. We also got a bowl of buckwheat noodles with a sauce made from peanuts and chilis and other mysterious things and a boiled egg on top; the waitress came back with a pair of scissors to cut the noodles to a more manageable length. Our third dish was strips of beef atop a layer of onions on a sizzling cast iron plate. The onions were raw when they arrived and sweet and crunchy by the time we finished. Before any of this had even arrived, we were given about ten bowls of pickles, ranging from kimchi to miniature dried fish. It took the entire meal to even try everything. Most of the dishes cost eight to twelve dollars, and as you can tell you get plenty of food. I can't wait to go back.

Haenam Kalbi & Calamari
15001 Aurora Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133