February has always been my least favorite month, and this February was no exception. Clients are taking forever to pay, I had to turn down much-needed work because of computer problems, and now I’m trying to play catch-up while sick. Given that things are tight right now, I’m trying to limit my trips to the grocery store and cut out eating out for the next two weeks. On the menu tonight: Texas-style beans and grapefruit-avocado salad. Coleslaw to be added to the menu later in the week.
The beans are easy to make but take some planning. Although I almost never soak beans overnight, this time I did. And to be honest, I don’t really know what most people do, but this is what I did. I used about a cup and a half of pinto beans. I then rendered some bacon and browned veggies in the fat: carrots, onion, celery, jalapeño and tomato. I added the soaked beans, a bay leaf, cilantro, chili powder, cumin and water and then let the beans simmer. I have also used chicken stock before. I would have added beer if I had any, but beer is not a budget item.
Surprisingly, it only took about 30 minutes of cooking until the beans were tender. Usually it takes hours when I use the quick soak method. I guess soaking does make a difference. I think the flavor suffered from the shorter cooking time though, and I had to remove some of the liquid. I then added salt and pepper, more chili powder and cumin, a bit of smoked paprika because I had it, and some fresh cilantro. I would have added Mexican oregano, but I didn’t see it in my pantry right away and was too lazy to look hard, or epazote if I had it. Not the best batch I’ve ever made, but they’ll do. I’m sure they’ll taste better tomorrow.
To make the grapefruit-avocado salad, I just poured a bit of the grapefruit juice over avocado and grapefruit segments and added a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. And of course I added a bit of cilantro. Pretty self-explanatory. I know grapefruit and avocados aren’t cheap everywhere, but this time of year in Texas, they are: I paid $0.10 for the grapefruit and $0.77 for the avocado. A welcome change after trying to work my way through so many carrots and greens from my CSA.