23 May 2014

Cuban-style Black Beans

I'm not from Cuba.  I don't claim that this is an authentic recipe.  But it was yummy and I want to record the recipe for my own future reference. 

My Cuban-Style Black Beans
yields: huge pot o' beans!

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, minced
2 bay leaves
4 cups dry black beans
12 cups water

Place in large pot over high heat.  Bring to a boil and let roll for two minutes.  Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for two hours.

Bring beans to a simmer after soaking, crack the lid, and let simmer for two hours until soft.  Remove the two bay leaves.  In a little oil over low heat fry the following:

1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

When soft, add:

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika

Fry a few more minutes until spices are fragrant, then stir this into the beans.  Continue to cook gently until you are ready to eat.  Add a TBSP of vinegar along with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over rice.  With sour cream and fried plantains if at all possible.

07 May 2014

Croissant Attempt

It seems like every cooking blog that has a post about croissants has the same story, and mine is no different.  Yes, I have thought of making croissants for awhile, but was too intimidated to try.  Yes, I did look at many recipes, videos, pictures, etc. before finally working up the nerve to do it.  Oh, and yes, they didn't come out perfect so I have to try again.  Sometime.

Actually, I can't complain too much.  It was an overcast, nothing-much-planned sort of day, and I enjoyed the challenge of a new baking project.  They came out looking beautiful and they tasted good too, even if the shape and texture weren't textbook perfect (as far as shape, I intended to make them straight as you see, but I didn't get them rolled quite as many times as is "correct").

Apparently, you can't judge a croissant by its cover.  The crumb is what makes it, and mine was a bit doughy with a few large air pockets rather than a nice, uniform honeycomb.  If you're interested, see nice croissant crumb pictures here.

Anyhow, there they are.  Or were, I should say.  All but the last two.

For future reference, I used 1/2 of this recipe and made 9 medium-sized croissant.  I've got several ideas for improving my croissants which I will share next time.  Don't hold your breath, though.  It could be a month or even a year off.  I welcome advice!