Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kat: Excess Baggage

Sometimes I get really caught up in preparing elaborate meals made of several different dishes. It's a good way to get a balanced dinner, and a great way to practice your multitasking skills, but it can be very taxing night after night. Every now and again, I like to go back to the basics; use under 5 ingredients to turn out a delicious and filling meal.

I got these recipes from my boyfriend's mother. Lindi is from Kosovo and grew up on a diet that I have only dreamed about. His family had a summer vegetable garden and daily bought fresh milk and meat from their neighbors. His mom made all of the family's butter and yogurt, woke up early every morning to bake fresh bread, and cooked something warm for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner; all while raising three children and working a full time job. (And my friends complain that they don't have time to cook!) With a job description like that, you've got to have a few "trick" meals up your sleeves; dishes that seem like you slaved forever to prepare, while in reality, they're a simple as pie...and go a very long way.

These two recipes are exactly that.

15 cups of water
1 16 oz. bag of butter beans
2 medium onions, minced
2 green peppers, minced
4 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp corn starch
hot pepper flakes to taste (I used about 2 tbsp and added more at the table!)
2 tbsp Vegeta (Eastern European spice) can substitute with poultry seasoning
parsley for garnish

1. Place beans in your largest soup dish and cover with water (only a few cups)
2. Boil beans for 15 minutes
3. Drain and rinse beans, put back in pot and bring to another boil (this time use 15 cups)
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours
5. At this point, the water level will have greatly diminished. Add more water to the pot until you have about 15 cups in the pot again.
6. Saute onions (in a separate pan) until they turn translucent
7. Add onions and rest of the ingredients in with the beans.
8. Simmer for 30 more minutes
9. Chop parsley and add to individuals bowls.

Serve with warm homemade bread:

2 eggs
2 cups plain yogurt (a thick Greek is best)
1 tsp salt
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Mix eggs, yogurt, and salt in a small saucepan.
3. Heat over low flame until mixture reaches room temperature.
4. Pour into medium mixing bowl and gently fold in baking soda and powder.
5. Fold in a cup of flour at a time, being careful not to over mix (this is not a kneaded bread!!)

6. Add more cups of flour until the dough does not stick to your hands then pour dough into a nonstick baking dish.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.


  1. This post is freaking awesome.
    That bread seems to simple to make! Hallelujah! And i actually might have all of the ingredients in my apartment already.

    Will you make this again? Thoughts??
    Thanks for the recipe! :)

  2. I make this ALL THE TIME. Whenever we run out of bread (which seems to happen more times than not!) I'll throw this together when I get home from work. It is super quick, and I usually have everything in my fridge already. HIGHLY recommended!

  3. I grew up in Ukraine with the EXACT same fresh ingredients and food culture. Excellent recipes!