Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baggin' Groceries

There are four grocery stores in my life right now: Harris Teeter, Kroger, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Each has a point of difference: Kroger is the least expensive, but the most inconvenient and I do not like its produce; Whole Foods is the most expensive, but it has the highest overall quality and sells grains and spices in bulk; Trader Joe's has the best selection of value-priced wine, but it is not a real supermarket; and Harris Teeter is the most convenient and has the best overall mix of price and quality, but nothing that stands out. So it's the store I'm in most often. Probably 1.6 times a week, with visits to each of the others every 2-4 weeks.

One interesting thing about Kroger, though, is that it has the best selection of international products. Maybe it has a more diverse client base, or the advantage of a larger distribution network and building footprint, given the size of the company and the store's location in the middle of nowhere. But whatever the reason, the proof is in the pudding.

So I was delighted last week to find a jar of quality jerk paste, straight outta Kingston. I had made a quick barbeque sauce with ketchup, lime juice and the paste for chicken earlier, and last night, I rubbed some of the paste on some lamb chops, which I grilled while my beans and rice were cooking, finishing them up with the last of the sauce.

I usually make this with white rice, and I'll use vegetable broth instead of chicken if I'm making it for the BG, but with the Gs away, and still not too far removed from Food Matters, I made it with brown rice last night, and the results were pretty satisfying. I got the original recipe ten years ago from someplace called, which doesn't seem to exist anymore. I've modified it a little to make it incredibly simple. If you're making it with white rice, reduce the total liquid to 4 cups, and the cooking time to 15-20 minutes.

Jamaican Style Beans and Rice
Put two cups brown rice in a medium size pot. Drain the liquid from a can of pinto beans into a large measuring cup and put the beans into the pot. Add 1 can of coconut milk and enough chicken stock to the bean liquid make about 4 1/4 cups. Add the liquid to the pot, along with one small onion, diced, one clove of garlic, minced, a sprig of thyme and hot sauce to taste (I used about a tablespoon of Sriracha). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes.


  1. My wife and kid have been out of town, so I've also been eating beans and rice all week. But I made the beans out of dry beans, and the results ended up actually being pretty bad. I couldn't get the beans soft enough - the texture you get from a can is just better. And apparently I should have added coconut milk.

  2. Big fan of the can. Black, pinto, white, kidney. I've got a cupboard full of them in the basement. You have to soak dried beans overnight, or for 2 hours in boiling water, and then cook them forever. I'll do it for pea soup or baked beans, but that's about it. The only dried legume I use regularly is the lentil, which does cook pretty quickly.