rice and beans: basic
When Antonia turned five we moved to Europe. After exploring avenues in France we settled on Holland, where we felt more at home. One reason we felt at home was due to our connections with a vegetarian restaurant called The Garden, which was well located on the Museumplein in the heart of Amsterdam. The Garden was run by a very international group of folks, ultimately including myself. One of the women we worked with was a feisty salt-of-the-Earth dark-haired woman from Ireland who taught us all how to make Vegetable Pie, which became a staple on the menu. To this day vegetable pie is part of our family culture and today I’m sharing it with you!
One of the wonderful things about vegetable pie is that you get to pick what grain, what legume, what veggies you will use each time you make it. Today I picked Spanish rice and black beans and zucchini. But I might just as easily have chosen couscous, lentils and red peppers. The rule of thumb is this, though. You choose a grain, a legume, one or more veggies, plus onion, tomatoes and a cheese. Seasonings are also up to you except for one: you need to include tamari for this recipe.
So. Here’s a pictorial of my process. Visual learners (I’m one!) will especially appreciate. Ready?
First, I soaked the beans overnight. Easy.
So I put those on first thing this morning. I didn’t even season. I just let them cook in water for an hour or so, until they were soft. While I know it’s easy to open a can when it comes to beans, companies continue to use that dreadful chemical in our tin cans, so it really is so much better to simply cook your own. It takes only a minute to get them soaking before you go to bed at night. And there they are, all ready, in the morning. Presto. Unadulterated beans. And cheaper.
Here were the veggies I needed today.
I decided to grate the zucchini and put in a pan and heat quickly over a bit of water, just to be sure they were on their way to being cooked, but just barely.
Okey dokey. Then I whipped up a single piecrust, and put it in the oven at 425 F. for about five minutes, just so it was half baked. Then I removed from oven and put in my first layer: the rice.
Next came the cooked beans.
On top of the beans went the squash. (Isn’t this fun??)
Following the squash come the tomatoes. I had plenty of cherry tomatoes from the garden so I just cut mine in quarters and arranged on top. Prettier by the minute!
I then sauteed the onion and a bit of garlic, and added on top of the tomatoes. NOW is a good time to add whatever spices you want to add. I added fresh oregano from my herb garden. I also now add the Tamari, which I dribble here and there. (Shhh! It’s the Secret Ingredient!)
Lastly I add a layer of grated cheese. I used cheddar today but I also like to use jack. You can experiment or just use your favorite–or a combo.
I put this delightful concoction in a 350 F oven for about 20 minutes, or until the entire mixture is hot and the cheese is melted. Dinner tonight looks like this!
I really do hope you will try your version of vegetable pie and then stop by and let us know what you combinations you came up with that you liked best! Express yourself! Be creative! And enjoy!
Love and kitchen blessings,
Book News: Ode Magazine ran the story “Rotate Your Crops”, excerpted from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in their September issue in Holland. They kindly translated the story into Dutch. Interestingly, “Rotate Your Crops” happens to be the in-detail story about working at The Garden in Amsterdam! Those of you who might like to read the full story (and who have not read Plant Whatever Brings You Joy yet) will have the opportunity when Ode Magazine publishes the story in their American issue in January 2012.
Posted on September 27th, 2011 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Life