I recently had one of those epic and bewildering days where nothing (nothing!) really seemed to go my way.
I didn't (thank goodness) have a particularly ambitious agenda, and nothing really disastrous happened, so it's not that things went terribly wrong - but they also didn't go terribly right, and by day's end, even I was tired of hearing my own voice uttering variations on the word "no."
The (not very pretty) quesadillas you see here sum things up:
They were delicious, a hot, quick, and relatively nutritious lunch; but only my husband and I ate them. My kids wouldn't touch them!
And the salsa fresca that I envisioned accompanying them? Mealy and watery, and somehow both tasteless and excessively garlicky all at once.
No tragedy. But an uphill battle all the way.
Still, by day's end, there were sleeping children, wine, a delicious soup (which I forgot to photograph), and some long-overdue adult conversation.
Also, the promise of a better day tomorrow.
And this way of preparing black beans, which was the delightful discovery that would, on a normal day, have turned things around.
Slightly Redeeming Refried Beans
I come from a long line of women who can't stand refried beans, but I love these, and they keep well, so a quick hot lunch can be had in the time it takes to heat a tortilla in a pan.
1/4c olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika (hot or mild)
2 - 540mL cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2c - 1c chicken or vegetable broth
In a large, shallow saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden, 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic; saute another minute or so, then add cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano. Stir well. Add beans, then 1/2c broth, Simmer 5-8 minutes, or until beans are soft (I'd taste a bean at 5 minutes - personally I prefer them not too mushy). If they seems a little dry for your taste, add the remaining 1/2c of broth and cook until heated through.
Remove from heat, and mash as much or as little as you'd like (I used a potato masher).
Makes about 6 cups.