what does your spice shelf (drawer, box, rack) look like? I believe that having a well-stocked variety of seasonings gets me one step closer to having dinner on the table. i won't take a picture of my spice rack because its a bit of a jumble and you don't need to see that, do you? what i will share with you is that i try to keep about 25 spices on hand at all times. all the spices you see on that cute little plate above (oh, home goods. why can't there be a home goods in chico?!), plus mustard seed, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, chinese 5 spice, oregano, thyme...i know it's a lotta little bottles but i find it so useful to have them on-hand so i don't have to run to the store every time i need a "new" spice for a recipe.
now, let's talk beans.
humble, simple, tasty little beans. i love them all, i don't discriminate. i always have a few jars of dried beans and many cans of organic beans (thank you, trader joe's!) in the cupboard for quick, filling, inexpensive meals on the fly.
last night, i took 2 cans of pinto beans, rinsed and drained them and then started thinking about how i wanted to flavor them. beans are especially lovely at taking on the flavor of whatever seasonings you want to cook them with. they just soak up all that flavor. since i was thinking tacos, i put a little olive oil over med heat (in my favorite fire-engine red dutch oven) and added cumin, coriander, chile powder and smoked paprika and toasted them up for a couple minutes, stirring constantly.
i just barely covered the beans with water and tossed in 1/2 onion and 3 cloves of garlic that i just gave a good whack to with the back of my chef's knife
i covered and let that simmer for 30 minutes, turned off the heat and just let the beans soak in that tasty little bath for another hour.
voila! a dead simple dinner on the table, with leftovers for today's lunches. we heated up some soft corn tortillas then piled on those luscious little beans, hunks of avocado, a pile of shredded sharp cheddar and our fave hot sauce, cholula.