I ran out of cumin a few days ago! I placed a bulk order from The Spice House, but it will be a few more days at least until I have cumin. Ordinarily what I’d do in this situation is just go to the store and get some cheap cumin to last me the few days till the good stuff arrives, but I’m trying to exercise patience (and resist the temptation to go to the grocery store when I don’t actually need to), so I am using this as an opportunity to play around with some recipe ideas for those rare but inevitable occasions when I do not have any cumin on hand.
The great thing about cumin, and the reason why it’s such a staple of my seasonings palate, is that it gives everything such a rich, deep, earthy flavor that it makes a simple meal feel very substantial. So, in thinking about what combinations I might try to accomplish the same thing, I’m thinking about what other flavors I can amp up in my cooking in order to bring out those qualities in the food.
It’s summer and I’ve been very busy with work and volunteer commitments, so I haven’t been spending as much time cooking as I would if I were less busy. I’m also trying to reduce my food spending by making smaller quantities of food at a time (instead of making way more food than I can or want to eat) and using up all the veggies in my fridge before I go out and buy more (even if I’m all out of something I really want!)
Greens’n’Beans is a staple of my diet. I have a couple different ways I typically prepare it. Any combination of green leafy vegetables and any type of beans can make a delicious dish, and the addition of different spice combinations and/or sauces can create any number of exciting combinations. But it wouldn’t ordinarily occur to me to make this without cumin, because usually that’s what strikes the balance between the simplicity of preparation and the satisfaction of having eaten a full meal. So this is what I came up with, in my cumin-absent kitchen the other day.
1 Tbsp oil (I used vegetable oil; olive or coconut would be just fine too)
10-15 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp ginger (minced or powder)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I like hot smoked, sweet smoked will work just fine, or if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it. It will still be delicious, it just won’t be smoky.)
black pepper (I used a full teaspoon because I really really like black pepper)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
a couple handfuls chopped kale (or whatever greens you have on hand)
1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast
pinch of adobo seasoning (optional)
cooked rice for serving (I always use brown basmati)
Heat the oil in a pot (you could also use a wok or frying pan, but I like cooking in pots because I’d rather have too much room than not enough!) over medium heat. Add the garlic, stir, then add the ginger, paprika, and black pepper. Stir in the beans and kale. Add a few splashes of soy sauce and lemon juice so there’s some liquid in there, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and adobo (if using). Taste for seasoning. Serve with brown rice.