canary beans and moong dal
I’ve been feverishly cooking my way through all the veg from the CSA this week. I was a veritable tasmanian devil of vegetable preparation. I paused for a moment, to peer in my vegetable drawer, and…it’s almost gone! Just a head of lettuce left! So I decided to take a day off from primarily-vegetable-meals and cook some beans. I generally use canned beans, to my eternal shame. They’re just so easy, and cheap, and good quality canned beans taste fine to me! But I bought some beautiful pale yellow dried canary beans, and I wanted to cook them up. I’m a big fan of any dish that combines lentils with larger beans. Like urad dal & kidney beans in dal makhani, for instance, so I decided to make a variation on that. I used canary beans and whole moong dal. Both so pretty uncooked, and so drab when cooked!
You could use any slow-cooking lentil (whole moong dal and whole urad dal are the two I know of) and any larger, firmer bean that you like (kidney and navy being two contestants). If you used a quicker-cooking lentil, it would just get softer and mushier, but that’s not a bad thing, because it becomes part of the sauce the beans sit it. I decided to flavor the beans with cardamom and smoked paprika. It all started the night before, when I simmered some bok choy with these particular spices and then topped it with peanuts. Baby, it was so nice, I wanted to do it twice! Ahem, my train of thought seems to be derailed at the moment, so I’ll just get on with the recipes, shall I?
Bok choy & peanuts
Here’s Howlin Wolf, Goin Down Slow.
Collards and spicy peanuts
Sometimes the recipe picks the song, and sometimes the song picks the recipe. Most of the time, I’ll think of what I’d like to cook (and eat!) and the music will come into my head while I’m making it. Yesterday, as I was wheeling around town, I started thinking about the perfection of the song Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie. Honestly – have you heard it? It’s killer! The only words in the song are…”Salt peanuts, salt peanuts.” Right now I can’t think of anything better than that!
Then I got to thinking about how I don’t cook with peanuts very often. I cook with all sorts of other nuts. Tree nuts, but not peanuts. We eat peanuts in their shells. Half the household eats peanut butter in their sandwiches every single day. But I don’t cook with peanuts very often.
spicy salty sweet peanuts
To make it about Salt Peanuts, the peanuts would have to be salty. I also wanted them to be a little bit sweet, and a little bit spicy. And then I wanted to eat them with collard greens, because I love greeeeeeeeeeeeeeens!! But I kept the collards simple, because the peanuts were very flavorful. The way I made the peanuts, they got a bit burny-tasting. Blackened, if you will. I really like that flavor. If you don’t, keep a close eye on your peanuts and don’t let the pan get too hot.
Here’s a performance of Salt Peanuts from 1947.