Lady Bracknell is well aware that the majority of people, when in an emotional state which positively requires them to comfort eat, will plump for items such as cake, biscuits or ice cream. When one has diabetes, however, these avenues are denied. Over time, therefore, one must settle on alternative comfort foods for one's darkest hours. In Lady Bracknell's case, this means garlic and chillies.
Over the last few days - and partly just in an attempt to keep her mind occupied - Lady Bracknell has made a number of recipes from the remarkably-named Crescent Dragonwagon's book, Passionate Vegetarian.
Two were so good that she has instructed the editor to reproduce them below so that her readers may, if they wish, try them for themselves. (It should, perhaps, be noted at the outset that this is an American cookery book: but Lady Bracknell trusts that none of her British readers is so parochial in outlook as not to be able to cope with this.)
Ned’s Fiery Oven French-Bakes
3 – 4 medium-large boiling potatoes, peel left on, sliced into ¼ inch wide French fries
4 to 5 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsps olive oil
2 tbsps soy sauce, or to taste
1 to 3 tsps Tabasco sauce, or to taste
2 tbsps vinegar
6 – 8 grinds black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the rack on the highest position in the oven.
2. Grease a baking tray.
3. Place the potatoes in a bowl. Add the garlic and oil, tossing until the potatoes are well coated. Sprinkle with the soy, Tabasco and vinegar, and toss again to evenly distribute the seasonings.
4. Transfer the potatoes to the baking tray, spreading them out so that they are in a single layer. Grind on the pepper.
5. Bake, removing from the oven to shake and turn the potatoes about every 10 minutes, for 25 – 30 minutes. Test for doneness, and continue to bake them until they’re browned, cooked through, and starting to crisp up on the skinny ends. Serve hot.
1 pound of dried beans of your choice, soaked overnight
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 – 2 tsps of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (available by mail-order from Cool Chile Co)
1 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup very strong black coffee
3 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tsps dried oregano
2 tsps salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mustard powder
Additional boiling water, coffee, or vegetable stock as needed
2 to 3 tbsps of vegetarian bacon bits (optional)
Accompaniments (optional): cornbread or tortillas, salsa, sour cream, diced raw onion, and grated Cheddar cheese.
1. Drain and rinse the beans and cook in water to cover (with the bay leaves) in a large pan until tender. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
3. Grease a large casserole dish; scatter the onion and green pepper over the bottom; then add the drained beans.
4. Whisk everything on the ingredients list from the chipotles to the mustard into the bean cooking liquid, and pour over the beans. The liquid should just cover the beans. If it doesn’t, top it up with boiling water, coffee or vegetable stock. Cover and bake for 6 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the liquid level is maintained.
5. After the beans have baked for 6 hours, uncover. Stir to distribute the onion and green pepper. Bake for a further 50 minutes, uncovered.