Sunday, November 30, 2008

bean burritos

I didn't over-consume anything over the holidays (Thanksgiving dinner: one piece of ham, two pieces of roast pork, bits of sides), and perhaps only indulged slightly more than usual in potato chips. Despite the previous post, I don't actually snack much, although being surrounded by snack foods at my parents' reminded me of the snacks I do love and how much I love snacking, which is why I don't have snackfoods around and thus do not snack. I don't know how I have stopped overeating, except that eating fattier things makes me eat less. You try eating more than two pieces of fatty roasted pork. No, I'm not endorsing Atkins, which sounds like a recipe for death. If anything I go on occasional all-carb diets, as all I want to eat when I'm sick or lazy is toast and cereal (and Twix bars). I am very pro-carb. Carbs for student council!

But I'm eating (sadly) on my own for these first few days of this week week, and as it is TD who would really revolt over meat-less meals, this is my idea of a high-protein, low-fat detox meal, were I in need of detoxing. I am terribly lazy at making myself salads, and don't like it enough as a meal to take the time to prepare it, and once I start eating a salad I immediately want to eat something else. Maybe I just make bad salads. I do enjoy fancy salads at restaurants, with the fancy shallot dressings and the inventive combinations of fruit and vegetable. But I enjoy them as appetizers. But yeah, salad is not really on the menu this week. So this is sort of my version of diet food, although I don't really recommend dieting either. That will probably mess up with your metabolism. I was starving after a 3 mile walk, so I can't objectively attest to it's yumminess, as I would knock you down and steal your candy when I'm hungry and thus might have bias when I say that this is pretty good:


1 lb pinto beans
2 tbs. salt
3 tsp. cumin
2 serrano chilies
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves

Wash beans carefully, removing rocks. Seriously, rocks. Even in bagged beans. Soak beans in water overnight. In the morning, drain the water, rinse beans again, and refill with water, at least twice as much as amount of beans. Add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Chill out for 2-3 hours. When the liquid's almost gone and the beans are tender, the beans are done. They will still look like beans. Refried beans are delicious, but probably bad for you and all smushed looking.

When they're done, remove the chilies, bay leaves, garlic if you can find it and don't want to eat it, and if you want, you can mash them, although I don't. You can also add a can of diced tomatoes and simmer again, although I don't.

Put a few spoonfuls of beans in a burrito-sized tortilla, top with sauteed onions and red peppers (yes, like fajitas), chopped tomatoes, cilantro, Mexican rice pilaf (I really do use a box for that, even though there's a recipe for that too, because I'm lazy), shredded jack cheese, avocado. Resist adding sour cream, which is delicious, and squeeze a lime wedge over it. Fold into a burrito shape. Sear on a clean pan to seal the folds. Eat. You can take out the salty pilaf and cheese if you want to be healthier, but leave in the avocado--it's good for you.

Yes, this is me being healthy. It is reasonably healthy, compared to what I normally eat. beans are also really cheap, and I got this week's groceries for $40, again for two people plus leftovers to bring to work or school). Of course, I went to three grocery stores on foot to hunt down bargains, but whatever, I'm a grad student.

Next time I'll blog my masoor dal recipe, which is also quite healthy and super cheap. My roasted eggplant and zucchini vegetarian lasagna is not so healthy, given all the cheese, and not so cheap either, given all the cheese. It is pretty awesome though. But for now, beans. I figure a couple of days of this and it'll be like I never ate a whole bag of Wavy Lay's. Although the menu for the rest of the week, once TD rejoins me on Wednesday, is herb encrusted salmon with mushroom-asparagus risotto (Trader Joe's is cheapest for chicken broth: $1.99 for 4 cups worth, also cheapest for arborio rice at $2.99/2 lb), split pea ($1.99/lb) soup with smoked ham bones (ham $2.99/lb at the butcher's), and sausage ($2.99 at Trader Joe's) and mushroom pizza (dough: $1.29 at Trader Joe's). Miraculously, neither of us have gained weight in our year together, and except for occasional romantic weekend getaways and indulgent special occasion nine-course meals for our anniversary, we're not significant expenses for each other. I can't stand to be thought of as an expense, but apparently I'm cheaper than his friends, who sometimes want to go out kobe steak places, expensive trendy bars, and $50 salumi plates. So I guess I can stop feeling bad for asking to go out for ice cream and dim sum.