i have had a long affair with black beans and rice. it all started when i moved to texas in my early 20’s. i was lucky enough to get a job at the coolest, hippy-ist (not hip-ist) cafe in town, one of those places where your boss would bail you out of jail, you can pretty much assume that all the cooks are hungover, and a waitress might just run off with the band to whom she just served coffee. it was here that i was first introduced to what would become one the food staples of my life–black beans and rice. it was born, like many things, out of necessity. it was cheap, easliy accessible, and nutritious. these are the three most important qualities of a meal when you’re on a budget whether due to youth, job status, or financial strain.
this brings me to the real reason for this post. i was lucky enough to be asked to be part of a group of food bloggers in a challenge to bring awareness to the problem of hunger here in our fair city and it’s outlying areas. This is a project inspired by the capital area food bank, one of it’s proud volunteers, kristi willis of austin farm to table, and austin american-statesman food writer, addie broyles. the food bank feeds 48 thousand people per week in 21 counties. in addition to canned & packaged foods and meat products , they are proud to be the 2nd largest distributor of fresh produce of any food bank in the nation. this means fruits and veggies, people–real food! not only do they offer food via 360 partner agencies ’round these parts, they’re also involved in the food stamp program (SNAP), a senior outreach program, kid’s cafe, mobile pantries, and they offer nutritional education, menu planning, and recipe & cooking classes. whew!
most of the food bloggers involved in this awareness program are doing their own personal challenges; some are posting every meal from a typical week’s worth of food from the food bank, some are posting daily updates, and some like me are writing a simple, singular post in the hopes that it will inspire you to reach out, volunteer, donate, or otherwise do what will float your your philanthropic boat. saturday, may 8th is also the annual stamp out hunger food drive, whereby you can simply leave non-perishible goods in a bag by your mailbox–it doesn’t get any easier than that. if you’d like to read more about the food blogger challenge, please visit the rest of the bloggers involved from this central site: food blogger hunger awareness project.
black beans & rice (serves 4)
this is not so much a recipe as a method. you can substitute any type of beans or rice that you like. i prefer black beans and brown rice for sentimental reasons and this combo packs a nutritious wallop.
1/2 lb dried black turtle beans
1/2 onion, chopped
a few bay leaves
a handful of salt
1 cup brown rice
soak beans overnight or use the quick soak method. be sure to change to soaking water to fresh. cover soaked beans with a few inches of fresh cold water. add the chopped onion, bay leaves, and salt and bring to a boil. simmer, semi covered with a lid for a little over an hour until tender but not mushy.
make the brown rice according to package directions bearing in mind brown rice takes about twice as long to cook as white rice, so give yourself plenty of time. i like to add a bit of olive oil and water and a pinch of salt to the rice and water for a boost of flavor.
if you have a bit of veggies, onion, or pickled jalapenos, chop ’em up and add on top. or you could just simply eat it as is with a few dashes of cholula or your favorite hot sauce.