Life in le casa de Lauren has become quite boring.
Le boyfriend works nearly exact opposite hours from my 9 to 5. When I get home from work, I go to the gym for 1 to 3 hours (don’t judge, the gym has cable, my apartment does not). When I get back from the gym, I am sweaty and tired and I often don’t feel like cooking for one.
Sadly, this cooking coma has had a much bigger impact on my happiness than I expected.
Anyone who denies that food is a huge part of our lives and happiness is a downright, dirty liar. As someone who loves to cook, it’s an even BIGGER part of my life. Where would I escape to during an awful, boring day of work if I couldn’t retreat inside my little rolodex of recipes in my head and dream up something colorful, flavorful and inspiring to put on the table when I get home?
I’d be where I am now, eating a Cliff Bar in my PJs while surfing le facebook. Sigh.
Yesterday I knew I needed to try and get out of my cooking funk, but I still wanted something that was easy peasy, preferably not more than one pot to clean up. Lucky for me, I have long since (hopefully) perfected a version of the iconic vegetarian sustenance food: good ol’ beans and rice.
You may be asking why a recipe so simple and easy is worth the time to blog about. Well, my friend, you have clearly never had these beans and rice, adapted from four different recipes and turned into my very own:
Black Beans and Rice
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup Arborio or other Mexican style dry rice (long grain works too, but I prefer the short, chunky arborio)
- 1 can of black beans, drained, NOT rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (or if you have the fresh stuff, do that)
- Cumin (and lots of it)
- Paprika (1/2 tablespoon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lots of shredded cheddar cheese
- In a medium pot (note, NOT a pan) over high heat, heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Saute until onions become soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Throw in the rice and stir until most of the grains are glossy from the oil. Add the vegetable broth and mix well.
- Add in the spices and mix again. Wait until the mixture comes to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and stir again. Continue to cook covered until all the liquid is absorbed, about another 10 minutes.
- When the liquid is absorbed, add the beans and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, just enough time for the beans to get warm.
- Portion into individual dishes and top with lots-o-chedda’