November 19, 2010

Fermented black beans | Mutant bread

We just watched one episode of 30 Rock and two episodes of Glee and I was going to go read (cookbooks, of course), but I'm feeling bad about not doing a mofo post today. I know some bloggers blog every day all the time, and here I am going nuts after a mere three weeks. This isn't the post I had planned, but this is what I've got.

Here's a quick little stir-fry made with broccolini, carrots, celery, tofu, brown rice, Chinese red pepper and salted black beans. I got the beans (sometimes called fermented black beans) in an Asian market, and have been experimenting with them.

They add a wonderful flavor to traditional Chinese dishes — or quick stir-fries. It only takes a very small amount to flavor a dish. The red pepper looks just like cayenne but is milder and sweeter. It adds a nice, slightly spicy piquant taste to food.

And here, is a mutant bread. It looked perfectly normal as it was rising, but took on an artsy free-form shape of its own choice as it baked today. I admire its independence.

Have a nice weekend. We have a free pass to Costco tomorrow evening so we're going to see what kinds of food bargains we can find, just in time for Thanksgiving.


  1. lol mutant bread:) still looks great

  2. I am liking the sound of your stirfry. I haven't had one for ages and your bread still looks fab :)

  3. mutant bread - so funny. I'm sure it'll give you super-powers when you eat it.
    I've never heard of those beans, but I'm very curious now.

  4. Haha, your mutant bread looks great! :)

    The stir fry sounds good, too. I don't think I have ever seen those beans, but they sound interesting.

  5. Sometimes you have to blog about the food you have, not the food you want. Thank you, Donald Rumsfeld.

  6. The beans look like little raisins. I've heard of them, but had never seen any.

    Your bread looks delicious, mutant or not!

  7. Your stir fry looks excellent. I've been trying to find those beans but so far, no luck! I think these are what black bean sauce/paste is made from. Do you just chuck them into a dish? *Is* the texture like raisins? So many questions!

    I love those odd little outgrowths. It's like the overflow on the edges of waffles, or the biscuits you make with the leftover scraps. They taste better than the main thing somehow, yet don't count as food somehow, and how can you resist pulling it off and eating it warm?

    Also, good luck at Costco. I'm sure you'll pick up lots of good things, even if, as always at this time of year, at the cost of some struggle. I always leave there feeling like I have *won* my items rather than merely purchased them. Costco is an arena for heroic shopping!

  8. DD,
    I was surprised but baking is full of surprises sometimes.

    Stir-fries are the quickest meals I know — we have them a lot. I made this in my son's new wok, which I love using!

    Well, I never thought of super-powers, but now that you mention it ...

    The beans are strange-looking and smell odd. They don't look particularly appetizing but they add a great taste to food — similar to a dark miso.

    Hmmm. I don't know what to say. :)

    They do look like raisins but they sure don't taste like them.

    So far, I've just chucked them in, yes. I need to check a cookbook (Bryanna's?) about the "right" way to use them. They are not sticky like raisins, but firm, though not hard. If you eat one, it seems like a firmer version of miso.

    Now I'm wondering how I didn't pull off the blob and eat it. The urge was strong but I think I wanted my husband to see it. I'm going to go pull it off right now. Right now!

    I've never shopped at Costco and frankly, I'm a bit nervous. I don't like frantic crowd scenes.

  9. That bread looks so funny! I like its independent spirit.

  10. I prefer not to post daily either. i know how you feel. my hand got tendinitis yesterday so i had to take a rest.

    the fermented beans look interesting. which asian market do you like around here? i know everyone has their preferences.

  11. I was just playing off your first paragraph...yipes! Don't misread, don't misread!

  12. Mihl,
    I do too. Also its taste, because it's flavored with black onion seed.

    My favorite Asian market is Uwajimaya, but that's not where I got the beans. There's a market in a small shopping center near where my son lives in North Seattle called HT Oaktree. It's not my favorite but it's convenient.

    I understand. Don't worry. And I didn't mean to imply that you SHOULD grind your own flour. :D

  13. Nothing like bread with a little personality. The mutant parts look nice and "crunkley". I've been meaning to get some of the fermented beans...I recently got BCG's Chinese cookbook and many of the recipes call for them.

    I know some people are avid bloggers and that is wonderful, but I'm with you on the blogging everyday thing...for me personally..., it starts to feel like a "chore" if I do it everyday.

  14. That stir-fry looks delish, and that bread is adorable!

  15. I like those black beans! I'll miss you at Thanksgiving!

  16. Rose,
    I've been meaning to look in that cookbook for directions on using the beans. I used to use them but I can't remember exactly how.

    Blogging is so time consuming — much more than I ever thought it would be. It's fun, but more so when I limit it to two or three times a week!

    Thank you. I love stir-fries for their simplicity and also for their variety.

    I'll miss you, too. But if it's not at your house, we wouldn't be there anyway. We'll be having a family Thanksgiving, but it would be more fun if your family were here, too.

  17. Funny - I really thought the recipe was going to be called mutant bread. I'm glad he felt like he could spread his wings and be who he wanted to be. :) I've never been to Costco, but I always wish we had one.

  18. Jenny,
    After not finding anything on our shopping list, and multiple things not on the list that seemed like a great idea, we left Costco with four heavy bags and the decision that joining was not for us.

  19. I have always wanted to buy those fermented black beans at the Asian grocery store, but I am a little scared of them, lol. It is good to know you can just add them to things like a stir-fry...I may have to pick them up next time I go :-)


  20. Courtney,
    Yes, get some, but don't chuck too many into your stir-fry. They are very strong-flavored.

  21. I love black bean sauce, it's one of my favorites. It's so funny, I just made some today. For next time, you can try soaking the black beans for a little bit and then mash them to release their flavor. Also rinse the beans before soaking.

    The mutant bread is too funny! It's got a mind of its own. :-)

  22. Chow Vegan,
    Thanks for the cooking info! Now I remember how I used to use the black beans. It's weird that I could forget something like that; I guess I should have looked it up.

  23. That stir fry sounds mighty tasty. I can't find broccolini where I live. I had it in a pasta dish when I was in NJ back in the summer and really liked it.

    I love your mutant bread. :o) I bet it sure did taste good. I have a bread cookbook at home, that I won about a month ago, but still haven't made anything out of it. After seeing how good your bread looks,I see I need to change that!

  24. Michelle,
    Maybe you can find broccoli rabe. But, really, broccoli tastes just as good to me. You should give the bread book a try. Nothing smells as great as bread baking.


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