Broccoli Confidential and the Beans that Bring Us Together
Beans are small but powerful (the same you could say is true for me).
It’s still January, but I’m feeling like February. It’s short, but powerful (kinda like me). February’s Black History Month, for one thing, so to get you in the mood, here’s Chef Tanya Holland's beany, brilliant black-eyed pea dip.
Black-eyed peas are African in origin. Like all beans, they’re
culturally appropriate, whatever your culture or cuisine is
This has always been true. What’s new — and what cracks me up — is that global business is finally on board. Just launched— new global campaign. Beans is How. Great idea, terrible grammar. I must talk to these people.
Legumes are my love language. I’m a Global Pulse Guru, created and organized the legume-loving event Pulse Innovation Miami as part of the United Nations’ Year of Pulses. I’m a proud member of the coveted Rancho Gordo Bean Club, and well, I could just keep going. But this is about beans, and February offers opportunities galore to enjoy them.
February 2 Groundhog Day — poor Punxatawney Phil. PETA has offered to provide a coin that produces a prediction as accurate as Punxsutawney Phil’s and has been pushing to send him to an animal sanctuary. May it be somewhere warm.
February 3 Setsubun — translated from Japanese, it means division of seasons, and in the lunar calendar, it heralds spring. . . even when spring feels a long way off. Setsubun was once observed by burning dried fish heads to ward off evil. Not fragrant and way not vegan. Japanese observe it now by throwing beans to scare off demons. I recommend cooking and eating them instead. Steamed edamame - whole soybeans — are a perfect, fun, high-protein nibble. Just sprinkle with sea salt, pinch the fuzzy bright green pods, and the beans pop right into your mouth.
February 7, 2pm ET Join @decantwithplants Sunny Gandara and me on Instagram for a vegan food and wine pairing Live. Beans pair beautifully with wine.
February 10 – a triple header
February 10 also starts the Lunar New Year — Welcome the Year of the Dragon, celebrate with dumplings — it’s traditional way to celebrate the new year. My broccoli-tofu-shiitake shumai are entrance-level to make and awesome to eat. Pair with Hetty Lui McKinnon’s green beans with fermented black bean sauce for a double dose of beans.
And last but in no ways least, the United Nations has named February 10 World Pulse Day.
February 13 Mardi Gras Let the good times roll with red beans and rice
February 22-25 South Beach Wine and Food Festival in its 23rd fab year (yay!) but without a single dedicated vegan event (really, guys?).
February 29 A whole extra day of the year! February 29 happens only every 4 years folks, so make the most of it.
All I’ve ever wanted to do is make things better and get people to love vegetables. I admit as a business plan, it needs work. And I’d probably get a disappointing performance review. Look at Ukraine. Look at Gaza. Look at Yemen. Look at us. These are big thorny problems, and it’s easy to feel defeated by them. So the experts tell us to celebrate the small joys. Beans are that.
So much happening next month! But it’s still January, and January is National Soup Month, so here’s a brand new bean soup recipe debuting straight to your inbox, warming, delicious, and loaded with legumes.
Full recipes are usually for Broccoli Confidential (paid) subscribers, but beans should be for everyone, so here’s my brand new recipe for sopa de frijoles. Enjoy, everyone.
Sopa de Frijoles (bean soup)
Black beans, red beans, and/or pinto beans all do well here. Go with what you like or what you have. I mixed it up with a combination of pinto and black beans. This recipe keeps like a dream, serves 4, and doubles or triples easily.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1-/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno or 1 sliver datil, habañero or other potent chile, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped (about a cup)
1 smallish red pepper, chopped (about a cup)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 cups crushed tomato (a 15-ounce can is fine)
3 cups cooked black beans, red beans and/or pinto beans, plus some of their luscious bean broth
2 cups vegetable broth or water
a handful of baby spinach leaves (optional, but you know how I feel about greens), chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a handful of cilantro or sage leaves (or both) to garnish
juice of 1 juicy lime
1 or 2 radishes, thinly sliced
1 Hass avocado, sliced
a handful of toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the chopped onion. Cook and stir for a few minutes, until the onion softens, turns pale, and becomes fragrant.
Sprinkle in the turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika and chile powder and stir together, creating a rich spiced oil.
Add the chopped garlic and minced chile. celery and red pepper, and continue cooking and stirring so the vegetables soften and get a gilding of the spiced oil. Reduce heat to medium if the vegetables start to stick.
Add the crushed tomatoes, 3 cups cooked black beans, red beans and/or pinto beans, plus some of their luscious bean broth, vegetable broth or water, and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes or so, letting the soup thicken and the flavors develop.
Add optional chopped spinach leaves, which will wilt into the hot soup. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
At this point, soup may be cooled, covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Stir in cilantro or sage leaves and squeeze in lime juice just before serving, adding more sea salt if desired.
Top with sliced radishes, avocado, and/or pepitas. Serve with tortillas and keep the hot sauce handy.
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