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Here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada we are teetering on the edge of early spring. We’re almost, alllllmmmost making the much easier descent down the other side of the perilous mountain that challenges us every prairie winter. For me, a crocus poking its brave head out of the snow is THE sign that winter is officially a memory. So in this vein (though a different varietal), I’m going to talk saffron.
For me, this spice has a purple-blue mist swirling around it. Romantic. I’ve always been low key obsessed with the notion of flavour derived from flowers. The top producers are Iran, Spain, India and Greece. But it wasn’t until I learned more about the saffron harvest in Afghanistan recently (thank you TSP!) that I gained a whole new appreciation and respect for the meticulous, diligent and brave work required to harvest the thousands upon thousands of amber-hued stamens from these croci. The most delicate work achieved in a punishing atmosphere. Incredible.
Rajma is a rich, hearty, spicy, tangy quintessentially Indian Red Kidney bean recipe that is typically eaten with rice. The base is onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies. It is slow cooked with spices like cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cumin till the aroma wafts through the air and the beans are smooth and tender. It is perfect with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of chopped onions.
Created and submitted for the "Beans Around the World" contest, under the "It's BEAN in the Family for Generations" sub-category, this chili recipe is one of my go-to staples. It's a slightly-adapted version of a recipe from my grandma and is wonderfully simple. If you try it out just be sure to add generous spices (cumin, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and oregano) if you aren't using a taco seasoning spice blend (and maybe add some extra even if you are).
An ancient Japanese beauty ritual is to use roasted ground adzuki beans to exfoliate and polish the face. Just beans and water is all you need! This entry is enspired by the Beans Around the World Contest with tdac and the US Dried Bean Council. It’s a recipe, but not one for eating;)
Pinto Chile Pie has been a staple meal since I moved to the Southwest! It is a delicious, layered assortment of ingredients that are often sourced locally. Can't go wrong with pinto beans, rice, and green chile! Enjoy!