Bean there, done that.

So. I’ve been in a bit of a mini baking frenzy recently. The restaurant was closed for a few days to do some renovations (the floor in the hot part of the kitchen is badly cracked and split, for example), and I gleefully seized the opportunity to absolve myself of any responsibilities for those days (excepting having lunch in the city with a friend who is newly engaged) and barricaded myself at home with bags of flour and sugar. I even piked out on the Work Christmas Party, which is pretty bad of me I know.

But I promise you I have been using the time wisely.

November seems to be shaping up to be Love-Helen-Month in the Lemonpi household. I saw Helen’s post about her award-winning chilli recipe and made a lunge for it immediately. The boy loves chilli, you see. I make a batch of it on a vaguely regular basis. However, I’ve always thought in the back of my mind that my basic recipe could be somehow improved.

Helen’s recipe, I think, let me in on a few important secrets. The use of roasted garlic and chillis, for example (remembering the smell that filled my kitchen while the garlic was roasting, still makes me smile). The hand-cutting of the meat (as opposed to using ready-made mince, which is often minced too finely for what chilli should really be like) and that final flourish : a tiny bit of bittersweet chocolate stirred into the pot at the end, to enrichen it. All these and more, are what have made a big difference so far.

For this first attempt, I was forced to substitute a few ingredients based on what I could find on the day. Those pesky peppers, for example. Instead of habaneros, I used jalapenos, which are pretty hot, though I think they are probably a bit limp-wristed in comparison to habaneros. I also eschewed dried kidney beans in favour of black beans, which I had a big packet of. (A massive packet, in fact. Beans to last me for days. Beans I could be a bean-llionaire with, if ever adzukis, chickpeas, limas and turtles became the new currency.)

Cooking your own beans instead of using the tinned stuff is great especially if you happen to have the time to do it. Soak the dried beans in cold water the day before and the next day, bring them up to boil in plenty of fresh water, then simmer until cooked. Soaking the beans shortens the total cooking time and is apparently also the key to avoiding beans being the notoriously musical fruit we all know and love. You can also throw some aromats into the pot while the beans are simmering, to boost the flavour (and season with salt towards the end of the cooking time), but I skipped this step because I was planning on using part of the batch for some black bean brownies.

Yes, you heard right! Black.Bean.Brownies.!

It’s not often I find myself having time to bake from other blogs, even though I have tons and tons of bookmarked recipes, and I certainly never thought I’d find myself baking vegan, but I’m a big fan of Celine’s beautiful blog and lately I haven’t been able to take my mind off those tempting bites she offers up, like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and black bean brownies.

These brownies were fun to make (you could say it was almost liberating, not working with eggs and butter for a change!) but are by no means the perfect brownie. However, I can see where they are heading, and Celine promises that an even better recipe is on it’s way, so keep an eye out for it!

In the meantime, B is due back from San Francisco soon. I’ve got the dinner and the dessert prepared. All I need now is the boy. πŸ™‚

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  1. celine said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

    it’s important to keep in mind the black bean brownies are not meant to replace a bona fide piece of brownie, but to offer a healthier (and yes, tasty) alternative when the craving hits and that you can’t afford to ingest a lot of empty calories.
    love the pics, Y!

  2. Helen said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

    Ah, and Helen loves Lemonpi too! I am so glad you made the chilli but I am totally mesmerised by those black bean brownies right now! What a wonderfully creative idea!

  3. Y said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

    Thanks Celine πŸ™‚ I have to say though, being that dessert is my favourite food group and it’s what helps me pay the bills, every calorie is always respected and well loved.. none of them are ever considered empty ..hehe.

    Helen: Two recipes/courses from the one bean.. I think I’m onto a roll here πŸ˜€

  4. the projectivist said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

    did you say Christmas Party?!
    is it that time of year already?
    gosh, where did the time go?
    pass me a black bean brownie – i need a lie down.

  5. Y said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    I know, weird huh! Even weirder is the fact that we usually celebrate work Christmas parties in *February*, when the madness has died down!!

  6. Piggy said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

    Black bean brownies?! That is so interesting. Lovely pic of the brownies, btw!

  7. Lorraine E said,

    November 5, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

    Interesting, I’ve made Jessica Seinfeld’s Carrot and Spinach brownies and they’re not bad so I’m interested in these black bean brownies too πŸ™‚ And that chili looks amazing!

  8. Duncan | Syrup&Tang said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 12:07 am

    I’m quite fascinated by those brownies. As a relatively recent convert to black beans in my own cooking, I’m tempted to give those a go!

  9. linda said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 1:45 am

    IΒ΄ve seen the black bean brownies a couple of times and was always curious about them. It would have been too good to be true if they were as good as Β΄regularΒ΄ brownies πŸ˜‰ They look very good though.
    Never made ‘real’ chilli before but always my take on it. Should do some research on that….

  10. Eileen said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 2:30 am

    Wow… black bean brownies. I have got to try those!

  11. Mike said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 4:58 am

    Black bean brownies? You blew my mind. The photos look delicious, as always

  12. Leonor de Sousa Bastos said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 8:03 am

    Black bean brownies sounds as one of the most unique concepts I’ve ever heard…

    I bet it tastes great even before the improved recipe!

    Good work

  13. Christie@fig&cherry said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 9:10 am

    LOL – bean-llionaire. Love it! Glad you’ve been having fun getting up to mischief in the kitchen. I just have to try that chilli recipe.

  14. clumbsycookie said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 9:59 am

    I love beans! I’ve seen recipes for brownies with beans before but never felt compulsed to actually make some. We do have here in Portugal one awesome sweet that calls for white beans and I love it. But they do look good!

  15. hanne said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 10:15 am

    I love those little quenelles on top of the brownies! I wish I could form those.

    For some reason, black bean and chocolate seem to me like they were meant to be together. Definitely sounds like a recipe worth playing with.

  16. pea and pear said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    Y, those brownies look deceptively delicious. Christmas party time I can barely believe it!! at least you got a break from the kitchen, well from one kitchen at least πŸ˜‰ I am looking at getting some time off soon yippee, finally get to do some blogging!

    Nothing stops you though, you are a machine πŸ™‚

  17. cakebrain said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

    Hm. Beans in brownies. I would never have thought that this could be at all something I’d want to indulge in but your pictures look so enticing! I can see how they could be a good thing too.

  18. grace said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 12:31 am

    yes, your brownies look stellar, especially with that decorative roll on top, but i’m even more attracted to the thick, hearty chili. me like chili. beans can do no wrong. πŸ™‚

  19. cathy x. said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    my mummy came back from china last week with a machine that makes soy milk! it’s like an immersion blender that cooks the beans as it blitzes so it’s all done in 10 minutes. it’s pretty cool. you soak like 2 tbsp of soy beans for 8 hours then brrr, brrr, and you end up with 3 whole cups! you should get one πŸ˜› just imagine all the different bean concoctions you could make!

  20. arfi said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

    interesting recipe, i’m curious to have a taste, Y!

  21. Jude said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

    I’m thisclose to trying those bbbs. Been seeing it around and I’m starting to like the idea more and more.

  22. Vera said,

    November 8, 2008 @ 10:10 am

    What an interesting recipe! And I like how they look.

  23. Lisa said,

    November 9, 2008 @ 8:48 am

    Wow! Interesting brownies are popping up everywhere at the moment, which does nothing to help my brownie craving. I guess my blog is the next place you’ll see them πŸ™‚
    I have lots of beans in my pantry too, let us plan world domination !! (mwahaha)

  24. the caked crusader said,

    November 10, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

    You made black bean brownies and I made brussel sprout cake! Are we sharing a ‘moment’ here?!!!

  25. Marysol said,

    November 11, 2008 @ 5:30 am

    Y, this is the second time today I’ve seen black bean brownies, and I’m beginning to think it’s an omen, as if the pictures didn’t speak volumes.

    And your chili looks wonderfully comforting. I add bittersweet chocolate to mine too, but I hadn’t thought of roasting the garlic first. So, that’s what’ll be on the menu this week. Chili.

  26. Christy said,

    November 11, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    Black bean brownies!! You could so totally have fooled me into thinking that they were ultra moist chocolate brownies!! Have a great few days off!! I wish I could say the same for me….

  27. Shari said,

    November 15, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

    Chocolate in chili is a new one for me, but I’ll give it a go! Beautiful photos, as usual!

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