I’m not feeling creative enough to cook anything new and exciting for dinner, but it is nice to get back into the hot foods rotation. This week we’ve had black bean soup (I doubled the recipe because there are never enough leftovers with the original quantities) and a Zuni roast chicken.
This time I found myself flavoring the chicken with fresh parsley, sage, and rosemary. I couldn’t help myself from throwing in some dried thyme, just to make it full-on Scarborough fair. I served it with mixed veggies and roasted organic potatoes.
I try to buy organic when I can—I’d say probably 75% of our produce is organic. Potatoes are one I haven’t traditionally bought organic, because there are so many varieties available only in conventional form. Then I listened to the audiobook of The Botany of Desire. Aside: I listen to a lot of audiobooks because Miles likes me to lie with him until he falls asleep, and it gets so boring if I don’t have something to listen to.
Anyway, in that book, the author interviews a potato farmer who uses conventional chemical pesticides. Apparently the stuff is so toxic that, in the days after applying it, the farmer won’t let any of his staff into the field. Even if part of the irrigation system breaks and it means losing a whole section of the crop, he go out there or let anyone else do it either. He also keeps a small organic patch of potatoes for his family. It’s just an anecdote, I know. There are probably a lot of potato farmers out there who are happy to eat their pesticided crops. I’m sure I do it every time I eat a potato in a restaurant. But it stuck with me.
So, yeah, I picked up some organic potatoes. All they had were redskins, and I typically like Yukon Gold or similar, but they turned out tastily anyway. I cut them into 1-inch chunks and soaked them in water for half an hour or so, then dried well, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them along with the chicken.
Back on the black bean soup, I served that with cornbread. The cornbread I make is just a variation on the recipe from the side of the cornmeal container. From what I understand, it’s a Northern-style cornbread; that is, it’s light-textured and sweet. It’s good with honey butter.
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 400F. Mix first six ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, then stir in wet ingredients until well-moistened, but don’t over-stir. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a cooking-sprayed 8″ or 9″ baking dish. I’ve also done this in an oven-proof skillet, and that’s good too.