LSis says I can't let the Woodside occupy this particular corner of the Internet with that as my last post. So I'm back! And I made a ridiculously unseasonable dish for September in Alabama!
My Labor Day weekend was wonderful—full of sleep and boat rides and long chats. It was also full of French fries and ranch dressing and Oreo cookies and cocktails.
I'm of the mind that your 20s is a decade devoted to basically doing what you want so far as your bank account (or credit cards) will allow, holding tight to the dreams of your elastic pants and muddling through floors covered in waist-high laundry, collapsing into bed at odd hours, and subsisting on wine and cheese snacks and infinite, countless numbers of Mexican meals.
What, just me?
Your 30s, however, bear with them slightly more anxiety: Can I pay the mortgage? Does my boss like me? Has the dog eaten in the past three days? Why do all my clothes appear to be shrinking? Did I (good lord) remember to take my blood pressure medicine?
In other words, I'm old.
To combat that, I find that I'm on a roughly once-every-three-weeks or so schedule of bargaining with myself. For some indeterminate amount of time, I promise, I will not buy any more unnecessary pairs of shoes. I will make an effort to be more patient at work and I will take the dog for walks.
It's almost always an effort to course-correct, the way becoming a grown-up forces you to turn into your own parent, wagging your finger and saying, "Now, K. Eating an entire box of Cheez-Its on the couch at 12:30 a.m. while watching reruns of Who's the Boss? on a school night might be FUN, but that doesn't mean you're doing it again."
Eventually my body just gets tired of the way I treat it, tired of so much takeout and restaurant food—there's the suspension of disbelief that's required so that you don't too deeply consider what you're actually eating that gets a little exhausting. And I do reach a saturation point for processed snacks, much to my complete surprise.
Given that I do so much love to cook, I sometimes wonder why I am so easily drawn out of the kitchen and into the cheese dip. (Answer: delicious.) When I whip something up, even something very simple like this, I am a happier person. And I hope, accidentally, a healthier one, too.
So in the recesses of my mind I have made a little post-Labor Day promise to myself that I will carve out time and space in my kitchen again, that I will eat a little more mindfully and be a little less whiny and lazy.
You know, sometime before my 40s.
In a classic red beans and rice, the trinity would most likely start as a traditional Cajun combination of finely chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper. On the Woodside, it's onion, garlic, and jalapeño, because that is how we roll.
Spicy Andouille, Beans, and Spinach with Brown Rice
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15-ounce) cans great Northern beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-ounce) package spicy andouille sausage, sliced
1 white onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups 100% fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach
Garnish: chopped green onion
1. In a medium saucepan, cook rice according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, puree ¼ cup each kidney beans and great Northern beans in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a large, heavy skillet, cook sausage slices on both sides over medium-high heat until edges are golden and beginning to curl. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Add onion, salt, and pepper, and cook 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and jalapeño, and cook 1 minute. Stir in cumin, chili powder, and drained beans, and cook 1 more minute.
4. Add beef broth and reserved bean puree to pan, stiring to combine and deglaze pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
5. Stir in spinach, and return heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Serve sausage mixture over rice, and garnish, if desired. Makes 6 servings.