Black beans, corn, summer squash, tomatoes, onions, ground chiles, smoked paprika, and herbs, plus roasted sweet potatoes on the side… Sounds like heaven to me! I first made this dish a couple weeks ago, and have come back to it multiple times since—in fact, I’m craving it right now! It features Zelda & Bramble’s Blackening Spice Blend, as well as the pungent Mexican herb epazote, which we have growing outside our door (if you can’t find it at your local farmers’ market or Mexican grocery, you can use cilantro instead).
The Blackening—which we typically describe as having medium heat—adds a ton of flavor to the beans, but the dish isn’t spicy. If you want heat, you could always add more Blackening, or even some Z&B Firestorm! Z&B Chili Seasoning would also be great in this dish!
Yield 6 servings
The beans are great as a side dish with sweet potato “croutons,” or for a main dish, serve over rice with the roasted sweet potato on the side. The leftovers are just as good cold the next day! But pairing with sweet potato is not optional—the Blackening plus the roasted sweet potato equals magic!
It’s our sixth season gardening together, and this year, Kevin and I put in our largest vegetable garden by far! Growing a large garden is a ton of work, but I find few things as rewarding as harvesting and eating what we’ve grown ourselves! I’m like a kid in a candy store, grinning widely as I find ripe squashes or okra pods peeking out from under broad leaves. I get a thrill when I pull up a sizeable beet or carrot. And nothing tastes like salad greens and herbs, picked moments ago!
This is today’s garden haul, and what we plan to do with it:
I can’t wait to harvest tomatoes, peppers, and corn and pair them with more Z&B spice blends! I hope you’re all enjoying the summer’s bounty, whether from your own garden or from a local farmer. What are you growing this season?
Between bustling farmers’ markets, endless weeding in the garden, busy work days, and even running errands around town, we’re always looking for good snacks to have on hand when we’re on the go. I think the ideal snack is simple, inexpensive, nutritious and sustaining, and of course, delicious! I’ve bought crunchy seasoned chickpea snacks in the past and they’ve mostly fit the bill—except for the inexpensive part! We’re also trying to minimize wasteful one-time-use plastics in our lives, including the packaging that accompanies store-bought snacks. So I decided to try making my own Crunchy Chickpeas, using the Z&B’s version of the classic Indian spice blend Garam Masala!
Here’s how I made the Crunchy Chickpeas with Garam Masala:
The luxuriant flavors of the dry roasted and hand ground spices in Z&B’s Garam Masala-- cumin, coriander, mustard, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves-- pair really well with the coconut oil and chickpeas, making an addictive Indian-inspired snack that fits all of my snacking criteria! I’m eager to try this technique with other Z&B seasonings, like Chili Seasoning, Memphis Rub, or Blackening Spice Blend to keep things interesting!
What spice blend will you try on your Crunchy Chickpeas?
Inky clouds converge in the east, crowding out the clear sky as an ominous ceiling almost low enough to touch. In an instant, rain is pummeling the house in a blinding downpour. Small rivers from the gutter downspouts gush across the driveway. As yet another sudden summer thunderstorm sweeps across Central Kentucky, I dream of picnics past and future.
Savoring just-made (and just-picked) wild blueberry cobbler on a tiny island in a mountain lake...
Sitting in our garden, enjoying pizza topped with vegetables from the week’s CSA share, while Cricket the chicken scratched for bugs and dustbathed beneath the bean plants...
Making sandwiches in our Brooklyn studio apartment and packing them for a picnic date in Prospect Park, only to discover that it was starting to rain. It turns out that a blanket spread out in the middle of the floor is as romantic a venue as any for a picnic!
Picnics are the epitome of summer, and we relish them all, regardless of the location or occasion. That’s why we’re pleased to introduce the new Zelda & Bramble Recipe Zine, devoted to picnics, cookouts, and summertime get-togethers! Full of fresh, seasonal ingredients (and some killer spice blends!), the 19 recipes celebrate the sharing of a good harvest with good company. From Summer Zing! Quinoa to Jerk Jackfruit Tacos to Herbed Berry Crumble, there’s a dish to entice just about everyone in this zine. You can print the zine off the website here or come get a copy from us at the Franklin or Woodford County Farmers’ Market!
The rain lets up and the sun returns as quickly as it vanished. I break out the picnic basket (and rain jackets just in case). I think I’ll make Okra Creole this time... or maybe Memphis Tempeh Sandwiches... What will you make for your next picnic or potluck