Let's face it: as good as black bean dip tastes, it is UGLY. Greyish-purple, with green flecks if you add cilantro...people just don't reach for it first, you know? But I make it all the time because I have THE best recipe.
Cilantro Black Bean Dip
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 19-oz. can, drained and rinsed)
2/3 cup packed chopped cilantro (leaves AND stems)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. flax seed OR olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt (or less - I add this last, as canned beans tend to be kind of salty)
1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper powder or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Throw all in a blender or food processor and whiz it up! Add a drizzle of water if you prefer a thinner dip. This recipe is from Jae Steele's "Get It Ripe".
at Twig and Toadstool) page by adding some pretty pepper garnishes. It's still kinda UGLY, but it sure tastes nice.
Now for the Good and the Bad:
I try to follow the KISS principle as much as possible (Keep It Simple, Stupid). This is partly because to do anything else would be near impossible with my three small kids, farm life, addictive knitting habit, and part time job. But mostly it's a rebellion against the "Better Mother" disease that afflicts our society. Like, I'm better because I made a homemade cake. No, I'm better because I used only organic ingredients. No, I'M better because I got all the ingredients from my own farm. And on and on. I don't think women really think like this. But our society does TRY to create this sense of competition amongst mothers, and encourages our imaginings that women DO think like this. I used to love Mothering magazine but increasingly found myself with a vague sense of...failure when I read it. What? I have to make BENTO lunches for my child now? I've cancelled my subscription.
Honestly, we do enough. We have enough. We ARE enough. I had to remind myself of this yet again during a recent visit to Michael's, a huge craft store. A staff member was demonstrating a Cricut machine FOR FONDANT ICING. This is a groovy, retro-style, shiny red appliance that is digitally programmed to cut out scrapbook-type shapes from overpriced sheets of dry fondant icing. My head almost exploded. I blurted out, in a horror-movie-terrified-whisper-that-turns-into-a-shout, "This. is. INSANE!!!!!!"
Heads turned. The demonstrator levelled her gaze at me. "Why?", she asked. I tried to explain. About mothers. About how busy we are, how hard we work, how hard we try to make sure everyone is happy, fulfilled, loved, nurtured, has healthy food, does neat crafts and has lots of outside time, and has regular bowel movements. And now we have to turn out professional looking cakes on a $500 machine that we'll use 4 or 5 times a year until it malfunctions and we have to figure out where to put it??
Yes, I maybe overreacted. What makes me quake is that women buy into this, and maybe feel inferior if they can't afford one, or even if they just buy a cake mix to keep it simple.
Anyway, in rebellion (and also because I wanted to have a backup plan), I bought a Duncan Hines cake mix for Jude's birthday cupcakes. The morning of, however, he declared he wanted a CAKE. In our house, there are about 3 cakes worth baking. I'll share the other two some other day, but here is the Good in this post:
Decadent Chocolate Cake
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Grease and flour a 10" tube pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, pour boiling water over chocolate and butter to melt. Stir in vanilla and sugar. Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time, and blend well. Combine baking soda and sour cream, then whisk into chocolate mixture. Sift flour and baking soda together; stir into batter. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir in 1/4 of egg whites into batter, to lighten, then fold in the rest. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 min. until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then turn onto plate to cool completely before frosting.
Now, to put over the top, ice it with this icing:
In a heavy saucepan, combine 2 Tbsp. butter, and 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips over low heat. Whisk until melted. Add 6 Tbsp. whipping cream, 1 1/4 cups icing sugar (sifted), and 1 tsp. vanilla. Cool. Frost cake. Garnish with flowers, berries, nuts, etc.
And here it is: The Good. The very, very good.