Friday, October 9, 2009

Sea Salt Winner and a Gently Used Recipe

The winner of the Maine Sea Salt gift pack is Sarah, of Feeding Tiny Vegans, who shared the following:

"the closest i can come to a swimming in frigid maine water story re: fort foster in kittery. it's rocky and smells and my daughter freaks when we go there."

This sea salt is from way up near New Brunswick, and smells like delicious. Your daughter may indeed freak out, from joy, when she tastes popcorn with apple smoked salt. Sarah, send me your mailing address asap!

I chose the winner by writing all the participants' names on sticky notes and then pulling one out of a hat. This seemed more official to me than random number generator. (I just couldn't stop hitting that generate button. Trying to predict which of 53 numbers will randomly appear is endlessly fascinating.)

I ran out of time to cook today before it got too dark for pictures, so I'll use one of my Get Out of a MoFo Post Free cards and direct you to something I published elsewhere. My local city magazine, the Bangor Metro, featured me in their October Food File. You can read the article here. In the print edition, there was also a nice sidebar with vegan meal ideas for dinner parties. A recipe for Smokey Black Bean Stew with Winter Squash accompanied the article. It's not online, so I'm going to reprint it here. A slow-cooked stew with cinnamon, cocoa, and dried chili peppers, it's perfect for an autumn weekend.

Smokey Black Bean Stew with Winter Squash

2 cups dried black beans
2 cups vegetable broth
14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 dried jalapeño chilies (remove seeds to reduce heat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
12 ounces dark ale or water

Soak beans overnight, for a minimum of 8 hours.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring broth, tomatoes and liquid, and jalapeños to a low boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Purée in a blender or food processor and set aside. Drain and rinse black beans.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned. Add cumin, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, and stir for 1 minute. Add beans, tomato mixture, and beer. Add water if more liquid is needed to cover beans.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer gently for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft. Add more water if beans become dry.

To serve, scoop into roasted acorn squash halves.

Serves 6.

Roasted Acorn Squash

3 acorn squash
olive oil
brown sugar (optional)

Heat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Brush with oil and rub, sparingly, with brown sugar (if desired). Place on a large baking sheet, cut side up, and roast for 40-60 minutes, until tender.


  1. I love that you used post-it notes. there's something very romantic about it.

  2. I won something! Thanks :) Emailing now!

    And mmm, squash!

  3. Gorgeous! I love the idea of using the squash as a bowl, it makes it seem SO much more elegant and fun!

  4. aaaaw beautiful stew! And I thought that was a contradiction in itself.

  5. I like that you drew the names out of a hat too and the idea of get out of MoFo free cards is great! Some days I miss the chance to photograph while the sun is still out.

  6. How beautiful! That looks and sounds so delicious, thank you for the recipe:)

  7. That stew looks gorgeous! I have about five acorn squash from my CSA share that need to be used; that looks like the perfect recipe for them.

  8. Beautiful! I also have some acorn squash! I will have to try this as soon as possible. Yum.

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  10. That looks lovely! I love that squash can serve as both part of the meal and the serving bowl.

  11. Very nice stew, think I'll try this week.

  12. That was a very nice article, Mary! (LOL on the beets - me too!) I hope you get lots of positive feedback. And I agree with everyone else that your Smokey Black Bean Stew with Winter Squash looks and sounds exquisite! Anything with the words "smokey," "black bean" and "squash" in the name gets my attention!
    Congratulations on winning, Sarah! We'll all be at your house for dinner next weekend so you can serve us a smokey-salty somethin' or other. ;-)

  13. HAHA! So I decided to have squash stuffed with black beans and millet for dinner, and googling that brought me here - oh the irony!!

    I <3 the salt. I sometimes lick some plain apple salt off my hands. Shameful!


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