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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Red Rice with Black Beans and Sausage

 This is not a political blog, I try to stay away from the "issues". It's all muffins and scones here! I try and keep things light, well everything but the cooking!
Lately, there are two "issues" that have really been bugging me. One is an article I recently read that condemned the many celebrity chefs touting 30 minute meals these days, saying they are only one step away from fast food. The issue was people who say they don't have time to cook. The article was trying to prove in this day of Facebooking (and blogging) that is not that we don't have time to cook, but we choose not to. Now, I don't disagree with that at all. I love to cook, but honestly not every night. There are evenings that cooking ranks right up there with laundry and vacuuming. I know that there are people who feel this way pretty much every night. I know plenty of people who love to eat, but still hate to cook.
The second issue is with a local non-profit educational farm that I love in every way with the exception of their latest campaign to get people to stop ordering fruit/vegetable boxes from Full Circle Farm in Carnation, Washington. Full Circle Farm provides weekly shipments of fresh organic produce year round to Alaska communities. They ship to some of the remote villages of Alaska. I order from them most of the year, but discontinue my box during the months our local Farmer's Market is open. The main reason I order is to get some unique items that I can't find in our local grocery stores. They also carry Mt. Townsend Creamery cheese which is one of the many things I miss about living in Port Townsend, Washington. The local argument against Full Circle is the fact that many people are ordering from them year round and not supporting their local farms.
Really, I think in both of these situations we need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture (no pun intended here). Obesity is a huge problem here in Fairbanks along with the rest of the country. I am a huge supporter of eating local food and slow cooked food. One of my favorite meals is a big pile of veggies mixed with tofu and slow roasted in the oven while David and I chat about our day over a beer. The one thing I realize is this is not realistic for everyone, nor is coming up with the lump sum funds for a subscription to a local CSA. Honestly, is anything that is getting boxes of fresh organic produce into Alaskan homes or introducing people to cooking for themselves (and not eating fast food) really that bad? Personally, I think there is a bit of food snobbery going on here. In a perfect world we would all have our own gardens and feed ourselves year round from our own backyard, should we then condemn people for shopping at the Farmer's Market? Shame on you for not growing your own lettuce!
So, here's a tasty recipe for a 30 minute meal. Use local veggies if they are available, but if they are not...I won't tell!

Red Rice with Black Beans and Sausage
adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces smoked sausage (we used andouille)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 ounce) black beans, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups cooked long grain white or brown rice

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add sausage, stirring occasionally and cook until browned. Add onion, garlic, red pepper, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add black beans and tomato sauce, reduce heat to medium and let simmer 3-5 minutes until thickened. Add rice, stir well and cook until heated through. Great served immediately with corn bread!

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