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Vegan for the Holidays


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Vegetarians in Paradise

Using Your Bean


With this issue Vegetarians in Paradise continues the bean explorations of VOW, a diabetic who has discovered the importance of beans in her diet. In subsequent VIP issues VOW will enlighten our readers with the further Adventures of the Bean.

Adventures of the Bean #25
Fire Up the Grill One Last Time
for a Peachy-Keen Entrée

by VOW, of course

Autumn is in the air, but you sure wouldn't know it here in Southern California! In our house, we may yearn for hearty stews and steaming bowls of chili, but those must be eaten with the air conditioner chugging in the background and all fans on "HIGH."

The grill is still getting a workout. In this part of the country, though, grilling is a year-round sport. I've heard of family members in snow country who wrap themselves in parkas and caps with earflaps so they can tend to foodstuffs being cooked outdoors in the middle of blizzards. It just goes to show you, nothing beats the special flavor of grilled foods! I'm sure that attraction to flame-kissed edibles is some type of evolutionary adaptation that is coded deep within the chromosomes.

So, as a last-blast, farewell-to-Summer, I've got a wonderful recipe that will let you fire up the grill for one more time!!

I took a trip to the friendly, neighborhood health food store to stock up on necessities, and my wandering eye happened to notice Bhutanese Red Rice. And my taste-bud-driven imagination began to wander…

VOW A long time ago, I introduced you to Forbidden Rice that I paired with black beans to create a salad. Beans and rice with a nice dressing make a salad that is something different than the usual macaroni or potato salad we normally associate with informal dining that takes place around the BBQ grill. I mentally combined the red rice with red beans, and thought a few dried cranberries tossed into the mix would add an extra zing to the flavors. Typically, I like to use a low-calorie, fat-free Italian-type salad dressing on my marinated salads. But I made the TERRIBLE mistake of checking out the different dressings at the grocery store, and Paul Newman's seductive smirk caught my attention. Paul made my adolescent heart go pitty-pat when I was a teenager. I noticed a Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette dressing and doggone if a bottle of it didn't hop right into my shopping cart and demand a ride home!

I confess I created a terrible dilemma for myself when I finally got to the kitchen part of the recipe. I really didn't know how many servings I wanted to prepare, and I was thinking about taking this dish to a family gathering. I always go overboard on stuff, and I ended up fixing enough to feed a brigade for a month! My main problem is that I couldn't really find consistent information on how much one cup of uncooked rice yields cooked.

I ended up cooking a pot of rice, and a pot of small red beans. In the rice pot, I added a handful of dried cranberries. After everything was al dente, I combined the rice and beans in a 1:1 ratio. Then I got out the bottle of Paul Newman and cringed when I saw the thick layer of oil floating on top of the dressing. I took that bottle over to the kitchen sink with a measuring spoon, and poured off six tablespoons of oil. Into my massive bowl of mixed beans, cranberries and rice, I dumped the whole bottle of now-degreased dressing and stirred well.

I'll be much kinder to my readers! As good as this combination turned out, you certainly don't want to be eating marinated red beans and red rice until the Chinook winds bring the Spring thaw! Cook your rice, cook your beans, measure out for the recipe, and then freeze the remainders for another day!

And what was all that talk about grilling? How do you put beans and rice on a BBQ?

Read on, I promise good things ahead!!

Peachy-Keen, Peachy-Bean BBQ Salad

Serves 8

Peach

    2 cups (480 ml) cooked Red Bhutanese Rice
    2 cups (480 ml) cooked small red beans or Adzuki, drained, or canned red beans, rinsed
    1/2 cup (120 ml) Paul Newman's Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing, but pour off the oil from the top, first!
    1/2 (120 ml) cup red wine vinegar

    4 large ripe peaches

  1. One day before serving, combine the Red Bhutanese Rice, red beans, drained Raspberry-Walnut dressing, and the red wine vinegar in a large, tightly covered bowl.
  2. Stir gently, yet make sure all ingredients are completely mixed. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Occasionally during this period, invert the bowl several times to evenly distribute the dressing.
  3. Before serving, cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Place peaches cut side down on hot BBQ grill (or place cut side up beneath broiler) and grill for several minutes until cut surfaces are slightly charred and fruit has begun to soften. Alternatively, you could use a torch to individually char the cut sides of each peach.
  4. To serve, immediately place grilled peaches on serving plates, cut side up, and scoop one half cup of marinated bean-rice mixture onto each peach half. Makes eight people extremely happy!

Notes:
If your local health food store does not carry Red Bhutanese Rice, there are many sources online where you can order it. You could probably substitute brown rice, but our whole goal here is to try new, different, out-of-the-ordinary foods!

Consider adding 1/4 cup (60 ml) dried cranberries to the rice before cooking. This adds more texture and extra zing to the finished dish. The nutritional data below includes the cranberries.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories 179
Protein 6g
Fat 0.5g
Carbohydrate 38g
Fiber 7g
(net carbohydrate 29g)

Please enjoy your last taste of Summer!

Now, for the boring Diabetes stuff…

As I have whined and moaned and griped about before, life isn't exactly going along the path I had intended. In fact, at times I'm so far OFF that pathway I'd need a GPS and a guide dog to find my way back again! And when things don't turn out the way I want them to, I tend to get somewhat…um…well, let's be very diplomatic and say "cranky."

Fact is, I know I could make myself extremely miserable if I decided to dwell on how rotten things are. I would also make everyone else around me even MORE miserable.

But who am I to consider myself to be such a privileged individual, that everything should turn out as wonderful as I'd planned? All you have to do is watch the nightly news, and if misery loves company, I've got the entire population of the United States to wallow around in the pity pool with me!

I cry at the gas station.

I cry even harder at the grocery checkout stand!

Crying gives me a headache, though.

So, I count my blessings, and I've got a LOT of them. And while I am not where I want to be, I'm in a nice place with people who love me, and we all get along. My bills are paid, I have a roof over my head, and my medical is taken care of.

And in spite of all the kicks in the pants I've taken lately, my blood pressure is still going down!

So I keep seeing the glass as half full instead of half-empty, and I'm thankful I have a glass!

Not only that, but I figure I'm even AHEAD of the game, because I can shop and cook and eat cheap! With the gas prices and the crushing economy and the monetary craziness, I think meat prices are going to skyrocket in the near future. I already know how to prepare nutritious, delicious, satisfying meals without depending on grain-fattened, cholesterol-laden, pocketbook-breaking cow or pig or poultry.

How about that? I'm patriotic!

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean



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