Monday, June 25, 2012

Tropical Hot

This week has been HOT in Chicago.

And I'm talkin' tropical hot, except without the beaches, palm trees, and monkey butlers bringing you fancy umbrella clad drinks in coconut shells.

Actually...I do see palm trees.  But they are electric and, for some unknown reason, stand guard at a car wash near my home.

When it's this hot, the only thing you can do is try to stay hydrated and muscle through.  Since I have turned over a new leaf, I chose to stick with the tropical theme and rehydrate with coconut water, in lieu of those corn syrup laden sports drinks.

So I drank my coconut wee liter fulls.  And had a terrible allergic reaction.

As I fight through a Benedryl induced haze, I reflect upon the important lessons learned:

1)  Coconut water isn't all it's cracked up to be.
2)  Everything in moderation.
3)  The next time I want to feel like I'm in the tropics, I will whip up some of these Caribbean Inspired Black Beans instead.

 Caribbean Inspired Black Beans

Beans, beans they're good for your heart...
The ginger and allspice provide a delicious, warm spicy twist!  This is a fantastic main dish served over rice with Mango Salsa, as a side, or as the basis for bean burritos. 

1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl olive oil
1 1/2 Tbl grated ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups drained cooked black beans (about three 16 oz cans)
2 navel oranges
2 bay leaves
thyme bundle
salt 'n pepper

In a large saute pan, sweat the onions in the oil until they soften, about five minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, allspice, cumin, thyme bundle, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt and saute for an additional three minutes. Stir in beans, the zest of one orange, and the juice of both, and cook over medium/low heat for about ten minutes or until it thickens, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon if you would like a thicker consistency.  Remove thyme and bay.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You really should try this with the Mango Salsa...

Just sayin'...

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