Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cookin' for the 'Cane

So Irene is coming eh? Better get prepared! How better to prepare than to cook black beans?! Everyone loves black beans, but how many people do you know just eat them straight out the can?  I can name a few...and I secretly want to slap these people (I guess that's not so secret anymore).  I have never in my life had beans straight out the can, and never felt the urge.  How can people stomach something so flavorless? I am not asking anyone to go through the soaking  and boiling of  uncooked beans (even though there is magic in this), but  a quick meal can still be something special.  Flavorful black beans are simple and only take about 30min to make.  If you want to cut time even more, use a food processor or vegetable chopper to do all your chopping.  But please friends, don't let me catch you heating up beans straight from the can.  You deserve better.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think about those canned beans now.  I'm sure these beans will kick your straight-from-the-can beans' ass.

Missy's Black Beans

1 15oz can of Black Beans
1 medium sized onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)

bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt to taste

the necessaries:
1 Tbsp of Red Wine
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp of vinegar

1) Saute chopped veggies and bay leaf in olive oil and when they are nearly cooked through add in the spices.
2) Add in some of the water from the can of beans and simmer for 5 min.
3) Now add in the beans and the water and stir well.  Depending on how much water is included in the can, you may want to add about 1/4 cup additional water. Also add in red wine. Let simmer for 20-30min until sauce thickens.
4) Add in vinegar right before serving.

Okay, the food is supposed to be non-perishable so maybe I have failed.  I'd like to think I was making an offering.  Oh please Irene, take these black beans and spare me the darkness! You know, the coming howling winds and power outages.  But I've done more than just cook...

I'm armed with a flashlight...

This is sorta ridiculous...
toilet water reserve...

Keepin' those mucus membranes moist! (yes, bad medical joke)


and drinking water!

I'm ready Irene! Bring it on!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fish Fry

Last Monday was a state holiday in RI.  And guess what we were celebrating? Victory Day.  Now before coming to RI for college and now medical school, I had no idea that such a holiday even existed.  But Rhode Islanders need an extra day of beach time before the cold settles in and those jewel blue skies are gone.  Well honestly they never really leave...but the warm weather makes a swift exit towards the end of September.  So what to do when you desperately need that extra day off for some fun in the sun in Narrangansett or sailing in Block Island? Take a random holiday!  Now this seemingly random holiday that I'm sure not many of you know about is celebrating our victory over Japan...dropping the bomb... Well I didn't say it was right...but I did get a day off.  Lucky me!

In honor of our day off, my bestie decided to have a massive southern fish fry (she's from Mississippi-and yes I just used the crooked-letter song to spell that-no shame)  for friends before we started our new rotations the following day.  Always good to have food in your belly, especially good food you don't have to cook.  Ok, now before you guys get any bad ideas about me, I helped out, I did my fair share.  Chopped veggies, washed sweet potatoes, and the best job of all...the taste tester.  However I wasn't completely satisfied with just chowing down. I wanted to contribute a dish.  So what do you bring to a fish fry? Some fried veggies of course!

Okra is one of my favorite vegetables, and I love it cooked every way you can imagine.  If cooked right it has an amazing flavor and texture that is quite unique.  I've never fried okra, just sautéed and boiled it, but there are some special tricks to cooking okra that I know well.  My boyfriend's grandmother taught me the most important thing...DRY DRY DRY. I cannot emphasize that enough.  Most people hate okra because they think its slimy.  Well it gets slimy if you don't dry it and I mean thoroughly...with a towel...multiple times.  If you do this, I'm telling you, it will make a world of difference.  You may even convert some okra haters.

So I started off by playing online recipe detective, as I often do.  I knew the basics of frying okra but just wanted to see if there were any additional tips I should know about.  I love looking at other peoples blogs and combing over the comments on sites like and, which are usually very helpful in terms of techniques and tasty variations.

Here is the recipe I came up with.  I will note that I am usually extremely opposed to pre-seasoned mixes, because it takes a away from the control you have over your spices.  Though when time is what you must.  Enjoy!

Quick and Dirty Fried Okra

1 lb of okra chopped into 3/4in pieces
Bag of Lousiana fish fry (or seasoned cornmeal equivalent)
2 extra large eggs
1 quart buttermilk
1/2tsp red chili powder (kick it up a notch if you're willing!)
1/4tsp paprika
Oil for frying

1) Wash the okra and towel dry until all moisture is gone. Don't skimp on this step!
2) Cut okra into 3/4in to 1in pieces, however you like it, and place in a bowl.
3) Pour buttermilk into the bowl making sure all pieces are covered and stir in the chili powder and paprika gently with a spatula.  Cover and set in the fridge for 45min.

4) While the okra is chilling, set up the dredging ingredients.  In a separate bowl or plate, pour flour.  Crack two eggs in a bowl and whisk. In a final bowl place Louisiana fish fry or another seasoned cornmeal.
5) When the okra are ready, start first by dipping in the flour, next egg, and finally cornmeal.  It's a sticky mess but a fun task for the kiddies!
6) Heat up the oil for deep frying, making sure there is enough oil to cover the okra. Or use a deep fryer. Fry until golden brown to a little burnt (it helps with the flavor).

Now smack those lips!