Cooking is Sharing – Cocinar es compartir! How do you cook Beans?

Appetizer, Dairy-free, Dip, Gluten-free, Greek, Mediterranean, Spanish, Vegetarian


Today we are introducing a collaborative blogging project between Qlinaria and FetaArepa, two blogs designed and developed to explore the culinary world. Ana Maria, a native and resident of Colombia, hosts her blog at Qlinaria.net, a site where she shares her passion for cooking, collection of recipes, and culinary tips with her readers in Spanish. Qlinaria highlights recipes and tips every week.

The idea for this collaborative cooking project begun one day, as Matina was preparing a very typical Greek dish and realized that the ingredients are very similar to that in other cultures. Therefore, we decided to start a cross-blog project where we would all cook a traditional dish from our cultures based on one similar ingredient. This time around we chose to focus on a bean dish, and even though we did not all use the same type of bean the essence and the idea is the same. The three recipes highlighted in this post are: Green Beans in Tomato Sauce, Bean Buñuelos, and Greek Fava Beans.

Green Beans in Tomato Sauce

Green Beans in Tomato Sauce is a very popular dish in the Mediterranean. This is a dish I remember eating at home since I was a little girl. I believe green beans have a world-wide appeal and almost every single culture has adapted them with their own unique taste, some are even very similar that you can’t figure out where the dish is from. In Greece, the recipe that I followed is known as Fasolakia, in Spain they are known as Judias Verdes con Tomate, in the Arab countries they are known as Loubieh Bi Zayt, and in Turkey they goes by the name Zeytinyağlı Taze Fasülye. There are many variations to this recipe so I decided to also add my own touch to this one. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb of tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb of French beans, topped and tailed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Hand full of Dried Apricots (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fry the onion in the oil till soft and golden
  2. Add the garlic, and when the aroma rises, add the tomatoes and French beans.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar and simmer 15-25 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is reduced a little.
  4. Add tomato paste and dried apricots. I felt that the dried apricots gave the beans a very mild sweetness and thickness to the sauce.
  5. Serve over rice.

Variation: Add the juice of 1/2 lemon if you want to eat the dish cold.

Bean Buñuelos

This recipe brings Ana Maria back to her childhood and she thought of it again last year during the soccer World Cup when a friend asked her to suggest a menu to serve at her home during the games the day of the World Cup inauguration that would represent the participating teams. While researching recipes from the African continent, she was amazed to find the black eyed bean buñuelo recipe just like the ones she grew up with in her grandmothers home in Cartagena. Ana Maria remembers the maids in the house peeling the beans with their hands as they would converse and laugh, without effort or hurry, and then in time for lunch they would serve their exquisite product, warm, sponge-like, fresh, but crispy buñuelos. Now she confesses that the preparation of the buñuelos is harder than it seems! The original recipe called for the use of a hand mill, but her engineer husband suggested the use two cutting boards rubbing against the beans (one on top and the other on the bottom) using their friction to peel the beans.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb of black eyed beans
  • Salt
  • Vegetable/Canola Oil, enough for frying

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak the beans overnight in water, Throw away those beans that float.
  2. Wash the beans, and add hot water to the container until covering the beans. Let them sit for 5 minutes and drain the water from the beans.
  3. Drain the beans, and place approximately 1/2 cup between the two cutting boards and rub the beans back and forth with some pressure to peel the beans.
  4. Make sure that you have peeled all the beans, then place in a separate container.
  5. Add water to the beans and let the peels float, discard with a spoon. Mix and repeat until you have discarded all the peels.
  6. Drain the peeled beans but save part of that water to add later on.
  7. Place the beans in a food processor or blender, adding the saved water, but just enough water so that the machine wont get stuck and the consistency is like a thick puree (I used about 2 tablespoons of the liquid).
  8. Place in a container where you can beat the puree with a whisk so that it will become fluffy and spongy. This will give it the consistency I was talking about earlier.
  9. Heat up the oil in a deep frying pan and add spoonfuls of the puree into the hot oil.
  10. Let them get golden on one side and then turn to the other side.
  11. Remove from the oil and place over a paper towel so that these absorb most of the oil
  12. Keep the buñuelos warm in the over at a low temperature.

Enjoy and relax!

Makes approximately 25 glorious buñuelos.

Adaptado de recetas de “Cartagena de Indias en la Olla”, de Teresita Román de Zurek, “Cocina de Siempre” de Lacydes Moreno Blanco y “African Cooking” de la Colección Foods of the World de Time Life.

Greek Fava Beans

For the Greek Bean Dish, Matina chose yellow split peas, because this is truly amazing dish that no one should live without having tried. It is called “Fava” and can either be made by using yellow split peas, or alternatively in Greece, it is made using “Fava beans”. They look like yellow split peas except they are half as big and twice as melty when prepared. Fava is like the Greek version of hummus, and a specialty of the breath-taking island of Santorini, where these bean thrive thanks to the volcanic soil. This is served as a “meze”, in addition to other small dishes prior to the main meal. Its texture is creamy, has an earthy flavor, and tastes great eaten with a spoon, or with a piece of bread or pita. I have decided to do a variation on the dish to amplify the earthiness by adding some cumin and sweeten the contrast by adding caramelized instead of raw red onions. Which ever way you make it, I hope you will enjoy it 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g yellow split peas (or fava beans)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place split peas in a large bowl and fill with cold water, there should be about 2 fingers of water above the peas. Soak overnight.
  2. Rinse the soaked peas, and place in a large pot covering with cold water Place the pot on medium high heat and let boil.
  3. While water is coming to a boil, slice your other onion into thin rings. Place in a small sauce pan and turn on medium low heat. Cook the onion until soft, translucent and fragrant. Add balsamic vinegar and let caramelize completely. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. When the water has boiled, add 1 whole peeled onion, splash of olive oil and salt. Continue cooking until the split peas have dissolved and form a nice smooth puree (about 1 hour). As the peas cook, a thick foam will form, discard it every once in a while.
  5. Remove from heat, add left over olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.
  6. When ready to serve, drizzle with a little olive oil, and top with caramelized onions. Enjoy on its own, with some warm pita bread or with some Greek Feta!!!

Alternative Preparation Method: If you want to prepare the authentic Greek recipe: omit the cumin, and replace the caramelized onion with raw onion when serving.

We hope you enjoyed this collaborative post, as much as we did, it is truly impressive how many variations are possible using a similar ingredient. If you have any ideas for ingredients to try out, or would like to participate in our “Cooking is Sharing – Cocinar es Compartir” – do let us know!!

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