Two Chubby Vegans

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Spring canning has started!

* Cheating alert* Junior found a can of Spam in his room tonight (don’t ask because I have NO idea and I’m afraid I don’t want to know) and given my embarrassing weakness for preformed, overly salty and canned pork products used to make things like Spam Musubi, I see a possible moral dilemma in my near musubi future. And you simply cannot make decent Spam from tofu no matter how hard you try.

On the more positive side, I’m feeling particularly thrifty this week as we prepare to move into our new home with several “new” goodies. On the “reuse and rehome” front this week we scored a Waring Pro Blender for $8.00, a gorgeous stoneware shortbread mold for $2.99 and a Breadman Ultimate bread machine for $0.00 on Freecycle (the best thing about this last one is that you can throw the ingredients in the machine, set it, set the timer, go to bed and wake up to a loaf of warm bread as it mixes it, kneads it and bakes it all in one… now if only they would invent one that removes the calories after slicing and buttering it).

Forgetting my knotweed fiasco last week I started my spring canning today. With our change to veganism we are eating a lot more beans and while dried beans are certainly less expensive than canned, canned are a lot more convenient. My solution, can your own. I’ve tried freezing them after cooking but I find it makes the beans more mushy and storing either big containers or zip lock bags of beans in the freezer, even a chest freezer is a pain. And trying to quickly defrost a large bag of frozen beans that froze in big ziplock wrinkles is a real treat… NOT. Not to mention I like having foods that won’t go bad and can be eaten out of hand in the event of a power failure. I know, I know, more zombie apocalypse preparation you’re thinking, but no, just being prepared in general. As it is I’ve been avoiding canning my own beans because it seemed like a big hassle to cook the beans first and then can them but as it turns out I don’t have to do that. I’m following a simple procedure I found online. Right now I’m prepping 7 quarts of black beans, 6 quarts of garbanzo beans and 1 quart of field peas. We got the field peas from our local farmer’s market last year and they taste remarkably like split peas when cooked in soup (a fact that doesn’t impress the other vegan AT ALL I might add… she hates split peas) so I am curious to see what happens when they’re canned. Oh, and I strongly recommend that even if you buy your bulk beans from a grocery store you double-check them before canning, and here’s why (see picture below)…

[I thought I had 7 jars of black beans and 6 jars of garbanzo beans. 1 jar of black beans shattered when I set it into the pressure canner and one jar of garbanzo beans has come up missing. (?!?!?!?!).]

As I finish this the black beans are just coming up to pressure and must go for 90 minutes so I will post the photos tomorrow or the day after as I have to take a few loads over to the new house in the morning as well as doing a bit more garden prep.

Rocks and seeds

Canned Beans

1. Place 1 cup of beans in each clean quart jar and cover with hot water.

2. Soak overnight.

3. Rinse several times in cool water and replace the beans in the jars.

4. Fill each jar with hot water to within 1/2 inch of the top and add  1/2 teaspoon of salt.

5. Pressure can at 10lbs for 90 minutes.

6. For pint jars use 1/2 cup beans, 1/2 tsp salt and can for 75 mins at 10lbs.

The other night I made a Tofu and Apricot Tagine and it turned out WONDERFULLY. My only observation is that I would have preferred it without the tofu and used more vegetables and fruit. The other vegans in the house disagree, but as I pointed out, I’M the cook! Neener neener neener. So there! And again, I changed the recipe to the point where it really bears little resemblance to the original so I’m including it here:

Fresh Apricot and Tofu Tagine

16 oz super firm tofu, marinated in vegetarian chicken broth and poultry seasoning and cut into cubes

Fresh Apricot and Tofu Tagine

1/2 large white onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp red chile flakes

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 1/2 cups vegetarian chicken broth

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped (I used chili spiced dried pineapple)

6 apricots, pitted and chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 to 4 tbsp cornstarch mixed with cool water

1. Place marinated and drained tofu on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and brown under the broiler, turning as needed. Set aside.

2. Coat large pot or dutch oven with cooking spray and add carrots and onion. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until lightly brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Add ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and chile flakes. Cook one minute, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add stock paste, water and dried fruit and bring to steady simmer.

3. Add tofu back into pot. reduce heat and gently simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened to desired consistency. Add fresh apricots and simmer until soft, but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Serve over couscous, brown rice, quinoa or any soft whole grain. Each serving can be topped with pine nuts and mint (we used chopped scallions). Stew can be prepared up to 2 days in advance; cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently. Serves 6.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 268 g

Amount Per Serving

Calories 137

Calories from Fat 42

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 4.6g, 7%

Trans Fat 0.0g

Cholesterol 0mg, 0%

Sodium 687mg, 29%

Total Carbohydrates 16.9g, 6%

Dietary Fiber 2.9g, 12%

Sugars 5.9g

Protein 8.9g

Vitamin A 80%

Vitamin C 14%

Calcium 17%

Iron 10%

Nutrition Grade B+

* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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May 24, 2011 Posted by | Beans, Canning, New recipes, Re-homed Goodies, Tofu | Leave a comment