Saturday, July 9, 2011
Reduced Guilt Brownies
I am a horrible packrat and I know it. I blame it on the Great Depression.
Wait, you think I lived through that? No, even though a big birthday is coming up I'm not THAT old. My grandparents lived through it. My father's parents raised two kids and pinched pennies till they screamed for mercy (the pennies, not the kids) while the country suffered through profound economic turmoil. They raised a lot of their own food in the garden, made it themselves or did without, and never, EVER threw anything away. Because, after all, you might need it again.
The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Can you guess something about my father? Yes, he's a packrat, too. His workshop is a museum of projects past and present. Old sports equipment, broken bits of jewelry, dried paint cans, and scraps of lumber. You never know what you'll find in there, because, after all, he might need that again.
I have to fight this tendency in my own life. The most difficult things for me to part with are magazines (I can't just throw away a Bon Appetite, for goodness sake! I might want to cook one of those recipes. Someday. If I remember it. And can find it.), cardboard boxes (what if I need to mail a package, what will I put it in if all the boxes are promptly put out in recycling like my husband prefers?), and, of course, food.
There is tremendous guilt attached to unused food. There are children starving in Bangladesh! How can I just casually toss out leftovers just because no one wants to eat it? My refrigerator is stuffed with plastic food coffins, waiting for the lids to bulge so that I have permission to throw the contents away. No shame in throwing away bad food (except for letting it go bad in the first place).
An obvious solution comes to mind. When I get a cardboard box, I need to ruthlessly clean out the refrigerator, put it all in the cardboard box, and mail it to Bangladesh. My husband would be happy since the boxes wouldn't be piling up in the garage. I'd be happy because my refrigerator would be clean. And Bangladesh, well, can I pretend that my leftovers will bless them? Maybe if I tuck in a Bon Appetite, that will make up for the rainbow sheen on the ham and the slightly furry quality of the bread.
The best way to avoid leftovers is to plan ahead. If you're making a big recipe, invite company over, or freeze half of the recipe. And if you know a recipe calls for part of an ingredient (half a green pepper, 1/3 of a jar of sauce, etc), menu plan so that the next night you use up the rest of it.
When I posted about making bean dip, I promised you a way to use up those extra beans. Bean salad is a good choice. Tossing them into chili or a soup? Another winning idea.
But, me being me, I like dessert. Bean brownies. The beans replace the flour, so these are a nice option for the gluten-intolerant among us. The brownies are super moist and delicious. No one that I've served them to has been able to guess what the secret ingredient is. Plus, they're so easy, that they take next to no effort to make. All that, plus the warm happy glow of not having leftovers turning slimy in the refrigerator. Bonus!
Black Bean Brownies
1-1/2 cups cooked black beans
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 c. cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup date puree (directions to make your own in this recipe)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate (divided)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (soaked and dried)
1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Grease an 8 x8 -inch pan.
2- Into the bowl of a food processor, put beans, eggs, coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, date puree, sugar, instant coffee, and 1/2 cup of the chocolate chunks. Process until smooth.
3-Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate and nuts over the top. With a rubber spatula, gently press on the chunks till they are all submerged under the batter.
4- Bake for 35 to 40 min. The edges should be baked and the center set. Let cool completely. But if you like oozy, messy chocolate, especially served with vanilla ice cream, cool slightly and then cut (or scoop) it.