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Monday, March 31, 2008

Food Safety: Cutting out Cantaloupe Cross Contamination

Here's the thing: I don't wash much produce. Not Bananas, oranges, apples, winter squash, zucchini, green peppers, or green beans. Not even broccoli or cantaloupe. Unless it seems dirty. I always wash leeks, lettuce, spinach, kale, collards because they always have silt or sand in them. I generally wash potatoes, carrots, and beets, because they grow underground and "might" be dirty. I don't wash waxed rutabagas before I peel them. I really don't obsess about whether food I am just about to cook might have a few invisible germs on it.

And my family is fine.

All the recent talk about how difficult it actually is to rinse, soak, wash, bleach, or scrub the germs off the surface of a cantaloupe got me wondering. The discussions at Fanatic Cook raise a lot of valid points about how hard it is to make sure you've gotten rid of something you can't even see. So I found this video from the International Food Safety Network refreshing. Instead of instruction in eliminating the invisible, it counsels cutting down on cross contamination. At six minutes, it seems a little long. So I'll summarize:

  • It is really hard to scrub the germs off a cantaloupe.

  • You might splash wash-water all over the place.

  • Instead, cut down contact between the outside and the inside

  • Cut the (unwashed) cantaloupe into quarters. You won't spread many bacteria to the flesh.

  • Now use a clean knife to separate the flesh from the rind.

  • Slide that flesh onto a clean cutting board. Wash your hands before you handle the flesh further.

  • Refrigerate the cut cantaloupe immediately.

Of course I routinely wash my hands before cooking, even thought they don't look dirty. But, for some reason, I just can't see doing the same with the produce, and this approach makes more sense to me.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Food Safety: Familiarity Breeds Fear

In the US, we now keep track of more information about our food supply than we ever did before. Even eggs now have individual tracking codes. Bacteria can get their DNA fingerprints checked. This makes it possible to say that 50 gastroenteritis patients all carry the same strain of Salmonella, and all ate cantaloupes from a single farm in Honduras.

Lately, we hear more and more stories like this. We seem to hear more and more stories about how some food or food product is making people sick, and wonder: Is this a new threat to our food supply? I don't think so. But, then, I don't really know. I went looking for summaries of cases food-related illness, hoping to see some per-capita trends. But it wasn't that simple. Because it is really tough to get a handle on how many people are getting sick. Many of them don't go to the doctor. Many doctors don't take samples to be cultured. How many? Who can tell? Maybe the rate of "underreporting" as it is called is changing. How much? Who can tell? How many of these illnesses are caused by food we buy in the supermarkets? That's hard to tell, too. It is clear, though, that things are changing. Supermarkets, warehousers, shippers, packers, and farmers are all required to keep more comprehensive and elaborate records than they've ever kept before, and the CDC is working hard to get doctors to check more carefully for evidence of foodborne illnesses.

Just exactly how did the FDA link 50 cases of Salmonella in 16 states with cantaloupes from a single farm in Honduras?

"The CDC monitors the frequency of Salmonella ... and assists ... Health Departments".1 The CDC had to recognize 50 or more Salmonella patients (0.000017% of the US population) as a significant increase in frequency, quite separate from gastroenteritis patients with E. Coli, Giardia, virus or other infections, or no infections at all. For each of those 50 or more patients, there was a physical examination, stool sample collection and culture, and an expensive DNA test to determine how many had the same strain of Salmonella. According to the CDC, the FDA collaborated with the CDC and state health officials to ask a lot of questions about everything the infected people had eaten recently. And compare that to everything a bunch of uninfected people had eaten recently. They would have had to consider all the eggs, milk, poultry, beef, and produce the patients had eaten, as well as any pet turtles or other domesticated or wild animals or animal poop they may have come in contact with. They needed to figure out if the infections came from restaurants or if the foods came from grocery stores. They studied data collected between January 18 and March 5, and concluded that "cantaloupe is the likely source of infections".2

At some point, the FDA started a "traceback investigation" in which they needed to figure out where every bite of cantaloupe had come from, and figure out how it had gotten there, long after the food itself was gone. They needed to figure out if the infections had come from restaurants or supermarkets, from delivery trucks, food warehouses, ships, or trains, a packing house, or a farm. There must have been a team assigned to build and use a database of information from infected and uninfected people, grocers and warehouses and shippers, following all the paths the cantaloupes might have followed. Eventually, they eliminated all other leads, reported that "[p]reliminary results ... indicate that cantaloupes consumed by ill persons were grown in Honduras,2 and issued a statement that they all came from one farm.3

I can only guess about all the steps involved. Can you imagine the number of man-hours involved in this investigation? The medical and lab supplies used? Computer power required to build a database of every food the patients ate? Resources used by grocers, truckers, warehouse operators, and other shippers to maintain the records that made it possible to traceback all that food and determine that the only thing those 50 patients had in common was the farm their cantaloupes were grown on?

This kind of investigation simply was not possible even ten years ago. The pieces have only fallen into place recently -- you can see the evidence in the farmer's name on every piece of fruit, and the tracking code on every egg.

Ten or fifteen years ago, this outbreak might not have been recognized. Fifty cases out of 300 million is only 0.000017% of the US population. The CDC might not have been able to connect 2 cases of gastroenteritis in one state to 2 cases of Salmonellosis in another. And no-one could have traced individual pieces of produce back to the farm they grew on in another country. The records simply were not there. But now they are. Since it was established in 1996, FoodNet (a collaborative effort by the CDC, FDA, USDA and state health departments) has expanded to include 15% of the US population in 10 states.4

So expect more bad news about produce, simply because the news is available. FoodNet reports make clear that the incidence of laboratory-confirmed infections by commonly-foodborne pathogens has increased in the past couple of years after a few years of decreases. But FoodNet does not make it clear how much of this increase is due to an increase in reporting. Their 1999 discussion of assumptions made in surveillance of foodborne illness makes it clear that they don't have a handle on just how accurate these assumptions are.5 But it is clear that as we become more and more familiar with stories of foodborne illnes, we are growing more and more fearful of our food supply.

And I still can't tell: Are things getting worse, or are we just better informed! As long as foodborne illness underreporting rates keep changing, it is going to be difficult to talk about the true rate of change in foodborne illnesses in this country. The CDC publishes weekly tables of the incidence of notifiable diseases in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That's a lot of data! I certainly can't make sense of it in an afternoon. I don't have the knowledge and experience to make sense of it in a week or two. I don't even know what field I'd need to study in order to learn how to make sense of it, and what assumptions the experts make.

So I am going to wait for the experts to duke it out, knowing full well that the evidence will seem to point first in one direction and then in another. In the meantime, what am I going to eat?

1. Salmonellosis: What is the government doing, US Centers for Disease Control, as of March 28, 2008
2. Investigation of Outbreak of Infections Caused by Salmonella Litchfield US Centers for Disease Control, March 22, 2008
3. FDA Warns of Salmonella Risk with Cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano, US Food and Drug Administration, March 22, 2008
4. Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food --- 10 States, 2006, FoodNet, April 13, 2007
5. Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States, CDC FoodNet, Emerging Infections Diseases V5No5, September-October 1999

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Red Lentils with Bengali Spices

One day, when I had run out of dinner ideas, I decided to do something with the red lentils I'd had in my pantry for months. Of course I had no idea what to do with them, which is why they had been sitting for so long. But a quick online search turned up several recipes. Some call for cooking the lentils no more than 10 minutes, while others call for more than 30 minutes.

Red lentils, with their skin removed, split the way split peas are split. They cook very quickly. I concluded that, if you want the lentils whole, you should cook them for no more than 20 minutes. If you want a pureed texture, cook them for 30 minutes or more. They are also called pink lentils or masoor dal. They turn from red to yellow during cooking, which really surprised me.

I picked a recipe called Bengal Red Lentils with Spices, which called for Bengali Panch Phoron, a simple five-spice mix. I didn't have all the spices, but I didn't let that stop me. I substituted butter for usli ghee (clarified butter), and used a bit less. I substituted a little jalapeno for the green chilis, and cayenne powder for the dried red chilis. I left out the Nigella entirely. Instead of Fenugreek seeds, I added just a little imitation maple flavor (which is mostly fenugreek) to the finished dish.

From the moment I started frying onions, tomatoes, and ginger in a little butter, the kitchen filled with a wonderful smell. When I started frying my panch phoron substitute, the whole house became fragrant. My children asked me if I had some Indian food. Not quite, but something a little bit like it. What I came up with is not authentic Bengali cooking, but it is a quick, delicious dish that features some flavors from Bengal. If it becomes a regular on our menu, I may even buy some Nigella or Fenugreek for even more flavor. And the next time I visit an Indian Restaurant, I'll look for Bengali specialties like Red Lentils with Panch Phoron, to find out what I have been missing.

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Red Lentils with Bengali Spices

Based on a recipe from Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking by Julie Sahni, this recipe is adapted to use ingredients which are common in many parts of the US.

Recipe By: Family Nutritionist
Serving Size: 8
Cuisine: Indian
Main Ingredient: Lentils
Categories: Vegetarian, Advance, Vegetables, Side Dish, Main Dish

-= Ingredients =-
~~ Boiling the dal ~~
1 1/2 cup Red lentils (masar dal)
1/4 Jalapeno peppers
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
4 1/2 cup Water
1/4 teaspoon Salt ; or to taste
~~ Tomato-Onion paste ~~
1 tablespoon Unsalted butter
1 cup Onion ; minced
1 cup Tomatoes
1 tablespoon Fresh ginger ; grated or crushed
~~ Perfumed Butter ~~
1 tablespoon Unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon Fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon Nigella seed ; (also called onion seed, black sesame, black cumin, kalonji)
1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek seed ; (imitation maple flavor contains Fenugreek)
4 Bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne ; or crushed red pepper (piquin)
2 teaspoon garlic ; minced

-= Instructions =-
1. Pick, clean, and wash the red lentils. Add to a deep pot with chilies, turmeric, water, and salt.
and cook the red lentils, chilies, turmeric, salt and water. Put the ingredients in a deep pot; bring to boil. Stir often to make sure they do not lump together. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until tender. The lentils will turn yellow.

2.While the lentils are cooking, heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and fry until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Add the tomatoes and continue frying until the tomatoes are cooked. Add the ginger, and continue cooking until the mix is a uniform thick pulp, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato-onion paste and salt to the cooked lentils.

Serving: 2/3 cups (215g), Calories: 167: Fat: 4g (21% of Cals): Sodium: 84mg
Protein: 10g, NetCarbs: 20, K: 304mg
SatFat: 2g, PolyFat: 1g, MonoFat: 1g, Chol: 8mg
TotCarbs: 25g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 1g

DASH: Vegetables: 0.5: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish: 0.0: Seeds: 0.9: Fats: 0.8: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 0.3: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 0.9: Fats: 0.8: Sweets: 0.0

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: http://www.bigoven.com **

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Food Safety: When do you wash your produce?

There's an interesting discussion going on at the Fanatic Cook blog. It began with Honduran cantaloupes that are associated with a Salmonella outbreak in the US.

Of course, produce grows outdoors in the dirt. Animals poop outdoors in the dirt. Contamination from passing birds, livestock, or vermin is always a possiblity. When I buy a melon directly from the farmer, it is dirty. Before I slice it, I give that melon a good rinse and scrub-down in the sink. Afterwards, I give the sink a soapy scrub-down to clean it. This keeps the dirt, and the germs in the dirt, off the counter, cutting board, and knife, and out of the food.

But when I buy a melon at the supermarket, it looks as clean as if I had just washed it myself. So I don't wash it. I rarely wash apples, oranges, or tomatoes. I have never washed a banana. Have you? Even though you know that, every time you grab a piece of produce, you could get invisible germs on your hands and spread them all over the kitchen? Why aren't you and your family sick every single day? Is this like playing Russian Roulette with vegetables?

Well, maybe. Most tragedies happen after a whole string of things has gone wrong. And there are many opportunities between the field and the plate to prevent a food-borne illness.

Most soil germs are not dangerous. But fertilizer/manure or irrigation water could be contaminated and spread germs in the field. The dirty-looking recirculated wash water they use in packing plants could be OK if they treat it properly, or it could be putting germs right back on the potatoes. Workers could be protecting the food, or contaminating it if they don't wash their hands. And you never know who has handled the produce in the grocery store.

Knowing all that, I'm responsible for the food I choose and how I handle it. I follow a few simple rules.

  • Vegetable washes haven't proven to be any more effective than plain, clean water at removing bacteria, so I stick with plain water, and scrub, rub, agitate, or spray.
  • Keep the sink and the scrubbers clean.
  • There is no way to remove 100% of the germs on foods. So try not to let the germs grow. Eat, cook, or refrigerate things soon after you cut them.
  • If those watermelon slices start to look "different", it's time to toss them. Avoid damaged produce. Don't eat rotten stuff.
  • This summer, I'm sure I'll still be eating unwashed vegetables straight off the vine.
  • I'm not going to start washing bananas.
  • I'll think again about prewashed mini-carrots, but I'll probably keep trusting the Jolly Green Giant, the distribution network, and my local grocery store.

FIT vegetable wash powder (Citric acid, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium carbonate & magnesium carbonate, Grapefruit Oil extract) was developed by Proctor and Gamble, which then sold the license to Healthpro Brands. It is distributed to growers, packers, and shippers by Caruso Foods

According to the Cornell Department of Agriculture, no-one knows how much food-borne illness originates on the farm.

Bleaching produce is only recommeded in extreme situations, such as flooding. Leafy vegetables, fleshy vegetables (tomatoes, summer squash, peppers) and berries cannot be adequately disinfected. Other contaminated vegetables can be cleaned in fresh water and then soaked in a very weak chlorine solution for 15 to 20 minutes.

Did you hear A&P sued a couple of its former stock clerks for making a video in which they licked produce and put it back on the shelves?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Greens -- Spinach and Chard

Spinach was the only cooked leafy vegetable I'd had growing up. In the early seventies, apparantly, it was only available frozen -- precooked and compressed into a frozen brick. It cooked up so limp, slippery, and stringy it could slip down my throat while I was still chewing. It was not my favorite vegetable.

Then, one year, my mother planted chard. It was like spinach, but not really. It came straight out of the garden, fresh and green. Cooked, it was slightly sweet, something I could sink my teeth into. We ate a lot of it, too. I remember watching the stockpot lid slowly settle as the enormous pile of chard subsided under the influence of steam. And the tiny baby chard leaves oftened livened up our green salads.

Later, we had the chance to try fresh baby spinach, too. It was a novelty, and we always had it as a salad, with a slightly sweet dressing that featured bacon and chopped eggs.

Now, chard, triple-washed baby spinach are available every day at the grocery store, and (in season) at farmer's markets. Sometimes, I can even get great-looking beet greens. I've tried them all in salads, in soups, and as a vegetable side.

Spinach is so tender I still prefer it raw, quickly sautéed, or added to a soup. Chard can stand up to being served as a cooked vegetable, and my kids prefer it to Collards, Kale, Mustard, or Turnip greens.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Greens -- an introduction

Fresh Greens

I was just reading 5 Super Ingredients by Melanie at dietriffic. She just discovered an Asian green called Choy Sum, and gave a stir-fry recipe. She says she means to add more greens to her diet. It's a good idea. People have been eating greens for a long time, but where meat and carbohydrates are cheap, people seem to start leaving greens off their plate, which is a shame. Greens are the green leaves of non-heading herbaceous plants, eaten as vegetables. They are generally rich in vitamins A, B (including folate), C, E, and K, as well as antioxidants and have varying amounts of the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Heading cabbages (red and green), iceberg lettuce, and Belgian endive are pale by comparison and so are not treated as greens. They don't develop nearly as many nutrients.

Serving Size
Fresh raw greens, torn or sliced, are fluffy, but will compact when you cook it. To get a half-cup serving of spinach, you'll need to eat a full cup of raw spinach salad, or a quarter cup of well-cooked spinach. Collards, kale, and other, more sturdy greens, won't compact quite as much as spinach will.

Preparing Greens
Very young greens are tender and can be eaten with their ribs, veins, and stems. Sturdier and more mature greens may have tough or bitter stems and veins, which need to be torn or stripped out. Large Romaine lettuce can be torn away from the thickest, whitest portion of its stem. With sturdy collards, grab the stem with one hand, wrap your other hand around the leaf, and strip it right off the vein.

Greens grow close to the ground, so they can be sandy or muddy. If you've got just 4-5 leaves of Romaine for your salad, you can give them a quick "shower" under running water. If you've got a couple pounds of greens, give them a bath in a large bowl or your well-cleaned sink. Agitate the leaves, let the dirt settle, scoop out the leaves, rinse the sink, and do it again. Check the bottom of the sink for dirt and sand. If you got it all, you are done.

To quickly chop a big pile of greens, stack a few up, roll them around their central veins, and slice them into ribbons with a chef's knife. You can turn the mass of ribbons sideways if you like and slice them into rough rectangles.

Most types of greens don't need to cook long -- five minutes or less for very tender young greens, 10 minutes for most sturdy large-leafed greens, 20 minutes for really tough, mature leaves, and longer for certain greens that contain a lot of oxalic acid.

Lettuce is a members of the daisy family. Many Western varieties have been bred for mild flavor to be used in fresh salads, while many more bitter Asian varieties have been bred for use in cooking. They all belong to the same species. People have been eating lettuces for over 4000 years. The darker green loose-leaf lettuces have lots of vitamins and minerals and a mild flavor. A popular way to serve lettuce in the US is in a green salad.
Endives, Radicchio and Escarole are all related to chicory, another member of the daisy family. Most are more bitter than lettuces. While Radicchio and curly endive are used in fresh salads, escarole is usually served served as a cooked green or as a soup.

Spinach, Chard (Silverbeet), Beet Greens. Chard and Beets are different varieties of beet, while spinach is a close relative. These greens have a mild flavor. Young leaves are used fresh in salads while older leaves are cooked.
Amaranth Greens are related to spinach and chard, and are usually eaten cooked.
Spinach and Amaranth leaves contain a fair amount of oxalic acid, which can cause problems for people susceptible to gout or kidney stones

Kole greens like collards, kale, turnip and mustard greens, rapini, Chinese mustard, choy sum, bok choy and kai lan are all the same species as turnips, and are closely related to cabbage and broccoli. Most of these are served cooked, although young mustard greens are can be eaten raw in salads.
Arugula or Rocket is in the same family as cabbages, has a peppery taste, and is often used like lettuce

Taro, Kalo, Dasheen, malanga, cocoyam -- varieties of colocasia and xanthosoma have been grown around the world for thousands of years. The greens contain needles of oxalic acid, and must be cooked for a long time before they can be eaten. These greens are popular in the Caribbean and Polynesia

Weeds or uncultivated greens Other greens, such as dandelion, lamb's quarters, miner's lettuce, and purslane, are collected wild and are not as likely to show up in the supermarket. Some of these greens contain even more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than supermarket variety greens.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Fanatic Cook: Milking The Schedule

Bix blogs about an NPR commentary I missed this morning: Fanatic Cook: Milking The Schedule. Apparantly, all the cows in the US are tired today, too, on account of being woken up an hour early.

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Caribbean Flavor: A Big Pot of Greens

A variety of greens are popular in the Caribbean, some of which actually require long cooking. But many greens can be cooked in 10 minutes.

While the Southern US pot of greens is often finished with vinegar, this version uses fresh lime juice and a little allspice for a bright, tropical flavor. Use chard (which is like a sturdier spinach leaf) or cruciferous greens such as kale (the sweetest), mustard or turnip (both of which have a mustardy snap that dissipates during cooking), or collard (which can be slightly bitter) for a hearty dish. Don't throw away the cooking liquid. That "pot liquor" is tasty and delicious.

This is my own interpretation of two tasty-sounding recipes -- Carribean style Greens and Island Collards. If you can't take the heat, leave out the jalapeño.

Caribbean-Inspired Greens

Recipe By: Family Nutritionist

-= Ingredients =-
2 lb Collard Greens ; (or kale, mustard, or turnip)
1/8 pound Bacon ; or other smoked meat
1 cup Onion ; finely chopped
1 small Jalapeno peppers ; (red) stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon Allspice
1 tablespoon Water
1 dash Black pepper ; freshly ground
2 teaspoon Lime juice ; or lemon juice

-= Instructions =-
Wash the greens well in several changes of water. Remove the thick rib from the center of the leaves; chop coarsely.

Chop the bacon into small bits, add to a large pot, and cook 5 minutes. Pour off any excess fat. Sauté onion, pepper, and allspice until softened -- do not brown.

Add the damp greens to the pot. Cover and cook until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add a little additional water, if necessary. Stir often. Drain, if necessary.

Stir in the lime juice and serve.

Serving Size: 0.5 cups; (151g) Calories: 82: Fat(g): 4 (49%of Cals): Sodium (g): 75
Protein: 4g, NetCarbs: 5, K: 239mg
SatFat: 2g, PolyFat: 1g, MonoFat: 2g, Chol: 5mg
TotCarbs: 9g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 1g

Food Group Serving(s)
DASH: Vegetables: 1.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish: 0.0: Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 0.9: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 0.5: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 0.9: Sweets: 0.0

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Caribbean Flavor: Black Bean Soup

The winter is coming to an end in the US mid-atlantic states. Even though this has been a mild winter, Spring fever has many people thinking of warmer weather and warmer climates. Caribbean-inspired dishes seem to hit the spot.

This dish is similar to what you can find in many Cuban restaurants in Florida. Even though it is eaten in warmer climates, it is warming enough for the tail-end of winter. Vary the seasoning with a little allspice if you want to bring to mind the flavors of some of the other islands.

This hearty vegan soup is low in fat and salt and a great favorite with the kids (if you go easy on the cayenne). Garnish with sour cream, if you like, and serve chopped onions and chilis on the side. Serve a large portion as a main course or a smaller portion as an appetizer.

You can use canned black beans, but you'll get a better flavor and avoid the salt if you cook them yourself. A pressure cooker gets the job done in 1/6 the time.

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Recipe By: Family Nutritionist
Serving Size: 15
Main Ingredient: Beans
Categories: Vegetarian, Vegan, Soup

-= Ingredients =-
7 1/2 cups Cooked Black Beans no na
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 cup Onion ; chopped fine
1/2 Red bell pepper ; 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 cup Low-salt Vegetable Stock
1/2 teaspoon Salt ; and pepper to taste

-= Instructions =-
One pound of dry black beans (about 2 ½ cups dry), yields about 6 ¼ cups cooked.
Three cups yields 7 cups cooked; 6 cups yields about 15 cups cooked.
For each cup of dry beans: soak in 3 cups water overnight, then drain and simmer in 3 cups of water for 3 hours, adding water as necessary. Or cook in pressure cooker with 3 cups of water for 25 minutes. Drain.

Heat stockpot on Medium-high heat. Add oil. Cook onions and red pepper, for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add cumin, coriander, oregano, and cayenne and cook 1 more minute.

Add black beans and vegetable stock; stir. Bring to a boil on HIGH. Reduce heat to MEDIUM. Simmer 20 min; stir occasionally. Stir in vinegar. Adjust seasoning.

Servings: 30: Serving Size: 0.8 cups (161g) Calories: 130: Fat(g): 1 (10%of Cals): Sodium (g): 200
Protein: 9g, NetCarbs: 13, K: 325mg
SatFat: 0g, PolyFat: 0g, MonoFat: 1g, Chol: 0mg
TotCarbs: 21g, Fiber: 8g, Sugars: 0g

Food Group Serving(s)
DASH: Vegetables: 0.1: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish: 0.0: Seeds: 1.0: Fats: 0.2: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 0.1: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 0.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 1.0: Fats: 0.2: Sweets: 0.0

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references

Article edited on 14 March 2008 -- I corrected my math on time savings with the pressure cooker. Thirty minutes is 1/6 of 3 hours.

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