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Lately my sister has gotten in on the hot action of our kitchen. I don’t know when her desire to cook began but I’m thinking it has something to do with the fact that no one else was cooking for her anymore, and that making your own food is both healthier and cheaper. She’s big on both. But she’s also a pickier eater than I am. While I will try anything (except, possibly insects or things that are still alive on my plate) she draws the line at most things I try to force on her. And when she does eat them sometimes she loves them. Sometimes she mocks me. But she’s also got a shellfish allergies and a lactose intolerance. I know, two of the best things, right?

Anyway, combining her like of cheap, healthy food, my love of the gourmet and unique, and her dislike of, or inability to eat certain things has made for an interesting mash up. She has surprised me recently when we do get in the kitchen.
Once a die-hard bean hater (I think it comes from several years spent in a Tex-Mex restaurant) she has evolved enough that they are now a staple in her lunches. In fact, her lunches are often more interesting than mine, which when I’m lazy or have no leftovers, involve sandwiches like they have for the past 20 years of my life.

Today I finally have my taste for food again. It went into a semester long hibernation, waking only for Thanksgiving. And now that my papers are turned in, my exams over, it’s like I woke up hungry. I’ve been using that hunger to find recipes to spice up our recent consumption of rice and beans. Two of the cheapest foods out there, and some of the simplest to prepare; I confess I know little about them. But in order to keep my sister in the kitchen with me, and keep my stomach full on a grad student’s income I’ve been doing my food homework.

Ideas for R&B (the culinary kind) based on what is cheap/in the pantry

black beans
diced mango
serve with chicken
carmalized onions
cilantro & tomatoes with white rice
brown rice
sauteed with ghee, tumeric and cardamon before simmering
caramelized onions
onion and carrot
canned diced tomatoes
lots of thyme
1/2 cup of white wine
cooked together with brown rice
sautéed onion, ginger, garlic, fennel seeds, orange or lemon zest, raisins, and toasted nuts
sauteed ghee with coriander and cumin
mint, parsley, cliantro
white beans
white bean soup- cooked slowly with thyme, rosemary, sage, carrot and onion dressed with olive oil
sauteed greens (spinach, kale)
lime juice


wow, all that and cheaply too. I think you’ll be hearing more of my adventures with this magical fruit… Sorry. I had to.