While decluttering my bookcase I discovered a hidden gem: Parragon Books’ “100 Best Health Foods.”
This book takes an interesting, in-depth look at 100 amazing foods and discusses their healthy properties. That said, Parragon does not bother to go into any sort of detail as to which seasons the foods are from or where they are from, which is great… as the publisher is in the UK and I am not.
Also the recipes in this book are not necessarily for the busy on-the-go people or they don’t really make the healthy food the stand out in the completed dish.
My plan… I’m going to tackle these 100 health foods relative to their seasonality in my area (some are never seasonable here… but I will follow their seasons in the location in which they are grown) and find simple easy recipes that showcase the foods. Which could be great for amazing foods like plums… but not so great for anchovies…
Now this is confusing Parragon. Black Beans can either make reference to Black Turtle Beans which is used mostly in Latin American foods or a fermented soybean called Douchi which is used in East Asian foods like black bean sauce.
While I love chicken with black bean sauce… one in my area is more likely to encounter Black Turtle Beans. As I live in the south, I am much more likely to encounter Black Beans and Rice. This doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. I’m actually pretty decent at making black beans and rice.
Black Turtle Beans are packed with Protein and are the main ingredient of many Latin American countries’ main dishes (ex: Costa Rica’s Gallo Pinto).
For our black beans I place ham hocks in the slow cooker and almost cover them with water. Throw in 2 bay leaves and some garlic salt. Cook on low over night. In the morning, after sorting the beans to make sure there are no stones or funky looking beans, the broth, bones and meat from the ham hocks as well as the beans go into a giant pot that I fill about 3/4 of the way with water. The water will be absorbed by the beans over the next few hours. Cook at a low simmer for those hours and check every half an hour to see if you need more water. The beans should be done by noon. Serve over rice.