Let’s look forward to 2020! Here are some of the events when you can find the Veggie Queen and a delicious recipe for Instant Pot Mixed Beans Italiano.
Is it OK to still say Happy New Year? Can I please do it all of January without seeming silly or contrite? I hope so because while it’s the New Year, it’s the same me.
I like to spend the beginning of the year reflecting. This year, however, I don’t want to reflect on last year which seemed as rocky a year, as ever in my life. I have decided that it is wise to mostly reflect on the present and what the future might hold.
This next week I am speaking at SOMA Wild Mushroom Camp in Occidental, California which is some of the best fun and best time that you can have with your clothes on. It is not clothing optional, usually too cold and wet. But if you love fungi, as I do, you can do all manner of ‘shroomy things: from looking under the microscope, drawing, watching cooking, going out on forays (an upscale way of saying hunting), dyeing fabric and yarn, making paper, making oyster mushroom bags and more. It’s hard to describe and the people are quite different than in most groups: interesting, eclectic and eccentric, diverse.
And today, I took a look at my oyster mushroom bags from last year’s camp, and lo and behold, they are fruiting. Look at them doing their thing in plastic. Whoa… So when the time is right, mushrooms appear. Eat some mushrooms this weekend (and daily) and think of me.
From camp, I will head to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco at Moscone Center. When I first attended that show more than 30 years ago, it wasn’t like it is now. Now it is huge and they have some of the most interesting, and purely ridiculous, processed fancy food that exists. No longer is it olive oil, salsa, chocolate, coffee and tea but chocolate made keto, cauliflower everything, paleo this or that. Food that most people don’t need, although everyone likely needs some Miyoko’s dairy-free cheese in their life. Certainly no cricket flour for me. Miyoko will be a keynote speaker. That is huge. A big win for plants…
I like to see what is trending and what’s new. I sometimes get promised products that I would like such as fonio, an African grain, which never appeared on my doorstep. I was looking forward to experimenting with it in the kitchen. Meeting a young Italian farmer who lives in Tuscany, the home to farro, is exhilarating. I love the stories that come with the more “real” food.
As I say, no one needs any more chips, or bars, or puffs or you fill in the blank.
I feel like life is full of possibilities and excitement and still too much processed food. So here, I am sharing a recipe that I just made.
I have been enjoying experimenting with my own recipes and changing them up. This one was called Chickpeas Italiano but I bought some mixed heirloom beans and used those instead. Sadly I ate all the leftovers but this is what the beans look like before they are soaked. They aren’t as pretty after cooking but oh my…so tasty.
I prepared this at a Healthy Living at Your Library cooking demonstration in Cloverdale, California. I presented many of these cooking events for the Sonoma County Library. I so enjoyed doing them. However, the commute of 2 hours each way became too much. It is with some regret, that I have had to let that go. I just want to thank the library for trusting in me. And helping me promote plant-based eating for everyone.
I served this dish over herbed polenta which I made in the Instant Pot at the same time in a bowl on the rack right above the beans.
Instant Pot Mixed Beans Italiano (a riff on Chickpeas Italiano)
- 1½ cups chickpeas garbanzo beans, pre-soaked (I used mixed heirloom beans)1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
- 2 medium onions diced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil optional
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil if available
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in the cooker over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 3 minutes. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic and sauté another minute.
- Add the beans, broth, 3 tablespoons chopped basil, oregano and bay leaf.
- Bring to high pressure over high heat or set the pot to high pressure for 12 minutes (in this case it will be 8 minutes for mixed beans). Lower heat to maintain high pressure and cook for 12 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.
- Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Remove the bay leaf and add the tomatoes. Cook over medium heat or on sauté for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes break down, or just lock on the lid for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove 1 cup of the bean mixture and pureé in a food processor or blender. Return to the pot with the olive oil, remaining garlic, basil and parsley.
- Stir in the vinegar and then add salt and pepper to taste.