by James Wampler
(Shelbyville, Ky. USA)
Black Beans and Quinoa on the SolSource
Through all of the classes I taught on Friday, I frequently looked out the window at the beautiful fall weather rolling into Kentucky. Weather was just beginning to cool off, and our school was preparing for a home football game against a team visiting from Frankfort. As I thought of fall, I began to think of fall colors, which led me to cook up some Quinoa. I had some “red” Quinoa (which is really more of a brown color when cooked) so I tried to think of any recipes that I had cooked Quinoa with.
Quinoa and Black Beans – The internet is an excellent source of free recipes, and some sites allow you to browse feedback from users that have tried the dish. I used “allrecipes.com” for this recipe.
1 Tsp vegetable Oil
1 Onion, chopped
3 Cloves of garlic (I’m a cheater and used pre-chopped garlic)
¾ cup Quinoa
1 ½ cups of Vegetable Broth
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Cup frozen corn kernels
2 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup fresh cilantro.
Trying to cook at a school poses some unique challenges. I am leery about bringing ANY type of knife to school, even if it is just a butter knife. I do the cutting and chopping at home. Fortunately, this only requires me to cut an onion before I go to school. Always the boyscout, I keep a sealed bag in the back of the fridge in case the sun comes out and I want to cook some quinoa or couscous (next recipe?)
The first step is to heat the oil in a saucepan and add the oil and garlic until the garlic browns. I had extremely variable conditions with clouds, so it is hard to give an exact time. Just cook until it is brown. As I get more experienced, I might offer more data on how much time to expect in a given lighting condition.
Next, the onions, broth and seasonings go in (cumin, salt, pepper). Bring the mixture to a boil and then alter the direction of the solar cooker to simmer the mixture. I had clouds assisting in the simmer process. I added chipotle seasoning to taste.
I never thought I would get mad at a cloud, but I had some choice thoughts directed at this inanimate collection of water vapor. It moved in front of the sun and remained motionless for 30-45 minutes. However, this process allowed for the quinoa to simmer quite well and kept it from burning.
Next the corn goes in, and after that has heated up, the beans go in last. I only used one can of beans. Your mileage may vary! If you feel like being fancy, you can toss in the cilantro. I decided not to.
Closing thoughts - - this reinforced my decision to stick with vegetable dishes until I learn my solar cooker and its capabilities a little bit better.
The Quinoa tastes GREAT! At the very end, I added a touch of garlic powder, which I felt helped give this dish a final kick.
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