Beans Are The New Black Friday

Black Friday isn’t what it used to be.

I say that not with sadness or nostalgia, but a deep sense of relief. Holiday sales will forever persist, pushing everything from lawnmowers to lingerie, but the singular focus on one big shopping day has dispersed to encompass the entire interval from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Door busters are digital and shipping is free; why bother waking up early to fight the crowds? This tradition of dubious appeal from the onset is now fully obsolete. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to redefine Black Friday.

Black beans are the antidote to Black Friday’s typical excess. Decidedly unglamorous, unassuming, and unpretentious, black beans won’t force you out of bed early or judge you for the previously night’s debauchery. Taking it a step further, braised black beans, gently stewed in velvety coconut milk and invigorating aromatics, speak of a wholly different sort of richness.

Rifling through the pantry and freezer, this combination of Southeast Asian staples spoke to me above the cacophony of typically autumnal herbs and spices. The fragrant, floral notes of makrut lime leaves and lemongrass share the spotlight, bolstered by the sharp undertone of ginger and jalapeno. Balanced by the natural sweetness of the coconut milk, it’s already so buttery that no additional oils need apply.

Take It Easy

For anyone else still weary from cooking marathons or hosting duties, I’ve got you. Just one step more complicated than a genuine dump dinner, you don’t even need to drain the cans of beans or dirty another dish. Go ahead, take other shortcuts like using pre-minced garlic or ginger paste; no one will be able to argue with the end results.

Serving Suggestions

Personally, I’m perfectly happy spooning these beans right into my mouth, straight out of the pot, while hovering over the stove. If you have more patience though, your time and effort will be rewarded when you round out this entree with proper sides. Ideally, add at least some come kind of starch to soak in all that savory potlikker.

  • Rice, be it basmati, jasmine, or any fluffy steamed long grain rice
  • Bread, thinly sliced and toasted
  • Stewed collard greens, meltingly tender
  • Arugula salad, for a subtly bitter contrast
  • Avocado, for a buttery bite of extra decadence

Alternately, switch up the prep to transform it into an entirely different dish.

  • Roughly mash to make them approximately the texture of refried beans, then use in tacos, burritos, tamales, enchiladas, etc
  • Add vegetable broth and serve as a soup, optionally pureeing some or all
  • Simmer rice right in the same saucepan to make one-pot beans and rice

Make It Your Own

There are no hard and fast rules here. Born out of convenience, this formula is ripe for adaptation. Almost everything is changeable, like…

  • Using chickpeas, white beans, or adzuki instead of black beans
  • Adding more or less garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, to taste
  • Switching up the seasonings with curry powder, chili powder, or lemon-pepper

Don’t Over-Think It

Black Friday can be a complicated mixture of emotions and memories, wants and needs, no matter what the reality of it is today. Black beans, however, should always be simple.

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Soup To Nuts: All About Powdered Peanut Butter

Running the entire gamut of sweet to savory, decadent to healthy, peanut butter powder is an essential ingredient that belongs in every nut-loving kitchen. Once a rare curiosity, it now sits prominently in mainstream markets, positioned as a baking staple, protein powder, or both all at once.

Given the sudden abundance of accessible options, I can’t help but wonder: Why is everything so sweet? A casual search will pull up a fair number of results, but the hits quickly become redundant. Another powdered peanut butter cookie, another peanut butter powder truffle, another powdered peanut butter energy bar, another peanut butter powder protein shake; where’s the creativity? Where’s the spice and salt?

Naked Nutrition: Peanut Butter Powder With Nothing To Hide

Coming in to help fuel all new culinary inspiration, Naked Nutrition has just launched a new line of flavors for their best-selling Powdered Peanut Butter, including Organic, Chocolate, and Sugar & Salt. My focus immediately landed squarely on the Organic option for its brilliantly simple one-ingredient label. All you get are fresh, dry, finely powdered, roasted peanuts. Less is more here, giving you more protein and fiber per tablespoon than the conventional nutty spread.

The Basics: What Is Peanut Butter Powder?

Let’s take a step back here to better understand what we’re working with. Peanut butter powder is made by removing most of the oils from roasted peanuts and then grinding them into a fine powder. The result is a versatile and concentrated form of peanut butter that packs a punch of flavor without the typical high fat content. All that’s left is pure, nutty goodness that can be reconstituted with water or other liquids to create a spreadable, creamy texture. The best part? It’s a great alternative for those looking to reduce fat and calories in their diet while still savoring the unmistakable taste of peanut butter.

Peanut butter protein powder is a term that can be used interchangeably. The same thing goes for peanut butter flour, but only if there are no other added sweeteners, stabilizers, or flavors.

Peanut Butter Powder In The Kitchen

While most existing recipes for peanut butter powder focus on the sweeter aspects, I prefer to bring out the savory notes, especially with Naked Nutrition’s Organic Powdered Peanut Butter that has zero added sugar. In fact, there’s zero added anything; it’s just peanuts, period. When you want a versatile ingredient that can quell any cravings, kick-start a healthy meal, or help you explore new cuisines, this one will never disappoint.

Peanut Soups and Stews

Soup is always in season, which is why it’s always at the top of my list when I don’t know what to make for dinner. There’s a rich history of traditional peanut soups and stews in many cultures, too. Consider:

Peanut Sauces

Don’t forget about all the saucy options that use peanut butter as a rich and creamy base.

Peanut Coatings and Binding

I’ve used powdered peanut butter to make some of the crispiest peanut-crusted tofu you could ever dream of, and that same trick could be just as easily applied to any of your favorite proteins or veggies.

In baking, it’s an excellent gluten-free binder and emulsifier, keeping dough cohesive and batters smooth.

How To Substitute Powdered Peanut Butter

Any recipe that calls for standard peanut butter can be upgraded with peanut powder. For every tablespoon of standard peanut butter, simply use 2 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter plus 1 tablespoon of water or other liquid. This is a great opportunity to add more flavor, too. You could amp up the umami with mushroom stock, enhance the creaminess with coconut milk, or add a splash of acid with fresh lemon or lime juice.

The benefit of using peanut butter powder is that it’s much easier to incorporate, blending in effortlessly whereas conventional paste tends to clump if you just drop in a spoonful. Additionally, it’s an excellent way to thicken a thin broth instead of adding nutritionally vapid white flour or starch.

Nuts for Peanut Powder

It’s a good thing that Naked Nutrition’s Organic Powdered Peanut Butter comes in such generous containers; as soon as you break the seal, you’ll want to add it to every snack and meal. Trust me, you’ll have no trouble powering through the first pack, so stock up when you get a chance!

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Naked Nutrition. My opinions cannot be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Flat-Out Fantastic Lahmacun

Must we describe every topped flatbread in the world as some form of a pizza? It’s a helpful cultural touchstone that’s easily understood, but does a grave injustice to every minimally related dish. Lahmacun shares this overly simplified description, but make no mistake about it: We’re not in Italy anymore, Toto.

What Is Lahmacun?

Whether it’s technically Turkish or Armenian is still hotly debated. Regardless, Lahmacun comes from the Arabic words “lahm,” meaning meat, and “macun,” meaning paste. Alternative spellings are “lamejun,” “lahmajin” and “lahmajun,” just to be clear. Typically beef or lamb is ground or finely chopped with vegetables and herbs to create this iconic “meat paste” that gets spread onto very thinly rolled circles of dough. In this case, tempeh is our protein of choice, enhanced by the naturally umami flavors of Sugimoto shiitake powder.

Not All Shiitake Powder Is Created Equal

That’s why Sugimoto is the only brand I’d trust for the job. Theirs is made of pure, dried shiitake mushrooms and absolutely nothing else. Their unique drying process concentrates all the natural umami compounds to make the overall taste sensation even more concentrated, making it a potent flavor booster for all kinds of dishes. Adding shiitake powder ultimately creates a more satisfying and complex dish, plant-based or otherwise.

Furthermore, the presence of amino acids like glutamic acid in shiitake mushrooms can also contribute to their meaty flavor. These same amino acids are found in meat, which is why shiitake powder can be a great option for adding depth and richness to vegan recipes. Tempeh, which is made of fermented soy beans, may not sound like a natural substitute for ground meat, but some sort of kitchen alchemy occurs when this secret ingredient hits the pan.

Tips For Success

Don’t be daunted if this is your first try making lahmacun. It’s an incredibly simple recipe that can be mastered with little effort.

  • The meat paste topping and dough can both be made in advance. The topping can keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 6 months. The dough can be kept in a lightly greased ziptop bag or covered bowl in the fridge for up to 5 days. That way, you can simply assemble and eat when hunger strikes.
  • To make this recipe easier, you can start with 1 pound of prepared pizza dough rather than making your own from scratch.
    • In a pinch, you can even use flour tortillas to skip the rolling step entirely, but reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees so they don’t burn.
  • When rolling out the dough, think “crackers” rather than “pizza.” The crusts need to be super thin, as thin as you can possibly make them, to get a perfectly crisp, crunchy bite all the way through. The exact size and shape isn’t as important as the thickness, which should be around 1/8th of an inch. You can use your fingers to pull and stretch it too.
  • I like to roll my dough out directly on an ungreased piece of parchment paper, flouring only the top of the dough. That way, it sticks to the sheet and not the rolling pin, helping it to keep its shape instead of immediately springing back.
  • Leftover, fully baked lahmacun can be frozen once cooled. To reheat, toss them back into a 400-degree oven for 5 – 8 minutes, until hot and crisp.

Leftover Topping Ideas

A little bit goes a long way for these super thin and crispy flatbreads! You may end up with more topping than you can spread over your dough, which is a great “problem” to have. There’s no end to the possible uses for such a versatile component.

  • Dumplings: Wrap up a spoonful in wonton wrappers and steam, saute, or fry your way to dumpling delight.
  • Pasta Sauce: Consider this the meat component of your favorite ragu. Add diced tomatoes and simmer until thick.
  • Tacos: Grab your tortillas and load them up with this meatless filling, pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded cabbage, and anything else you’d like at this instant fiesta.
  • Meatballs: Mix in seasoned breadcrumbs until the mixture holds together, then shape it into walnut-sized balls. Sear before adding to your favorite al dente pasta and sauce.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Slice off the tops of your bell peppers, fill with the seasoned meatless mixture, cover with foil, and bake at 400 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with shredded vegan cheese, and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes, until melted and browned.

What makes lahmacun so special is its balance of flavors and textures. The thin, crispy bread provides a perfect contrast to the rich, savory meat topping, while the fresh parsley and tangy tomatoes add brightness and acidity to the dish. Fragrant spices give lahmacun a warm, aromatic quality that makes it both comforting and complex.

Lahmacun is often served as street food in Turkey, where it’s eaten folded up like a taco. Popular as an appetizer, snack, or entree, you can easy enjoy it straight out of the oven or with a variety of condiments, such as lemon wedges, pickled vegetables, or garlic sauce. Whatever you do, just don’t call it pizza. Lahmacun is a true culinary treasure as a wholly unique, distinctive dish that’s well worth the effort of making it right.

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Beaned By Lucky Edamame

Soybeans have long been celebrated as a high-protein superfood, but beyond their nutritional prowess, did you know that they can chase away demons, too? Japanese people have taken advantage of this for centuries with stellar results: Not a single demonic incident since setsubun!

What Is Setsubun?

Celebrated on February 3rd, setsubun means “seasonal division,” marking the end of winter and beginning of spring according to the old Japanese calendar. Since I’d do anything to speed through this dark period every year, I’m all for that! Many people have come to describe it as the “bean-throwing festival” in reference to the most important annual tradition.

Mamemaki, “bean scattering,” is the practice of throwing dried soybeans either out the front door or at a family member wearing a demon mask to drive away bad fortune. I’d always argue that it’s more fun to throw food at loved ones, but your mileage my vary. After cleansing the home of evil spirits, you’re then supposed to eat the leftover soybeans, counting out one for every year of your life, plus one more for good luck in the coming year.

This time around, let’s make soybeans that are so addictively spicy and savory, you’ll only want to throw more of them into your mouth.

Seven is a lucky number in Japanese culture, which is why ehomaki (large, uncut sushi rolls) are filled with exactly seven ingredients on this day, too. Shichimi togarashi, a spice blend made with seven components, is the perfect seasoning to follow suit.

What’s Sichimi Togarashi Made Of?

Also know as simply shichimi, there are no hard and fast rules for what makes the cut, but most blends include the following:

  • Sansho pepper or Sichuan peppercorns
  • Chilies
  • Ginger
  • Orange, mandarin, or yuzu zest
  • Sesame seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Nori

Use it anywhere you would black pepper for a bolder, more intense heat and complex flavor overall.

How to Make Crispy Soybeans

The dried soybeans traditionally used for setsubun are what we might refer to as soy nuts here. Personally, I much prefer the fresh, buttery taste of green edamame instead. The trick to getting them crispy is to cook them low and slow, gently removing moisture without burning the outsides. Believe it or not, your air fryer is just the tool for this job! Most air fryers have dehydrator settings now, offering temperatures as low as 90 degrees. Naturally, you could use a conventional dehyrator if you have one handy.

Demons had better keep their distance when these tiny fireballs are on the table; they really do bring the heat! Smoldering with the spice of powerful chili peppers, every bite has a resounding crunch and zesty finish that will bring you back for more. Pack them up as healthy snacks on the go, enjoy with a glass of sake, or eat them like popcorn while you Netflix and chill.

More Ideas For Using Crunchy Edamame

Aside from just eating the crispy beans out of hand, they’re an incredibly versatile ingredient in many other dishes.

  • Toss into leafy green salads
  • Top soups and stews
  • Crush roughly to use instead of breadcrumbs
  • Mix into energy bars
  • Use instead of pine nuts to sprinkle over pasta or risotto

鬼は外! 福は内! – Devils Out! Fortune In!

Slam the door shut on misfortune this year and eat your way to better luck. Crispy shichimi edamame will never do you wrong.

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