Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vegetarian Refried Black Eyed Peas Tacos

Sometimes I am glad that I throw things into a Crock Pot, because you never know when you are going to get hungry. A little known fact about the old electric slow cooker is that it was invented for cooking beans, and let me say that it does an admirable job of that. No soaking is required, and the beans turn out marvelous. I made a batch of black eyed peas a few days ago, and they will become the feature ingredient in some vegetarian tacos, since the little guys are really a bean and not a pea, they should make some great refried stuff. The recipe is pretty simple, and most of the magic happens in the Crock Pot.

Vegetarian Refried Black Eyed Peas Tacos

To make the beans...
Into the Crock Pot:

1 16oz package of Black Eyed Peas
1 red onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tsp whole oregano
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 quarts water

Cook the beans on high for about 6-8 hours, or until they are tender. Easy enough! Now you can enjoy the fresh beans, and store some in the fridge for later after they have cooled off. For the tacos, I am using some of the beans that have been hiding in the fridge for a few days.

To make the Tacos...

1 cup cooked Black Eyed Peas
1 tsp olive oil
3 corn tortillas
1 half avocado
3 tbsp fresh deli salsa
3 tbsp grated cheddar cheese

Fry the beans in a small pan with the olive oil, mashing them as they heat up, until you get a nice pasty refried bean. Toast the corn tortillas in a hot skillet ( a great tip is to dip them in water first, and use a non-stick pan ). Assemble the tacos! Beans first, then cheese so it can get melty on top of the beans, avocado slices, and fresh salsa! That's it!

I may update this post later with the economics, but I am sure it will come out to be very cheap per 3 taco serving.


Food Economics:

I am assuming (economics is always full of assumptions) that for one package of black eyed peas, I come up with 8 servings. Of course, I think that the cooked product actually yields more than this, but for now, it is a good assumption.

Black eyed Peas - 16oz $1.35 = ($0.168 1 serving)
Red Onion - $1 = ($0.125 1 serving)
Cheddar Cheese - 8oz bag $2.49 = ($0.311 1 serving)
Corn Tortillas - 30ct $1.49 = ($0.149 for 3)
Avocado - $0.99 each = ($0.495 for half)
Fresh Salsa - 16oz tub $2.99 = ($0.186 1oz)
All spices, olive oil = ($0.100 this is totally an estimate, since the spices and oil were all in my pantry already)

Grand total = $ 1.54 per 3 taco plate!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blog Revisited - Cottage Wheat Bread

I suppose that it was inevitable that I would return to this blog in order to start yapping about my adventures in food. Let's face it, life really isn't worth talking about, especially since nobody really wants to hear about it. I guess that when life is good, so is the food, so let's leave it at that. My previous attempts to scribble about my life seemed rather fruitless. I went back and read my posts, and I was bored silly. I am now going to dedicate this blog to two things that I am sure I would be interested in going back to review. The food that I eat, and the dreams that I have. I will post more of both from now on.

It all started when my mother insisted on sending me an automatic bread machine. Made by Hitachi, she bought the latest and greatest in home appliance technology in 1994 for $150 bucks. I really didn't want the thing, and did my dog gone-est to avoid it, but somehow it ended up at my house. It has collected dust for quite some time, so I finally elected to get it out and make a loaf of bread, possibly the product of me trying to avoid my Sustainable Development reading by making some kind of attempt at being sustainable. Sure, baking my own bread. Way to go natural-like. Anyway, I flipped through the bread machine recipes and found one that sounded interesting. I have never heard of this type of bread, so it was worth a shot. "Cottage Wheat Bread", a delicious sounding mixture of wheat flour and cottage cheese. I will attempt to both list the recipe, ingredient cost, and total food cost for one loaf of bread. I am hoping that the food economics here will produce some interesting results. Here goes!

The Recipe
Cottage Wheat Bread - (from Fleischmann's Yeast Bread Machine Favorites)
For 1 pound loaf

2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cream style cottage cheese1 tbsp butter or margarine
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup bread flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp Fleischmann's Bread Machine yeast

The ingredients all go into the bread machine, in this order: First the milk, cottage cheese and butter. Then the dry stuff, waiting until the very end to add the yeast on top of the flour, making sure it does not go into the wet stuff. Bread machine is set to basic, light crust, and PRESTO.....off it goes. I will have an update in about 4 hours to let you know what it comes out like.

Food Economics:

Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour - 5# bag - $3.69 = ( 6.5 oz = .300)
Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour - 5# bag - $3.49 = (6.5 oz = .284)
Fleischmanns Bread Machine yeast - 4oz jar - $8.99 = (1/4 oz = .561)
Imperial Margarine - 1# - $0.99 = (1 tbsp = .030)
Lucerne Whole Milk - 1/2 gallon - $1.99 = (2/3 c = .165)
Knudsen Small Curd Cottage Cheese - 16oz - $3.29 = (4oz = .822) or (.572)**
Brown Sugar - 2# - $2.69 = (3/8oz = .032)
Salt - 26oz - $0.99 = (1/4oz = .010)

Whew! So, there we have it. On the right side is the purchase cost, and in parenthesis, the actual ingredient cost based on the recipe. Add it all up and we get a total of.......

Grand Total = $2.20 per 1 pound loaf of bread !!

** - As you can see, by far, the biggest cost comes from the cottage cheese. I am a bit pissed about that, because the damn grocery store had things priced incorrectly! The cottage cheese should have been $2.29 (I check ALL of my prices). Not to split hairs, but this would have brought the actual cost per loaf down to $1.95. Well, since they screwed up, I can go back with my receipt, show them the shelf price, and guess what....they have to give me the item for free.

I will update this post in about 4 hours, when the bread is finished.


Well, exactly 4 hours and 10 minutes later, the machine beeped and the bread was ready. It was a cube shaped, heavy loaf with a rather hard crust. It smelled wonderful. I sliced it open, and to my surprise, it had a good consistency and looked a lot like, well, wheat bread.

I buttered a slice, and well, it tasted a lot like wheat bread. I could not tell that there was any cottage cheese in it at all. There was no noticeable tang or cheesy flavor. On the good side, it was a very nice loaf, and I like that I can slice it to make nice thick pieces. On the bad side, it did not have any cottage cheese flavor, and well, that was the most expensive ingredient. Next time, I will shoot for some other kind of bread.....stay tuned.