April 26, 2011

a riff on beans & rice

Let's pretend you live in Austin. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. But have you ever gone to Mother's? It's a fabulous little cafe with one very important distinction: its menu is entirely vegetarian.

So we've been there a lot in the last year and a half. A lot.

A couple of visits ago, I decided it would probably behoove me to branch out, though I have some serious favorites, and work my way through everything on the menu. The garden salad with cashew-tamari dressing is a must on each visit, but since everything is me-friendly, I love the idea that I can try it all. No substitutions needed.

About halfway through the menu, I came across something simple: steamed vegetables served with sage mashed potatoes, brown rice, and black beans. And it is superb. As one friend put it, "Sometimes you just need someone else to steam your veggies." It's true. But that dish can just as easily be made at home (without the inimitable* cashew-tamari dressing, which is totally worth the out-to-eat pricetag).

Last night we had our first imitation: so easy, so healthy, so cheap, and pretty darn delicious. I'll leave the sage mashed potatoes to Mother's, but here's our latest riff on rice and beans.

This makes 4 full servings of the dish, plus enough beans for another dinner (which is still TBD). While this didn't wind up being a one-dish meal, it's easy and accessible, especially if you have a pressure cooker. This isn't so much a recipe as it is a recommendation; and if you don't want to cook dried beans, just open up a can or two, rinse, and heat 'em up. And really, you can steam any veggies you like. These were the two we had on hand.

There may have also been one or two green beans from yesterday's garden harvest. That being the entire harvest. Patience, patience, patience.

Rice and Beans and Veg

1 pound dried pinto or black beans (or 2 cans cooked pintos)
5 cloves peeled garlic
1 cup brown rice (dry, to make 2-3 cups cooked)
2-3 cups broccoli florets
4 large carrots

Soak the beans for about 9 hours, and then cooked them with the garlic cloves at full pressure for 5 minutes. (Read more about the pressure cooker here.) Cook the rice according to the package directions (I add a tablespoon of butter to brown rice while cooking, which makes me supremely happy). Peel and slice the carrots and steam them with the broccoli for about 10 minutes (sprinkle with a little salt, and drizzle with olive oil if you so please). Serve it all up in a bowl: rice, beans, and veggies. Then garnish and season with red pepper flakes, garlic salt, celery seed, shredded cheese, and pickled jalapenos.

* I say inimitable because I think that's truly the case. I tried to recreate it on a number of occasions with only limited success. My homemade versions are tasty, but they lack that certain... something. If you have a spot-on impersonation, please do share!


hymanator said...

I am also obsessed with that dressing. Did you know you can buy a bottle to take home at Mother's, Fresh Plus, and I think Central Market?