Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cannellini Beans, Deliciously

Though I have been working from home on weekends since I first started this show, I actually had to come into work this past Saturday. Horror.

And not only did I have to work, I had to work pretty late. I left past 9:00 and, it being Saturday, zoomed to my parents' house. By the time I made it there, it was around 10:00 and I was tired and cranky, as I tend to be after my regularly peaceful and bucolic weekends are made frantic and (in my opinion) unnecessarily panicky.

I got home (my parents' house) and set about foraging for food, as most kids do when they go to their parents' place. I didn't particularly want anything, but I was hungry. I really don't like it when that happens, because I'd rather have a craving and satisfy it. Hunting for food without knowing what I want tends to frustrate me.

Through my increasing irritation, I realized a couple things: I wanted something hot and I wanted something that I could eat with just one utensil out of one plate. This completely nixes Korean food, as all the side dishes require several dishes and usually two utensils. I wanted to curl up on the couch with a warm bowl and not move for at least an hour.

I was saved from throwing a complete fit when I spied a can of cannellini beans. I love beans, always have. And I knew that there was a hunk of aged Cheddar in the fridge. And I saw a leftover bit of tofu bobbing in water inside a container in the fridge, waiting for me. And I also knew that my mother always has onions. Thank goodness for simple meals that take no time at all and require barely any work, or my Saturday evening would not have ended well for the people around me.

If you've never tried it, mashed beans are very like mashed potatoes, but have a totally different texture. They're heartier than potatoes, which feel very starchy, I think. Mashed beans will keep me full for a long time ... and I ate an entire can by myself on Saturday. At least they're healthy, or I'd really be in trouble.

Cannellini Bean Mash

1 can of cannellini beans (15.5 ounces)
1/4 onion, diced
1/5 block of tofu (I used medium)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
olive oil and/or butter

Rinse the cannellini beans in a colander. They're packed in gooey, briny, very strong stuff that needs to be washed away. I used medium tofu because that's what my mom's fridge had, but I like all types of tofu.

Heat a pot over medium-low and add in the oil / butter. Toss in the garlic and onions and saute. Salt them early if you don't want to brown them. Cook as long as you like. I usually want my onion to be falling apart, but I was too hungry to wait and only sauteed them for about three or four minutes. Add the beans and cook until warm.

My mom has an immersion blender, which I used to mash the ingredients up. If you're going to use a fork or a potato masher, the onions need to be cooked until they're mushy- otherwise, you'll end up with big chunks of onion. This can also be processed in a food processor or a blender.

I added the tofu in chunks, off the heat. I like little streaks of slightly cool tofu through the hot beans. And I really like the texture of tofu, which I don't want to obliterate by blending. So this is how I do it.

Finally, add some cheese on top. I took the picture and then stirred the cheese into the mash so that there would be gooey, sharp, melty bits of yumminess in each bite. Mmm. Cheese. Melted. Is there anything so good??

Now back to work I go. My brief respite is over and I have pressing things to attend to!