Introducing The Bean Bake Blog

As promised, I will no longer be deluging you with bean bake recipes. However, my fascination with them continues. So many foods; so many bean-bake possibilities.

Hence The Bean Bake Blog now is happily ensconced in its own little corner of the blogosphere, and I’m in the process of copying all the recipes from here to there.

And I’ll let you know when I post something new there since this dish fits the criteria of this blog as a gluten-free, dairy-free, diet food.

And, if you’re interested, I’m abandoning ship on the kiwi bean bakes. I recently learned that kiwi and pineapple can’t be used in jello because they contain an enzyme that breaks down the protein in gelatin (thanks to friend Becky, daughter Lisa, and ever-helpful Google for this cooking tip).

I think this is also happening with the protein in the eggs, and that’s why the bakes don’t set properly even when I add foods such as avocado, banana, and cauliflower which usually help stabilize the bakes.

Yes, you read that correctly. My last kiwi try was with cauliflower! Lovely taste actually.

The spouse and I are off to the Caribbean for two weeks. There he can engage in his favourite pastime—scuba-diving, while I engage in mine—sloth. If I meet any interesting foods, I’ll let you know.

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Cauliflower-Carrot Bean Bake with Ginger and Garlic

Okay, y’all. Here’s another one. The possibilities are so endless, I just keep on going. But I do promise you no more on this blog as I’m in the process of creating a blog just for bean bakes. I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, this bean bake is amazing, and not only because it’s a bright yellow-orange. (At last, a pretty bean bake!) The taste is also terrific!

It’s neither cauliflower nor carrot, but a delicious, rich mix with a tang of ginger and a hint of garlic. For meat-eaters, it would be a great complement to a roast beef or steak.

I wish I had better words to describe the flavour. But this, I find is the cook’s bean-bake dilemma: the beans absorb and/or enhance flavours in unexpected and indescribable ways. In fact, I was afraid that this bean bake might be bland; hence the sprinkle of grated cheese. But it didn’t need the additional seasoning. It was very, very good just on its own.

By the way, I’m on my 5th attempt with kiwi, trying to get the right mix of taste and texture. Upwards and onwards!

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Pumpkin “Pie” Bean Bake

This bean bake looks like pumpkin pie filling. It tastes like pumpkin pie filling. It has the creamy texture of pumpkin pie filling.

Add a pie crust, and I’ll bet most people wouldn’t guess that this dish was made with beans instead of dairy.

In fact, it tasted so much like pumpkin pie filling that I thought it needed something extra—after all, it’s different, right? So I added a healthy dollop of coffee liqueur (like Kahlua). And, upon re-tasting the batter, I had the distinct sensation the the spices were blending better. But maybe it’s just my love of coffee liqueur? At any rate, adding a liqueur is optional.

As you can see in the photo, the bean bake has lost some of its smooth, brown edging. This occurred when I removed the circular outer part of the springform pan, and some of the edging came off with it. Lesson learned—remove said pan part right after baking. Do not wait until the dish has been refrigerated overnight.

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Tomato Split-Pea Lentil Soup with Carrot and Cumin

This tomato-y soup is a blend of delightful flavours and textures.  It is slightly…

  • spicy from the cumin.
  • sweet from the carrot.
  • smooth from the tomatoes.
  • crunchy from the onion and lentils.

It’s also rich, filling (great for winter’s cold days), and very easy to make: only five main ingredients and a minimum of chopping.

Enjoy!

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So Very Vegetable Soup

The Diet Equation: vegetables + vegetables + vegetables 

 The Solution: soup + soup + soup

 

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup was my first soup creation and, after some tweaking, I pronounced it good—tasty, satisfying, and filled with different textures because some ingredients are crunchy while others are softer.  Then it turned out to be extra-good when I added a dollop of goat cheese or a sprinkling of sheep romano cheese to a serving. 

This soup is easy to make (except for lots of chopping), is foolproof (except if overcooked), and has so much fiber, you don’t have to worry about the carbs.  You can eat all you want with no weighing or measuring.  Or you can enrich the soup by adding potatoes, peas or legumes. A can of lentils, in particular, really enhance the taste.  But remember: additions like this will bring you back into the world of diet calculations.

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

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Caveat culinaria/us: The vegetable quantities below are rough estimates because I take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach and just put in what I have.  You can add more of one vegetable and less of another, but you should aim for balance.  For example, too many carrots could make the soup too carroty and too sweet.

Basic Ingredients

  •  3-5 cups of chicken stock, broth, or bouillon to barely cover the vegetables.  The amount really depends on how many vegetables you’ve added.
  • 1-2 onion(s), chopped.  Any type will do.
  • Garlic to taste.  I add 2 tbsp. of chopped garlic.
  • 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ – ½ head of cabbage, chopped to bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 tsp. of a spice that appeals to you.  I find that parsley, thyme or basil works nicely.
  • Salt to taste. 

Other Vegetables You Can Add

  • 2-4 celery stalks, sliced.  You can leave on the leaves as well.
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 
  • 2-4 green zucchini, sliced
  • 2-4 yellow zucchini, sliced (Add halfway through cooking so this vegetable survives.)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup turnip or rutabaga, diced
  • 1 cup daikon or lo bok, diced
  • 1-2 cups bok choy, chopped

Problematic Vegetables

  • Beets may overpower the taste of other vegetables, not to mention the colour of the soup.
  • Mushrooms give off a liquid when cooking that could alter the balance of the soup.  I suggest mild mushrooms such as enoki.
  • Spinach, because of its consistency, would have to be cooked separately, chopped, and added at the end.

 Directions

  1. Chop vegetables beforehand.
  2. Turn heat under a large pot to high.
  3. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  4. Add garlic, onions, and all other vegetables.
  5. Add canned tomatoes and mix well.
  6. Add more chicken broth until vegetables are barely covered.  You want the soup to be chock-full of vegetables.
  7. Add spice(s).
  8. Bring soup to boil, then turn down heat until it is simmering.
  9. Taste to see if you need to add salt.  Start with 1 tbsp. and then taste, and so on.  My salt philosophy is to cook with it sparingly and let people add their own after being served.
  10. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

For Weight Watchers: 0 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plan.  If you’re dieting under the Points plan, you don’t have to worry about carrots or parsnip unless you plan to eat all the soup in one sitting!  The  quantity of soup will be so great that any individual bowl serving won’t have enough of either to count.