Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Kidney Bean and Honey Butter” and “Fig-yoghurt Spread"

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to catch up with my old friend, Kathie. We went hiking in Laguna Beach under the blazing sun. I felt like a beached whale, slowly suffocated. Kathie did a good job motivating me throughout the hike by talking about all the free snacks she can have in her new corporate job (we are talking about expensive stuffs like cliff bars, chocolate-covered almonds, and coffee). Unfortunately, I don’t work at a corporate sector like Kathie, so I usually end up eating vending-machine potato chips and chucking coffee at for 3pm-pick-me-up.  So, I decided to dedicate a portion of my blog to ideas to make snack-at-work a little bit tastier, livelier, and of course, healthier. I personally think indulging something special during the time of stress (or work) is modern-day little pleasure to take advantage of.

My main intent in creating my workplace snacks is to maximize the natural flavors of the ingredients, while reducing the sugar and salt as much as possible. Last semester, I noticed that, as I was getting busier, more sugar-laden and salt-filled processed food crept into my diet. It finally reached a point when my tongue ignores subtle flavors of the ingredients, and assumes anything that is not overly sweet or salty as bland. Long story short, prefer not to have that bad romance again.

Here, I made “kidney bean and honey butter” and “fig-yoghurt spread” to go along with a nicely charred toast. Both spreads are embarrassingly easy to make, but are not short of flavor and textural contrast. The kidney bean and honey “butter” is incredibility smooth, but still dotted with chunky pieces of half-broken beans. The honey and tahini paste bring out the natural sweetness in the beans, while a squeeze of lemon and lemon zests keep the “butter” light. I finally finished the dish with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper to enhance the earthiness of kidney beans. The final product still maintains the essence of kidney beans, while complemented with a sweet smooth under-tone.

If you think the kidney bean and honey butter is easy to make, the fig-yoghurt dip will blow your mind. Literally, all you need is a bowl and a spoon. Mix one cup of tangy and dense yoghurt like Greek or South Indian yoghurt with two tablespoons of fig jam. The result is the lusciously thick sauce, sprinkled with the crunchy seeds from the fig jam.

It seemed odd to spread yoghurt or bean dip o a toast, but, hey, be a rebel once in a while.

Ingredients for “red kidney bean and honey butter”

-      1 can of red kidney bean (washed and drained thoroughly)
-      1 tbsp of tahini paste
-      Zest of half-lemon
-      A squeeze of lemon
-      4 tbsps of honey
-      a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper

-      Put all the ingredients in a big bowl.
-      Use a potato masher, and mash until most red kidney beans are crushed. Of course, you can use the food processor, but I really enjoy the textural contrast that I get from mashing manually.
-      Leftover can be chilled in the fridge.

Ingredients for “fig-yoghurt spread”

-      1 cup of Greek or South Indian yoghurt
-      2 tbsps of fig jam

-      Combine the two together in a bowl.
-      Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

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