I love beans. I love them in soups, stews, tacos, burritos, with rice and with veggies. They are probably one of the most perfect foods around from a nutritional standpoint, if not a social one. In Chinese medicine, black beans are good for the kidneys (as well as kidney beans, of course), while white beans are good for the kidneys and the lungs.
And that's a good thing, too, after spending a day bending over in the garden, pulling weeds and inhaling probably more than my share of dust. I hauled bricks away and put stones in place, reminding myself how grateful I am that I work on my abs every day. I treat enough back patients to know I don't want to become one! As the kidneys are located in the lower back, I'm always happy to treat them to foods as well as exercise which nourish them.
The days become longer, and the garden becomes more central to my life. I need the respite of it's greens and purples, it's stones and mulch. I need my little corner table to sit and read or journal.And when the day is done, I need something hearty but not heavy. At this time of the year, something stovetop, not oven. Beans, anyone? Burritos? Chili? I decided to revive an old favorite for this evening, and to create a new one for tomorrow for lunch. Tonite's fav is Tex-Mex style chili. Tomorrow I go for the burrito! Chop an onion and sautee it in some canola oil with some chopped garlic. I used 3 cloves. Add ground meat. This time I used --- hold on to your hats -- ground buffalo. How's that, you ask? Well, I went out to dinner with some friends last nite and actually ordered a hamburger of all things. But this place gave you a choice - ground beef, lamb or buffalo. Who was I to argue about buffalo? Anyway, you can obviously mix and match whatever kind of meat you like. Add a dash of oregano, salt, pepper and some kind of hot chili powder. If you can't get ground red chilis, you can use cans of green chili. Those are usually pretty mild. If you want more heat, use some Hungarian paprika. (When you mix red and green chili it's called Chili Colorado.) Or if you're like me and like it hot, you can dice up some jalapenos and add them. Just remember to remove the seeds first, and then don't, under any circumstances, touch your face or your eyes! When the meat is browned, add a can of beans if you haven't cooked any the old fashioned way. This time I actually did make some in the pressure cooker, but canned works well, too. Then add a can of chopped tomatoes. Stir, simmer, taste and correct seasonings. One thing I like to add when using tomatoes is fennel seeds. There's something about the combination of fennel and tomato that I like. I'll use it in everything from marinara sauce to moussaka. It may not be the usual addition to chili, but once you open the doors to tinkering, what's to stop a little fennel seed from blowing in?
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