Like a lot of us, most days contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood doesn't have scads of time to spend cooking an elaborate dinner. Rather than reaching for convenience foods, though, he takes a little time on the weekends to "cook it forward," that is, to make up a big batch of staples for the week ahead.
Beans, Rice, Greens, Eggs
Much as I like to cook, I don’t have time to spend an hour or more every evening making good food. But when I do, I make enough to keep the refrigerator stocked with some basic leftovers. I cook a pot of beans at least once a week, make more rice than we’ll need for a single meal, and buy hearty greens like collards or cavalo nero in multiples of two. Nights I need a quick dinner, I combine them and top with a fried egg. The runny yolk mixes with the cooking liquid from the beans and greens, and the rice soaks it all up. It’s one of my favorite things to eat.
I cook the Haricot Farms Rojo Chiquito beans in the oven, and I don’t soak them first. In an oven-proof pot with a lid combine the beans with about three times as much water, a healthy pinch of sea salt, and at least a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Cook at 250° until tender, usually about 3 hours, sometimes longer. Check occasionally and add more water to keep the beans covered. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Make a big batch of Kokuho Rose brown rice (at least a couple of cups of uncooked rice) using the admittingly complicated soak, cook, rest, fluff, and rest technique. Measure the water (1 3/4 cup for each cup of rice), and let the rice soak in it for 20 minutes. Cook in your rice cooker or on the stovetop, and when the cooker switches to warm mode, pull the plug (stovetop: cook on very low for 30 minutes, check to see if the water’s cooked off, turn off heat when rice is dry). Let the rice rest with the lid on for 20 minutes, fluff it with a fork or your rice paddle, cover it back up and let rest for another 5-10 minutes. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Chop an onion and cook in extra virgin olive oil with a little salt for a few minutes. Chiffonade a couple of bunches of collards or cavalo nero (roll several leaves together into a tight cylinder, slice about half inch, repeat for rest of leaves). Add to onions with about a half cup of water. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
A few days later, put a big scoop of rice in a bowl, top with some beans and greens. Heat in the microwave (microwave haters can warm their leftovers on the stovetop or in the oven). Fry an egg in extra virgin olive oil; slide it out of the skillet into the rice, beans, and greens. Drizzle with a little more oil, sprinkle with flor de sal, splash on some Crystal if you want, and serve with a piece of toast.
You can find Jim peddling his plethora of grains, beans, Italian olive oils and salts at the Portland Farmers Market in the PSU Park Blocks downtown the next few Saturdays (9/25, 10/23, 11/20 and 12/18). He's at his Activspace warehouse store most Mondays from 5-7 pm. Address is 833 SE Main, number 122.