MENU. Mar 30, 2011

Midnight Red Bean Chili Presence

I adore Nikki McClure. If you have never heard of her, that’s just a shame and you must rectify this ignorance immediately by visiting the online Olympia store. She makes posters, books and most recently a cookbook that I salivated over for months until a good friend just mailed me a copy for no good reason other than she saw it and thought of me. The book is less about recipes and more about the process of cooking and sharing food. Nikki has little pictures that go with each recipe and a whimsical or thoughtful paragraph that makes you stop and think before just mixing together ingredients and inhaling. In many ways its how I hope to be in life, careful, thoughtful, pausing to enjoy each moment and be present.

At the very end of the book is a recipe for Midnight Morning Biscuits. They looked so simple and the description to make them at midnight, as the rest of the world sleeps and eat them while still warm, was just too tempting for me to pass up. The directions also call for you to use only your hands to mix and knead. What a perfect way to be completely involved in the process. Raw, pure, human power to make something edible. While I did not make them at midnight, I decided I had to find a soup to go with the biscuits so I had an excuse to make them. In one of my favorite cookbooks “Feeding the Whole Family” I found just what I was looking for in a red bean chili. Add the quinoa and you even have a complete meal with protein. The biscuits were wonderful and such a joy to make as I reminded myself to breathe, relax and stay present.

Place beans in a large pot with 2 cups of water and 1 tsp cumin; bring to boil then cover and simmer over low heat for 50-60 minutes. Heat oil in 4 quart pot on medium heat. Add onion, 1 tsp salt, garlic, green pepper, 1 tsp cumin and rest of spices. Saute for 5-10 minutes. Add quinoa, corn, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water and stir then simmer for 20 minutes.

Add cooked beans and second tsp of salt; simmer another 10 minutes. Top each bowl with grated cheese and sour cream if desired. For babies 10 months and older you can serve plain, cooked, mashed beans or puree some extra cooked corn with water.

For biscuits: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl. Mix butter into flour by rubbing and crumbling with your fingers until you have pea sized crumbs. Stir in milk. Add topping of choice (I use sea salt and rosemary). Knead lightly and pat dough flat. Cut into circles (I take the top of a jam jar, place it on the dough and cut around it) place on baking sheet, and let sit for 15 min. Bake for 12 min or until golden. I freeze the extra and thaw them for additional meals.