Beans, tomato and pasta stew

When you have cooked beans on hand, this is a good use of them.

This is a hybrid of Amatriciana, tomato soup with pasta, and Pasta e Ceci

onion, 1/2, diced
Pancetta, 2 oz, approx
garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Hot pepper — fresh, seeded and diced
Dried red pepper flakes
Canned tomatoes, 1 c?
Vegetable stock, 2 c (or use water if needed)
Beans, 2 c?
Cooked pasta
Fresh oregano, chopped
Greens such as Swiss chard, spinach, lacinato kale or escarole


Sauté onion in olive oil with salt, then peppers and then pancetta.
Add tomato and stock, and cook for about 15 minutes total with pepper, adding in beans near end, along with oregano. Then add greens and cook 5 minutes or so.
Cook pasta — penne in separate pot, or small pasta, such as ditalini, cooked in tomato/stock mixture

Toppings to serve:
Grated pecorino with sprinkles of olive oil
Leftover parsley/garlic/oil pesto

Colu Henry, Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew)

Black bean and chicken enchiladas

Entirely from scratch — corn tortillas from masa harina, home-cooked black beans, instant pot or perhaps leftover cooked chicken, home-made enchilada sauce. Yes, you’ll spend some time in the kitchen. It’s a pandemic health crisis so a couple non-stressful hours in the kitchen is actually a pleasure. Warning: do not attempt this without a dishwasher. You are going to use many bowls, two food processor bowls, etc. But really this is not difficult or stressful time-wise, just several steps.

Instant pot chicken
Throw boneless chicken thighs — 1 to 1-1/2# — in pot with 1/2 onion, diced, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 c stock and 4 oz can of roasted chiles. Cook at high pressure 10 mins. Let release on its own or go ahead and release pressure. Remove chicken and pull off and discard skin; shread with forks (or in mixer with paddle!) or cut into large-ish bite-size pieces and set aside on plate.

8-12 corn tortillas. Use high-quality tortillas from a store or make your own.

2 c masa harina
Good pinch salt
1-1/2 c warm water

Stir together with wooden spoon, and knead a bit with your hands in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for last least 1/2 hour.
Cook with avocado oil if you do not have a cast iron skillet. Keep warm-ish, covered with towel.

Sauce: [see Sundays at Moosewood, Cheese & Pepper Enchiladas]
Onion, 1/2, diced
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Red pepper, 1/2, cut into large dice
Mexican oregano
Red pepper flakes
Small can chipotle sauce (or chipotles in adobe)
Canned tomatoes, 3-4 c. (whole; can use diced tomatoes)
Tomato paste, 2 T

Sauté onion, add salt, then peppers, oregano, cumin. Add garlic and cook one minute. Then add tomato paste. Add canned sauce, then tomatoes, breaking up with spoon. Cook at gentle simmer for 20 mins. Take off stove to cool and bit and purée in food processor. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Grate cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, such as in food processor. Set aside.
Enchilada assembly Ingredients:

Black beans, 3 c.+/-
Grated cheese — cheddar or Monterey Jack, about 7 oz
Cream cheese — about 2 oz., cut into chunks
Corn — 2 c frozen. Can take out and put in bowl and use even semi-frozen.
Red pepper, 1/2, diced (or try roasted peppers from jar, rinsed)

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out large casserole pan.
Spread a layer of sauce in bottom of pan. Layer in tortillas. Add beans, chicken, corn, cheese and some peppers. Top with sauce. Add another layer of tortillas and repeat layering, ending with cheese on top of sauce.
Bake covered for 1/2 hour.

Serve with crema, or sour cream reduced with cream, milk or water.

Simple cabbage soup

Soup can seem intimidating. There are so many variations — brothy, cream, puréed, and then by cuisine. However, if you get into the flow and understand its component parts, you will be free to cook soup with the seasons and subject only to your imagination, seasonal ingredients and your desire.

It’s a beautiful fall weekend day and I’m in the mood for kitchen puttering. I cut up some refrigerator-staple vegetables and made vegetable stock — 45 mins on slow simmer: 2 onions, quartered, shallot, carrots in 1-2” chunks, celery in 2” pieces, garlic cloves at the bottom of the garlic bowl thrown in whole and in large number (garlic is a major food group for moi), parsley sprigs, a bay leaf, pinch of peppercorns, and some quartered mushrooms that are on hand.

Pinto beans in the instant pot. (45 mins with spring/filtered water from coop for about 1 # beans, picked over and rinsed, and put in pot with water up to 1/2 way mark and a good pinch of kosher salt. (My hard water does not let beans cook properly to soften). Let pressure release naturally.

Brown rice in the rice cooker to eat rice and beans —or maybe soup? — later in the week. It’s a pleasure to have cooked ingredients on hand to give one a leg up when it’s time to make a meal. Water is 2x rice. I like medium grain brown rice.

Here’s the cabbage soup I made:

Cone cabbage, cut in half, cored and sliced.
Mirepoix: onions, carrots and celery (except oops! First batch burned so I restarted soup and there was no more celery.)
Sauté mirepoix for 6-8 minutes in olive oil over low heat — and don’t do what I did and leave at higher heat and leave the room and return to find them burned. If that happens you have to start over. There is no resucitating burnt vegetables to make soup.
Add in some thyme, salt, perhaps some fennel/anise seed, and a bay leaf (because well, soup).
Add in cabbage, stir, add salt & pepper. Add vegetable stock and also some plain water to cover — or more if you want — and let cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until cabbage is soft but not entirely wilted. Taste and see if it tastes cooked.
Add leftover cooked chicken sausage, and heat through.
Put cooked beans in bottom of soup bowl, and ladle soup on top. Try not be all smug about this amazingly delicious soup you just whipped up out of really nothing more than 1/2 head of cabbage and some vegetable stock. This delicious soup made at home on a fall day is almost as embracing as a kind hug to help mend a sad heart. And there will be more soup!

Even easier:

Skip the sautéing. To stock add:

onion, sliced and cut in half, carrot, peeled and sliced; cabbage, cored and sliced. Top with drizzle of sesame oil and soy. [Inspiration: Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie]

Impromptu Thai-ish salad with leftover steak

If someone should give you a cooked steak to take home post-barbecue, this a nice way to see it again.


Lime juice — macerate red onions in this first
Fish sauce, same quantity as lime juice
Soy sauce (just a tad)
Ginger, finely grated
Sambal oelek — or other red pepper product for heat
Brown sugar
Dash peanut oil

Red onions, sliced or diced — macerated in lime juice
Cooked beans, such as cannellini
Watercress, spinach or other greens such as lettuce
Red pepper, diced
Carrot, diced
Radishes, sliced
peanuts, roasted and unsalted
Cold cooked steak, sliced


and Ellie Krieger


Chick pea spinach salad

Preparing for a pot luck, I cooked some chick peas and then while the instant pot was doing its thing, I went outside to do some gardening and planting and cutting lilacs, and playing with the cat, and oh, planting a shrub. I came inside to find that the pot had reached its set 49 minutes oh, 27 minutes ago. Surely overcooked! I released the pressure and found the beans somewhat mushy and was immediately disappointed. Then I found this warm chick pea and spinach recipe that seemed like a good idea.

Then I was hungry and it being lunch time I thought: Hmm, freshly-cooked chick peas, I can serve myself some mushy beans. I went halfway with the ideas in that aforementioned recipe:
Spinach in a bowl sprinkled with olive oil and salt, topped with warm chick peas, to slightly wilt the spinach. Macerated some red onion in lemon juice, went outside and cut some chives; sprinkled beans with smoked paprika and then chives. Added cut up carrot, aforementioned onions, some feta and lots of olive oil and salt. Mmm. IMG_6602

Olive oil, spinach and beans are delicious. The subtle dark tone of smoked paprika sets off the flavor against the bright high-note lemon. I always like two familial flavors such as here red onions and chives. (I think next time I will macerate onions longer, and/or reduce quantity.)


chickpeas, 1 # cooked with 1 T salt & 1 garlic clove (49 minutes in my Instant Pot)

Red onion, cut into pieces, macerated in lemon juice for 2 – 4 minutes.
Smoked paprika (sweet)
carrots, 2 sliced

Beans and shrimp, North African flavors

Some days dinnertime rolls around and we’re not enthused about a big cooking endeavor but don’t want to fall back into the old familiar. Here’s a simple idea for when beans are around: beans with shrimp and North African spices. And on the table in about 20 mins or less. Would be a good time to cook up some flatbread to go with, along with minted yogurt perhaps.

For the saltiness and acid, olives and preserved lemon are preferred. But if they’re not on hand — remember, this is all about “easy” — improvise with capers and lemon juice.

For two people:

8-10 shrimp, shelled and de-veined
chickpeas, 1 c plus cooking liquid (or stock or water)

onion, 1/2, diced
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Hot smoked paprika, 1/4 to 1/2 t
(or use sweet smoked paprika and add red pepper flakes, 1/2 t)
Cumin, 1/2 t

If you have green olives — spiced or not — use 2 handfuls
Preserved lemon, 1, rinsed and sliced into thin strips

optional: mint leaves, torn or chopped, for garnish


Heat sauté pan, and add 1 T olive oil and sauté onion for about 4-5 mins until soft, then add garlic and then spices. Then add beans and cooking water, and heat to hot and bubbling, adding black pepper. You want the spices to meld and some of the water to cook off.
Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, submerging in liquid and turning.

Serve in shallow bowls with mint on top.

Inspiration: Food 52

Bean soup with kale

When you have home-cooked beans in the refrigerator, this simple soup will be sure to please on a cold winter day.

Vegetable stock, made in the usual way

Leftover gigante beans
kale, blanched for 4+ minutes in boiling salted water, then drained

Carrots, diced
Onions, diced
garlic, minced

Sauté onion in olive oil in medium soup pot/pan. Add carrots and cook until softened.
Add in garlic and cook for less than one minute.
Add in stock and bring up to temp. Add S&P.
Add in beans and kale and warm through.

Serve with either grated parmesan or a drizzle of olive oil in each bowl.