Happy Meatless Monday! During the month of April Jessica Perlaza, Chicago native and author of the book HIBERNATE, will share with you easy vegetarian recipes inspired by her journeys in Korea. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
By Jessica Perlaza
Every Friday, my husband’s grandmother makes a huge pot of rice and beans to feed the whole family – all twelve of her children, their spouses, the grandchildren, and grandchildren’s children! it’s been a tradition in their family since they lived in Colombia and has continued as they have all immigrated to the states, one by one, to be together.
Everyone drops by at some point in the evening to fill their bowl and their belly, and catch up over a cup of coffee. It’s one of the things I love most about marrying into this culture. How they make time every week to come together, preserve a tradition, and celebrate family.
Abuela has her own special recipe but, of course, it’s never easy to replicate that authentic traditional flavor. There is something special and intangible that goes into her cooking that I haven’t quite found yet. Maybe when I’m a grandmother. So I always give it my own twist and add whatever I’ve got in the kitchen. I’ve topped my bowl with coconut cream and chives and cooked my beans with cashews and bay leaves. Experiment! And have the family over for a taste.
Abuela’s Beans and Rice | Vegan
one pound of red beans (kidney or adzuki)
half an onion and a few cloves of garlic, finely minced
salt and adobo (a Spanish garlic salt) to taste
Soak the beans in water overnight. When ready to cook, rinse and cover beans with fresh water. Add onion and garlic to the pot and generously sprinkle salt and adobe into the mix. Cook over medium high heat, bringing it to a boil. Remove any foam that appears on the surface with a slotted spoon. This helps to remove the gasses that are commonly associated with eating beans.
You can also add a small piece of dried kelp (also called kombu, found in Asian supermarkets) to the cooking water to assist in the release of gaseous chemicals. After bringing to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook – with lid slightly askew – until beans are soft, about one hour. Check often and add water if beans start to dry out. Add more salt and adobo to taste.
Serve over brown rice and top with sofrito.
Sofrito | Vegan
In a small skillet, finely mince and saute the following in olive oil:
half an onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
half a bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Saute until fragrant and flavors have melded, about 15 minutes, adding a bit of water if sauce gets dry. Spoon saucy sofrito over beans and rice.
Eat Fresh. Eat Local. Get the freshest ingredients for your recipes at your local Farmers’ Market.
Introducing Jessica: “I’m a teacher, home cook and advocate for the simple things in life. More than three years ago, my husband and I bid farewell to the big city of Chicago and the urban sprawl of Orlando to live in a small village in the Korean countryside. I was raised on mac n’ cheese and fried fish sticks but, through much trial and error, I eventually learned to treat myself and my body better. My kitchen is now full of fresh, whole foods that nourish me – body, mind and spirit.
My recent project as the co-author of The Kitchens of Pinch and Dash – a self-published quarterly cookzine – has brought me great joy in allowing me to spread the word of good food with a greater reach. Nestled in its pages you will find recipes (all vegan and gluten-free), photos and stories inspired by the seasons that influence the way I eat and live.” Read more…