Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mexican Beans with Epazote

Epazote (Mexican Tea and Wormseed) is an annual herb, native to tropical regions of Central and South America Its green jagged leaves emit aromas of petroleum and citrus while its flavor is pungent, lemony with a sharp finish that increases with age. Epazote is used in many traditional Mexican dishes (especially in Yucatecan dishes.) including tamales, mole de olla, salsa, traditional black beans, pinto beans and enchiladas. It is also a carminative, which means it reduces the gas associated with beans. To maximize flavor, the herb is added during the last 30 minutes of cooking.


Epazote (Fresh and Dried) (Click Image to enlarge)













1 Pound pinto beans, dry - Soaked overnight in cold water
2+ Tablespoons rendered pork lard for a shoulder roast
1 chopped onion
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 springs of dried epazote (4 inch long) added the last 30 minutes of cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
water

Add water to cover to a depth of three inches and throw away any floaters. Soak overnight. Drain soaked beans. Rinse twice then add fresh water to just cover by 1/2 inch, add lard, crushed red pepper, chopped onion, simmer slowly until almost tender (90 minutes). Now add epazote. Cook another 30 minute until just tender, adding water as necessary. Correct seasoning. Remove pieces of epazote and discard. It is amazing how tasty these beans are.

Garnish cooked beans with chopped mint and crumbled queso fresco. Make a fine burrito with left over spiced roast pork, pico-di-gallo, with your favorite tortillas.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Going Green – Delicious Lionfish

The lionfish is an explosively invasive fish and probably the worst man-made ecological disaster ever witnessed. By out-breeding, out-competing and out-living native fish stocks and other marine species, the consequences impact the food security and economies of the entire world. Efforts to eradicate the invasive lionfish are finally getting a seat at the big kids’ table: Whole Foods markets announced last week it will offer lionfish for sale.

According to Scott Harrell1 , "Lionfish is a white flaky fish, firmer in texture than halibut, no “red line” with a flavor profile somewhere between a thin grouper fillet and mahi mahi (dolphinfish or dorado depending upon where you live) with a touch of butter."

One way to control their population-females can produce two million eggs in a year--says Erin Spencer, a National Geographic young explorer--is to eat them.


Try these recipes



Notes:

  1. L. Scott Harrell is the co-founder of the World Lionfish Hunters Association. He now owns a scuba diving marketing consultancy in Cozumel, Mexico.
  2. A splash of vinegar can brighten, your sautee sauce.