Wednesday, December 10, 2008

jesus h

So yeah, Chicago politics... We have a massively corrupt governor, an honest-to-god factory sit-in, and a president-elect. Crazy.
Personally, it's been a weird day. I got up at about six to have some coffee before heading to a college downtown to play student compositions for about three hours. (Note: guaranteed to make your brain melt into mush.) En route, I had a major, major epiphinic moment on a crowded train (prompted by a Thoreau quote in my Gary Snyder book) that left me with my mouth hanging open and adrenaline rushing through me. It wasn't so much a new idea as a set of connections I'd never made before, and I can't quite articulate it, but I sure took me some notes. It was an amazing feeling. Maybe I should experience sleep deprivation and then read theory more often.
A lot of things in general seem to be in a state of flow lately; everything seems very dramatic and intense and important, but it's all so internal that I can't quite talk about that either. But here's something very stable: beans. Another of my favorite simple foods, I love the texture: creamy but with a hint of graininess, filling and satisfying. Beans and rice has absolutely been one of my favorite foods since I went veggie in 2002. One of the (many) questions Anna asked me when we first met was what food I would eat if I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, and that was my answer. (That was greeted with amusement, for some reason.)
So here is a delicious and somewhat unusual bean recipe. The beauty of this particular dish lies not only in the creamy delicious baked beans, but in the spicing; you can feel it trace a path down the back of your throat and into your chest, but as long as you don't overdo the chili powder it's not too spicy for the wimpy.

Habas Verdes con Queso
(Lima Beans with Cheese)

6 cups cooked lima beans (or, as I did the other night, one large can of butter beans and one small can of kidney beans. yum!)
8 oz cream cheese
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 green and/or red peppers, chopped (unless you hate them)
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cups chopped fresh or canned drained tomatoes
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Either cook the beans yourself or heat up canned beans. When hot, drain and, in a large bowl, stir in the cream cheese, mixing well so the cheese melts. Cover and set aside.
Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the peppers and carrots and saute for five more minutes. Add the tomatoes and spices, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 more minutes until the carrots are tender.
Stir the sauteed veggies into the bean mixture. Pour into an oiled casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Can be eaten alone or as a dip with tortilla chips.

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