I haven’t posted much about the Mascoma River Greenway lately, though I have been following its construction with great interest. They’ve completed a new phase, having paved it and installed safety railings over the Slayton Hill overpass.
I enjoy walking, not only as recreation or exercise, but merely as transportation. This greenway has me very excited because as it is being completed, it becomes quite safe and relatively easy to walk from my house to my preferred local shopping center. The construction hasn’t gotten that far yet, but the progress has been so amazing.
I spent the whole walk we took on it today in the gorgeous fall weather just gushing about how amazing and wonderful this greenway is. Lebanon has really needed it, and it’s clear people are making quite a lot of use of it. We saw a few people on bikes, several people walking their dogs (remember Lebanon has a leash law, my neighbors!), a few people clearly just out for a stroll.
Local peeps? If you’re happy about a nice and useful walking trail, join me and donate some money to its construction. If you don’t have money, but do have time or skills, you can get involved and join in work days on the trail. It’s already wonderful, but I am still fantasizing about being about to take a nice long walk some summer night to the movie theater.
One of the things you find when you are living in limited space is that you have limited space to store food. I know – DUH!
Due to a slight miscommunication on how many cans of black beans we really needed for Taco Stew, I had an extra can of them lying around, along with a pepper that really needed eating up. It was a little wrinkly for a salad, but would be just dandy if you were cooking it. I also had some rice on hand, because if you eat rice, you should always have some on hand.
So… Beans and Rice.
I haven’t been doing many (okay, any) vegetarian meals here, mostly because I am a carnivore, but there are some vegetarian meals I am fond of, and this is one. It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s healthy, and it’s tasty.
To make this meal, you will need:
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Deep Skillet with a lid and heat source
One-Pan Beans and Rice
- 1 15 oz. can of Black beans (Don’t try dry beans here. Takes too long to cook)
- 2/3 c. rice
- 2 c. diced bell pepper. (I happened to have red. Any color is fine)
- ½ c. diced onion
- 2 T minced garlic
- 1 ½ c. stock (vegetable or chicken is fine. I used water and a bullion cube)
- 1 T Montreal Seasoning. No, stop looking at me like that. The heavy pepper is good and it’s versatile. If you don’t have room for a big spice rack, this is something you want on hand.
- 3 T olive oil
Heat the olive oil on medium high. Sauté the peppers, onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add the black beans and rice. Stir. Add stock and give it another good stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for ~20 minutes.
I had planned for leftovers. Looks like there won’t be any. Which, given the tiny fridge, I am actually just dandy with!
So, last week, I thought I’d try something with apples and leeks with pork in rosemary and red wine. Sounds great, right?
Well, that dish on top was what I did. I asked The Prince how he liked it and he shrugged. Since I’m making these meals at least in part because I want to post articles on my blog about them, I asked him what was wrong. His comment, “The pasta is okay and all, but you know that apples, onions and sweet potato dish you do in the Fall? I think that’s what this dish is really calling for.”
He was right.
The dish I do every fall? I slice apples, sweet potatoes, and onions, layer them in a dish with a bit of butter on top, cover, and bake. Delicious, and if you have an oven, I encourage you to try it. A friend of mine back over a decade ago brought it to a family meal once, and it really is very, very good.
Using The Prince’s inspiration, I adapted this to a one-skillet meal you’ll be sure to love. The pasta version is okay. The sweet potato version is All That’s Good About Fall is and like angels singing.
Equipment you’ll need:
- Deep Skillet with a cover.
- A source of heat that’s reliably even
- A sharp knife
- A Cutting board
Pork Chops Graced with Autumn Goodness
- 1 pork chop for each person you’re serving. They should be reasonably thick.
- 1 Medium apple, diced. I prefer the tartness of a Granny Smith to contrast with the sweetness of the sweet potato, but a firm, sweet apple would also be okay.
- 2 cups sliced leeks
- 2 cups sweet potato, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 3 T olive oil
- ¼ c red wine
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 2 T ground rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium. Add sweet potatoes and cook ~10 minutes, covered.
They should start to be softer around the edges but still firm. Add leeks and apple with rosemary and cook another 5-7 minutes covered until leeks become tender.
Add red wine and pork chops, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes on a side until cooked through.
(The Prince insists that I must add the caution that one should not count on leftovers)
The old induction hot plate died, and while I was really irritated, I cannot say that ultimately, I was totally sorry. I was in a small town with a small-town Target and just had to buy something for cooking. I bought an Oster 12″ Titanium Infused Electric Skillet. I don’t ordinarily recommend products on this blog, but this one has been a good one for the past couple of weeks. It heats evenly, the non-stick coating is the real thing, and doesn’t take up an inordinate amount of space. I would say the one disadvantage is that unlike a burner, you can’t heat water for tea in it, nor would it really be good if you wanted a meal in a pot rather than a pan. I use a kettle to heat water for my pour-overs and for tea, so this isn’t a big deal to me.
That said, it is deep and is large enough to cook ample meals even for people with hearty appetites.
This meal is based more on memories of rice pilaf. Honestly, it was more about trying to use up what was in the fridge than being all special with the cooking. I was using up some small peppers I’d intended as easy veggies for lunches but really needed eating up and weren’t going to withstand being in a bento in a backpack for a morning. It is also a good one if you like rice, but don’t have a separate pot or rice cooker
- 1 c. Rice
- 1 lb chicken, diced
- ½ c. broccoli crowns
- 1 c. sliced red peppers (look, I like red pepper and broccoli. It’s a thing. One firmer veggie and another more delicate veggie would work here)
- ½ c. diced celery
- ½ c. diced onions
- 3 T. Olive oil
- 2 T. Minced Garlic
- 1 ½ c stock (I used chicken, but anything flavorful should do)
- 2 t. ground sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté chicken and oil on medium for a few minutes until it starts turning white with a few pink spots still showing (I am sure there is a real culinary term for this. I just don’t know it). Add the onions and celery and sauté until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the uncooked rice, sage, and garlic, sautéing until the rice starts to brown a bit. Add chicken stock and cook on low for about ten minutes. Cover and stir occasionally. Add broccoli and cook another five minutes, then add red peppers and cook for another three.