Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the meantime...

So while I'm compiling a list (and links) of regions and a timeline, Nick has requested that this week be "favorites week".  To that end, last night was chili salad (with a twist this time...I added an avocado and croutons!) and tonight is red beans & rice. Now, I know making red beans is about has hard as tying your shoes (the hardest part is making sure you have laces), but I made a promise I'd document the process of cooking more thoroughly this year so that's what I'm gonna do.


Red beans.

You'll need:
 1 lb of kidney beans (I think these are light red)

 1 large yellow onion

 1 lb of your favorite flavor of keilbasa
To prepare the beans, pour the bag into a bowl and pick out any nasty-looking ones or rocks (it happens). Cover the beans with water (I usually cover with an inch or so to spare...they expand a lot) and leave overnight.

In the morning, between showering, getting the kids (or pets) ready for the day, and downing that first cup of coffee, chop up your onion and kielbasa.  You could do this the night before and just leave them in the crock pot (covered), but I rarely have the foresight to actually do that.  It does work though.
The kielbasa is where you can get a little crazy.  A long time ago, my mom used to make this with full circle slices, but then discovered that smaller pieces mean more flavor - hence the quarter circles I use now.  The Boy (my brother) uses 2 lbs of regular kielbasa.  I use 1 lb of low-cal or turkey kielbasa.  I think my great grandmother actually used a ham hock (with the bone), and I'm sure there are other variations in our lineage that I don't know about. It's sort of gastronomical evolution, if you tweak it to make it yours. 
Dump everything into the crock pot, then add water to just cover the beans (you can't see it too well in this picture).  Depending on how long I'll be gone during the day, I'll add more or less.  Today, it's going to cook for about 10 hours so I added 2 full pint glasses' worth.  It was what was clean and readily available, don't judge my system. 
Finally, put the crock pot  on low and let it do it's thing.  It's a little better if you can stir it periodically throughout the day, but it's no big deal if you can't.  Generally when I get home, I'll stir it a few times and leave the lid either off or partially off, depending on how watery it still is.  If it's really watery and I'm hungry like NOW, I'll crank it up to high while I make the rice and cornbread.  More pictures for those later.

For now, I hope everyone's warmer and drier than I am's pretty nasty out, so I'm really looking forward to this!

In other news, I made a button!  If you want to join in my Cross Countries Kitchens challenge, add it to your blog and let's cook!  The motto is "Think globally, cook locally."  You can grab the button and put it on your own blog by copying/pasting the text below (or on the sidebar) and adding it as a text or html widget.

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