Killer Black Beans
(Adapted from Slender Kitchen)
At Mercantile & Co we love, love, love this recipe for many reasons. First, its super simple. We just started a new company! So you can imagine why we’re all about short prep times that magically creates great flavors. These beans and the few ingredients added do all the work necessary to bring incredible flavors out for all sorts of uses. Which brings me to our second reason we love this recipe so much, it’s fantastic to use in all sorts of breakfast/lunch/dinner options. That’s right, from huevos rancheros in the morning to burritos @ lunch to a base for (jackfruit) carnitas in the evening – these beans have you covered! And last reason we love this recipe, if you have access to a slow cooker, you can do all the prep in the AM before life gets weird and crazy with all the zoom calls kid calendar juggling and have everything ready to go by dinner. One final benefit - these beans are vegan!
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 8 hours w. a slow cooker. Alternatively, you can soak the beans overnight and cook them on low for ~4 hours, adding back stock/water as needed.
- 1 cup dry black beans (rinsed)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 4 garlic cloves (peeled and left whole)
- 2 jalapeño peppers (left whole)
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt to taste
- Water or stock (we suggest using a tablespoon of bouillon/concentrate with water)
Place dry black beans in a slow cooker with all the ingredients. Cover with water/stock. Cook on low for 8 hours.
The Merc&Co family usually combines these beans in a tortilla with roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers) whatever you have really; we simply roast in the oven on a sheet pan @ 400 with olive oil, salt and pepper for 20 minutes. If you’d like to add meat, sauté some sausage, or dice up some leftover chicken. From there you can add cheese or salsa – whatever you like or have lying around.
Wines for this recipe:
Roast Chicken with Vegetables
(Adapted from Marcella Hazaan)
Just like killer black beans, this recipe could not get any simpler – it only has three main ingredients. Also, the flexibility is key for a busy group of families and friends. You can use the list of veggie sides that we outline below – but really, you can use whatever is in your fridge that you (like us) probably need to use up quickly! And again, the prep on this recipe is fast and the flavors you develop by roasting the whole chicken are incredible.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 mins
- One, 3-4 lb. chicken (whole)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 lemons (rolled and punctured)
- Selection of root vegetables of your choosing – Examples could be, leeks (cleaned and sliced), fennel (sliced), carrots, potatoes (mini or cubed) are just some of our favorites.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Apply ample amounts of salt and black pepper on the chicken, outside and within the cavity. Roll each lemon on a counter to soften. Puncture the lemons at least 5 times each with a fork. Place both lemons in the cavity of the chicken.
An option would be to tie the legs together with string, but this is not necessary. Place the chicken into a roasting pan, breast facing down. A standard 13x9 Pyrex will do nicely. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. Place the bird in the preheated oven uncovered.
After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over, breast face up. Add the vegetables you’ve chosen to use, to the base of the pan.
Cook for another 30 to 35 minutes, turning the vegetables gently once or twice. Then turn the oven thermostat up to 400 degrees and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20 to 25 minutes total cooking time for each pound. There is no need to turn the chicken after you’ve added your vegetables to the pan. Remove the chicken along with your now, perfectly roasted and flavored vegetables and allow to cool for 7-10 minutes before you carve and serve.
Wines for this recipe:
Are you sensing a theme yet? With kiddos and colabs fighting for attention, we need all the time we can get to focus on what's most important. And while food and eating definitely fall into that category, the time required for prep and cooking needs to be limited. This is another super simple dish, great for the weekday dinner schedule. Enjoy!
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
- Fish of your choice. Consider 1.5 to 2 lbs. to feed up to 4/5 people (white fish is best – cod or snapper).
- ½ head of cabbage or lettuce in a pinch (shredded or sliced thin)
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 to 2 tsp. of Cumin
- Salsa (or make your own pico de gallo with chopped tomatoes, lime, red or white onion, jalapeno, cilantro)
- Salt and Pepper
Make the mayo/cumin spread by first adding the mayo to a small bowl. Add a teaspoon or 2 of cumin. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Wash and shred the cabbage or lettuce.
Cut fish into rectangular pieces, about the size of your finger to slightly larger. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add a little vegetable oil to the pan. When hot, add fish. Turn after about 2 minutes (if thin whitefish). Cook another ~2 minutes, or until the fish is opaque but not dried out.
Heat each tortilla to order, either in the over between two oven safe plates or if you’re bold and you like the crunch over an open flame on the stovetop. Less bold? You can use a standard cast iron fry pan as well . Just make certain you use tongs to turn once it starts to brown/blacken. Remove from heat, add mayo, fish, and the rest of your toppings, and serve.
Wines for this recipe:
Cauliflower Fried Rice
(Adapted from Goop)
While shaving a cauliflower might seem daunting, it really just takes a minute or two. This is a great asian influenced (and vegan meal) to round out your week of meal planning. We picked three wines that have the acid and fruit balance that balance out the flavors and heat in this dish.
Prep time: 12 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
- 1 head cauliflower (shaved)
- 1 teaspoon grape-seed (or any neutral) oil
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 carrots (peeled, halved and sliced)
- 1 zucchini (diced)
- 2 teaspoons ginger (grated)
- 1 garlic clove (chopped or grated)
- 2 tablespoons scallions, both green and white parts (sliced)
- 1 packed cup kale or chard (shredded)
- ½ cup frozen peas or edamame
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon wheat free tamari or soy sauce
- Sriracha – if you like a little spice
Over a large colander, shave the head of cauliflower thinly, letting rice-sized pieces fall into the bowl. This is best done using a mandolin or a sharp knife, run across the outermost edge of the cauliflower head. Make sure not to use too much pressure so you keep your “rice” pieces small. Turn the head gently as you go. Use both the florets and the stalks. If you have some pieces that are much larger, you can always chop those before cooking. Rinse the cauliflower and let dry.
In a large wok or sauté pan, heat grape-seed oil and toasted sesame oil over medium high heat. Add carrots, and any other harder root vegetable you want to use (fennel, for example). Cook until everything starts to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add zucchini and a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups shaved cauliflower, peas, kale, ginger, garlic and scallions, and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Take off the heat, add coconut aminos and tamari.
If you’d like to add a scrambled egg, make a hole in the middle of the mix, in the pan, in the last few minutes, and add a scrambled egg or two. And if you like heat, you can serve with a little Sriracha on top.
**Note** We really like to pack this dish full of vegetables, in which case you might want to roast the cauliflower separately and add at the end, to save space in the pan. Roast on a sheet pan, with olive oil, salt and pepper, at 350 for ~20 minutes.
Wines for this recipe:
Support your local restaurant!
No adaptation required...
Ok-ok, we only did four recipes this week. We were going to add a fifth recipe but in keeping all things as authentic as possible, we’d be lying if we said we cook EVERY night of the week. We all need a night off and ordering from a restaurant, can add a little, much needed joy to the week. So, for night #5 we would suggest you support your local restaurant(s).
The restaurant industry in the US is nearly a $900 billion industry (billion w. a big B). Thats bigger than retail, that's larger than wholesale and nearly as large as the healthcare and financial services industry(s) in the US. And 99% of these restaurants are 1) Family owned and 2) Have fewer than 50 employees. These are truly small businesses and they need our support. These businesses are all of us. They are our neighbors, our friends and in normal times they create togetherness and joy in our lives.
A couple more thoughts, if at all possible, please consider purchasing a bottle of wine to go along with your meal. Wine as well as cocktail sales go a long way to help keeping restaurants profitable, making up nearly 30% of a restaurant’s revenue. And one last key to helping support your local restaurant, ordering largely vegetable dishes. Not only are they healthier for you and your family but veggie dishes have the largest profit margins for restaurants and can help them in these tough economic times.