Roasted Pineapple and Black Bean Salad
Beans may very well be at the center of many people’s food psychosis. Often bean consumption can cause anti-social behavior, anger management issues, or even severe emotional response to deep-seated traumatic childhood bean experiences. Many people refuse to eat beans for fear of gas while others refuse to eat beans because they are a pain to make. Every time I make beans I have to work through the trauma of the day the lid blew! Growing up, my mom used the pressure cooker method to prepare beans, and I remember avoiding being indoors while the beans softened under extreme pressure. I always feared the pot. The pot that looked somehow militaristic with its’ gauges and locks and submarine-looking lid – the pot that induced talk about whether there would be an explosion or not. These were scary images and ideas for a little girl and I’m surprised not to have permanent psychological scars.
Even though I was traumatized, it ended up being the pot that caused the fear for me and not the beans, so I have spent much of my adult life fine-tuning the cooking of the bean without using the pressure of a militaristic submarine. There are a couple of tricks I have discovered. You know how on the bag of beans they tell you to wash them? Well, not only does this remove little bits of dirt, but washing them helps eliminate some of the gas inducing enzymes. Wash away your fears!
How you wash a bean is important, too. I use a colander and the cooking pot. I put the beans in the pot and cover them with water. Then I swirl them around with my fingers to break up little clumps of dirt and force any spoiled beans to float to the top. I remove the damaged legumes and then dump the good beans into the colander. I repeat this process two or three times until I am sure the beans are clean. Check under the colander for dirt or debris. Then I cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. I usually let them cook for about ten minutes and again drain the water, bathe and rinse. This wash is to help eliminate gas. Finally, I fill the pot again and let the beans cook until they are done – here they get a final wash and rinse.
By now I’m sure you have discovered my other trick to cooking beans: cook in large volume! Cooking beans is a time-consuming process, so I never make a paltry little pound. I usually cook four pounds in a large stock pot, and once I complete the final wash, I divide the beans into freezer containers and have many easy meals to come! It’s worth it. If you go through this process, you will not only avoid the gas found in canned beans, but you will also save money as dry beans are very inexpensive. Once new healthier habits and behaviors are formed, you will forget you ever had a bean psychosis!
Now on to the salad.
1/2 fresh pineapple cored and diced
4-6 cups black beans
1 red pepper diced
2 cups corn cut from cob
5 scallions thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 hot peppers minced
1 tsp. salt
2 limes juiced
3 Tbs. olive oil
Dice and slice the red pepper, scallions and pineapple. Place the pineapple on an oiled cookie sheet under the broiler. Let the pineapple brown on one side, turn it and let the chunks brown on the other side. Meanwhile, start a pot of water on the stove to boil the corn. Once the water is rapidly boiling put the cobs in and time it – two minutes is all they need. Remove the cobs and run under cold water to cool. Slice kernels from the cob. Mix beans, corn, peppers, scallions and pineapple together in a bowl. Next, mince the garlic, cilantro and hot peppers in a food processor and add to the salad. The salt, lime juice and olive oil can be added directly to the salad and mixed well. I like this salad to have at least an hour to marinate and bring all the flavors together.