Spicy Black Bean Stew

I’m sure there is no need to point out the obvious, but it is cold outside. Blisteringly cold. Oh, the joys of a New York winter. I, as I’m sure many of you are, am feeling pretty heavy and lethargic after the Holidays — and the cold weather outside isn’t helping matters. But if you are trying to start your New Year on a lighter note, this Spicy Vegan Black Bean Stew is my warming midwinter comfort food go to — try saying that three times in a row 🙂 Simple. Warm. Light, yet filling. Delicious! Serve over cilantro brown rice, or with a chunk of crusty sourdough bread. Enjoy! And stay warm.

Spicy Black Bean Stew
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1.5 cups dried black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight or 2 (15 oz) cans black beans
1 tsp salt
1 tbs + ¼ tsp cumin, divided
1 bay leaf
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, washed, peeled, cut into thin slices
3 stalks celery, washed, cut into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup filtered water
salt and pepper to taste
1 bundle fresh cilantro (chop only what is needed right before serving)
avocado slices (for garnish, optional, although pairs nicely with spiciness of stew)

Method:
1) Rinse soaked beans, combine with enough water to cover by 3 inches, then add salt, ¼ tsp of the cumin, and bay leaf in 1-gallon pot, bring to a boil, simmer for 35 minutes (beans should still have a slight bite at this point, as they will continue cooking in the stew). Drain beans, set aside
2) Heat olive oil in a 1-gallon pot, once shimmering, add onions, carrots, and celery and sweat until onions are translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Add garlic, remaining 1tbs cumin, chili powder, cayenne and continue to cook (approx. 3 minutes)
3) Add tomatoes, water, and beans to the pot, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender
4) Season with salt and pepper to taste
5) Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced avocado

Eating Goals in 2018

Happy 2018!

As we move into the second week of the year, I am still thinking about my goals for the upcoming 12 months.  One of them is to be more ‘in the know’ about what is going on around me. This includes everything from what the President is writing about on Twitter to where I should eat in New York City and Beyond.  Every night I do ask my husband ‘Did anything exciting happen in the world today?’ He always has something to tell me although it might not be totally relevant.  Unfortunately, he can only keep up with so much so I had to turn to the internet to find out where I should eat.

Here is my list so far for 2018, let me know if you there are any other places you think I should add.

Satsuki: An old-style omakase is served at this sushi bar as part of the larger Suzuki Restaurant and Three Pillars bar next door. I had the opportunity to start the year off right with a delicious meal prepared by Chef Toshio Suzuki.

Nur: My friends have been raving about this amazing place in the Flatiron District.  Tagged as Modern Middle Eastern Cuisine, the menu ranges from Honey Garlic Challah to Andalusian Tuna and there is even a dessert called Hills of Jerusalem, complete with Jerusalem Artichokes.  This place is small so I’m going to make sure I reserve well in advance.

Union Square Café: This was one of the first restaurants I went when I first moved to New York City.  The restaurant has moved  but I understand they are still serving the same high quality simple food. I’m looking forward to a comforting meal on a chilly winter night. We’ve had plenty of those to start the year!

The Aviary: I was head over heals in love with my first meal at Alinea in Chicago and couldn’t be more excited to be able to find a taste of that in New York City.  The Aviary is an interactive guest experience where small plates and cocktails come together.

Empire Diner: Diner food is comfort food but is made even better when chefs use creative ingredients to recreate them in an ‘upscale’ environment. Perhaps this is the one restaurant on this list where I’ll take my kids. Although they might not appreciate the better version of their chicken fingers and French fries.

Happy Dining and Happy Friday,

Julie