Posted by Megan | Budget, Budget & Quick, Dinner, Vegetarian

You know how you hit those points in the year (or semester, specifically) where you just don’t want to do anything anymore? Now that my recital is over, I’ve kind of hit this wall with school where I’m going through the motions, but I don’t really care anymore. I’m taking one fairly easy class and working a lot, but as far as being motivated to practice clarinet as much, I’m not doing so great. The only bad part about this is that I’m taking an audition for a job in a couple weeks, so I really need to continue concentrating. It’s hard! I would love to have some sort of little break, but I don’t really forsee that happening until graduation, which even still, I will teaching my full schedule through the end of May. So really I won’t get a break until we move back to VA? Lovely.

Anyways, my lack of motivation to suck it up and push through to the end of the semester (and my degree program!) and try to stay motivated to keep playing a lot, has oozed over into my blogging too. While I love my blog, I’m seeing my number of readers per post dip, which is not keeping me motivated to keep up with my posting. It’s certainly not that we aren’t cooking a lot of amazing dishes! It’s just a lot of work that takes more time than you might realize to keep up with, on top of the many other extremely time-consuming things I do (since I don’t exactly have a 9-5 work schedule with no other demands/hobbies). There are only so many hours in the day and I’ve kind of reached max capacity.

Enough complaining! On to this dish! This dish was super easy and had it not been made during my post-recital week, I’m sure I would have been the one to cook it. Cheap because it’s main ingredients are beans and swiss chard, yet a filling enough dish to make in a pinch. The way the beans were cooked was really neat–the blistering effect really brought out flavors that you didn’t know beans could have, because it was like they were charred, but without that choking-smoky taste (if that makes sense). I really loved the way the beans were cooked and would be willing to try them with something like kidney beans. This dish could easily be versatile, swapping out chard for kale or spinach, kidney or black beans for cannellini beans, and you could really go to town with some spices!

Cooking Notes: The original recipe calls for lemon zest and juice from half a lemon. However, we just used some bottled lemon juice, probably about 1 tsp. The original recipe also called for a specific za’atar blend, but we only had the sumac, so that’s all we used! It helped to make up for the lack of lemon zest.

Crispy Pan-Fried Beans and Greens (adapted from The Kitchn; serves 2)
8 oz. swiss chard
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sumac
1-2 tsp salt
Olive oil

Trim the center stem from the swiss chard and slice the leaves cross-wise into ribbons. Chop the stems into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions with 1/2 tsp of salt until they are very soft and uniformly golden-brown, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the chopped chard stems, 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl.

Warm another 1-2 tsp of oil, enough to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the beans and spread them into a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Stir and spread them out again. Repeat until all the beans are blistered all over. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning the beans.

Stir the chard leaves, the sumac, and another 1/2 tsp of salt into the beans. Stir until the chard is completely wilted and tastes tender, 3-5 minutes. Add the onion mixture back in, along with the lemon juice. Stir and taste. Add more lemon juice, salt or other seasonings to taste. Serve immediately, drizzling a little olive oil over each dish.

Recipe: The Kitchn: Crispy Pan-Fried Beans and Greens

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