Never Been to Peru Potato and Bean Stew

In the bookstore the other day I could hardly contain my excitement.  I found a used copy of Mollie Katzen’s 2013 cookbook The Heart of the Plate for six dollars!  Middle and Early Boomers might remember  her Moosewood cookbook.  I still have a copy of that cookbook in my collection.  There are a few recipes from The Heart of the Plate I want to try.  The first one was Peruvian Potato-Bean Stew.  But immediately I saw a problem.

There are over 4,000 edible varieties of potato, mostly found in the Andes of South America.!

“If you can’t get blue potatoes…”

I’m not in Peru.  4000 to pick from and the recipe calls for the blue one.  Since I wasn’t going to find blue potatoes I figured I might as well just mess with the rest of the recipe too.  So here’s my version inspired by Mollie.

Adapted from The Heart of Plate by Mollie Katzen

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground red chili
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 cups cooked Mayocabo beans with cooking liquid
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add oil, onions, chili powder, ground chili, oregano and cumin .  Gently saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bell pepper,  garlic, and salt.  Saute for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes.. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid, canned tomatoes, cover again, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the beans, reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are warmed through.
  6. Season individual servings with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Yum

Random Thoughts

If you like chili you’ll like this recipe.  It’s basically a potato and bean chili, no meat.  If you cannot find Mayocabo beans use pintos.  It won’t taste the same but will still be excellent, kind of like using yellow potatoes instead of the blue ones.  Pinto beans will hold their shape better whereas the Mayocabo is creamier and tends to fall apart with prolonged cooking.

For the beans I used a pound dried, rinsed multiple times and soaked overnight.  The next day I tossed the beans into a pot, added water to one inch above the beans with about a teaspoon each of cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic powder and a bay leaf.






Sweet Potato and White Bean Hummus

  • 1 large sweet potato, baked
  • 3 small whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 can Great Northern White Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini, organic, unsalted
  • 1 and 1/2 large lemons, juiced
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste

The Office Christmas party is at the house this year.  I was asked to make some hummus for the event.  Since I was going to dirty up the juicer and the food processor I decided to try something different.  I made more hummus.  There was a leftover baked sweet potato in the fridge.  A quick Google search turned up this recipe which I’ll credit as my inspiration.

  1. Bake the sweet potato for around 75 minutes or until soft to the touch.  I actually had my potato in the oven for 2 hours at 425F because I forgot about it.  Allow to cool and set aside.
  2. Process the garlic first.
  3. Toss everything else in the pool and process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Did you take the skin off the potato?
  5. Find some pita bread or crackers STAT.

The first thing is to avoid any arguments about whether or not you can call this dip hummus.  It has no chickpeas so technically it’s not hummus.   Google “is hummus without chickpeas really hummus” and take a side.  The second thing you have to get used to is the color.

Pink.  The dip comes out pink.

Serving Suggestions

Put this hummus out at a party and tell everyone it’s a salmon dip.

Have your smartphone cameras ready for your guests’ reactions.



Scraps Frittata

Sometimes you have odds and ends in the fridge.  Half an onion, two halves of red and green peppers, maybe even some leftover fresh spinach sauteed with garlic in the freezer.  No one else is home.  So it doesn’t really matter if this thing turns out OK or not.

I hate wasting food.  There’s just too many people on the planet who would gladly take your odds and ends, the scraps that might get thrown away.  So tonight I made a frittata with what I had on hand.  And if it turns out OK, then this recipe stays on the blog.

If not, well you’ll never know it was here.

  • 2 Tbl EVOO
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 green pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, organic, small dice
  • 1 cup sauteed fresh spinach with garlic, drained
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried basil, healthy pinch
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in an 8 inch non-stick pan.
  2. Saute the onions and peppers for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and continue cooking until nearly cooked through, about 10  minutes.  Add more olive oil if needed to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the basil, salt, and pepper.  Add oil if needed.
  5. Spread the spinach evenly over the potato/pepper mixture.
  6. Sprinkle Parmesan over the spinach. Be as generous as you like.
  7. Beat the eggs and half and half.  Pour over the vegetable mixture.
  8. Preheat your broiler.
  9. Allow the frittata to sit over a very low flame until set.
  10. Place the pan under the broiler to brown the top.
  11. Remove from the broiler and place the frittata on a serving plate.
  12. Serve warm or cold.  Makes about 4 servings.
  13. Yum.


The recipe stays.

The Unoriginal Cabbage Soup

Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline. I feel myself sometimes not wholly in sympathy with some modern educational theorists, because I think that they underestimate the part that discipline plays. But the discipline you have in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.

Bertrand Russell

We all know better, but we don’t choose better. I was a cokehead, a heroin addict. At night you get coked up knowing you’re going to feel terrible in the morning. You have to make the habit of doing what’s difficult now to make you better. It’s easy to do the right thing when you’re used to it.

Russell Simmons

I named this soup Unoriginal because there’s really nothing original about cabbage soup.  It could just as easily be called What’s in the Fridge Soup because I had a small head of cabbage that needed to be eaten.  There were two halves of two different peppers and half an onion.  What do you do with these odds and ends?


Something happened to me this summer.  I was a lapsed vegetarian for over 30 years and in the beginning of August I got serious about my diet (again).  Kyrie credits his diet for the recent Celtics winning streak.  Clearly something is happening to a lot of people.  It’s not just me.

Choose better.  Losing 200 pounds was not easy.  Regaining 40 pounds was easy.  Making the right food choices?  Trust me, it’s easier than you think.

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 large onion, thin sliced
2 carrots, peeled cut into coins
1 stalk celery sliced thin diagonally
1/2 each red and green bell pepper, slice
1 cup frozen corn
7 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 small head green cabbage sliced
1 quart organic vegetable broth
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a medium size pot heat the olive oil.
  2. Everybody (except tomatoes, corn and broth) in the pool in the following order: onion, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, cabbage.
  3. Saute until the cabbage wilts, add herbs, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add vegetable broth and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.  Add corn and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.
  6. Yum.


Baked Oatmeal ala Frenchy

Baked oatmeal? Never heard of it. I’ve been cooking for over 40 years and never heard of baked oatmeal.  I was introduced to baked oatmeal on 11/12.  It took a few days but I finally posted Doris’ Baked Oatmeal recipe on the 15th.  On the 16th I get an email from another one of those friends where time is meaningless.  I start to read her email and I can’t believe what I’m reading.

When I opened e-mail and saw your Gary’s kitchen post about baked oatmeal from the 15th, my head dropped down to look at the breakfast I was eating. No Lie. I love the randomness of the universe sometimes.

Warm Baked Oatmeal

1 3/4 cups water
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats-I use thick cut
3 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each nutmeg, NACL
2 egg whites or 4oz egg substitute
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup- your favorite dried fruit-optional  (Unsweetened cranberries or cherries are particularly nice here)

  1. Boil water and add oatmeal reduce to simmer 5 minutes. add the dry ingredients mix well.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together, add to the oatmeal. Add the dried fruit.
  3. Pour into 8 inch baking pan sprayed with non stick stuff. Bake about 25-30 minutes at 350.
  4. Great topped with yogurt and toasted almonds or pecans.

About 105 calories without the topping, Bonus fiber from the oatmeal and nuts, protein from the eggs.

So in less than a week I get two baked oatmeal recipes.  Must be Karma.  I haven’t made this baked oatmeal recipe yet but if Frenchy makes  it, it has to be good.




Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Plain yogurt is awful.  Plain Greek yogurt is worse.  Thick, sour, and nasty.

The plain Greek yogurt in the fridge was at its expiration date.  We cannot keep any dairy products in the house past their expiration dates because they will go bad at precisely 12:01 AM the day after the expiration date.  What do you do with a half container of thick, sour, nasty plain Greek yogurt that will turn at one minute past midnight?

Pancakes of course.


No hints or tips.  This recipe is reasonably fool proof.  For those with sharp memories this recipe is a variation on my Yogurt Pancake recipe.  All of the normal pancake rules apply here.

We await daughter-in-law approval.

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

1/2 cup all-purpose white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup low-fat milk

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking
soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a small mixing bowl combine egg, yogurt, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir batter just till blended.

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a lightly greased preheated griddle or heavy skillet. Cook several pancakes at a time over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or till the tops are evenly bubbled and the edges are dry, then turn and cook until golden brown on the second side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Garlic Toast with Balsamic Tomatoes and White Beans

It’s been really interesting getting used to the new ingredient selection and price differences at the grocery stores since moving from New Orleans to Nashville. One major difference is that canned goods at Kroger are almost half the price of the canned goods at the local grocery store that I used to frequent.

Source: Garlic Toast with Balsamic Tomatoes and White Beans

I personally have not tried this recipe but the pictures look awesome and I wanted to “bookmark” the source.  I’ve been following Budget Bytes for some time and Beth does a great job.

Besides the beans, tomatoes and pictures what caught my eye was the comment on the food cost differential by geography.  Why should canned beans be twice the price in one city versus another?  Dynamic pricing and profits.  Simple answer.

Beans are cheap.  And beans are cheaper in Oklahoma too.