Wednesday, June 28, 2006

full of beans

Yesterday afternoon Mr. M and I went grocery shopping at Metro, one of those big stores that you need a company card to get into. They sell to retailers and people in the restaurant business and much of their selection comes in case lots or large containers.

As we were checking out the aisle of canned food I saw this huge can of red kidney beans and commented on it.

Me: Wow, look how big this can is! That would be great if you were going to cook for 20 people.

Mr. M: Oooh, I love kidney beans! Let's buy it!

Me: Well, I enjoy them too, but it's like 2.5 kilograms of beans. What in the world would we do with them?

Mr. M: I've always had this dream of buying a huge can of kidney beans.

Me: !!!??? [It's taken him 16 years to confess this? What other secrets does he have up his sleeve?]

So we bought them. Who am I to deny a man his dreams, weird as they may be?

Right. What to do with all these beans. I know I can make chili con carne and soup and three bean salad and all that, but I wanted to try something different. And different it was.

I made brownies. Bean brownies. From a recipe in a cookbook called Full of Beans that one of my sisters-in-law gave to me many years ago. Sis-in-law hails from southern Ontario, prime bean growing country, and the book has all kinds of recipes using every kind of bean you could ever imagine. As the book says "The nutrient profile of beans is impeccable" so why not slip in a little extra nutrition here and there?

The brownies turned out pretty well - nice and moist and not too sweet. The mashed beans replace part of the oil or butter you'd use in a regular brownie recipe, reducing the fat content a bit and adding fibre, B vitamins and important minerals. I put a chocolate glaze on top and since they are already half gone now I'm giving them the Mausi seal of approval.

Bean Brownies (from Full of Beans by Violet Currie and Kay Spicer)

1 cup cooked Romano or kidney beans, pureed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Spray bottom of 13- x 9-inch (3.5L) baking pan with nonstick coating.

In mixing bowl, combine beans, sugar, flour, cocoa and salt. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat on low speed or by hand, scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth. Stir in walnuts if using.

Pour batter into prepared pan; spread into corners and smooth top.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 30 minutes or until tester inserted into centre comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.

Makes 24 brownies. (Who are we kidding? Let's make that 12.)


At June 28, 2006 6:22 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Now I've heard everything! Who'd have ever thunk that one up! Hmmm. If I substitute the sugar for Splenda, it could actually work, I think. Just the thing I would actually like but wouldn't tell anyone else they were full of beans, until after they told me they liked them :)

At June 28, 2006 6:49 p.m., Blogger The Big Finn said...

Don't forget to stay away from open flames!

At June 28, 2006 7:32 p.m., Blogger Sandra said...

They look delicious. I love beans, and sweet bean paste is used in lots of Asian pastries, so it doesn't sound too weird to me. I like the authors' names: Currie and Spicer. Good names for cookbook authors.

At June 28, 2006 7:34 p.m., Blogger melusina said...

See, this recipe won't work for me because I am too lazy to make brownies from scratch! Of course, I can't get brownie mix here in Greece, either, so I pretty much never have brownies anymore. But they do look right good.

Besides, I'd really prefer my husband keeps his bean consumption down,

At June 28, 2006 10:13 p.m., Blogger Christina said...

My German husband, who used to say he hated beans, has through my undying efforts recently discovered that he really, really LOVES them. I think he would also like the 2.5 kg can. So this recipe will be going on to this Christina's to-do list.

At June 28, 2006 10:29 p.m., Blogger Lilian said...

Hmmm, this is very interesting, I had never ever heard of beans in brownies!! I'm even thinking of trying them! Gorgeous picture too, made my mouth water instantly!

At June 28, 2006 10:39 p.m., Blogger Antipodeesse said...

I too, would be concerned about the beans' effect on my alimentary canal.

But they do look and sound delicious. When are you going to publish a cookbook?

At June 28, 2006 11:38 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

Brownies with fiber! I love the idea so much that I'm going to try it.

Like I really need much incentive to make brownies... ;)

At June 29, 2006 12:18 a.m., Blogger woman wandering said...

You're cuter than a wee button sometimes - aren't you :)

I giggled my way throught your bean post.

At June 29, 2006 6:57 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

They look great - do you taste the beans in them?

At June 29, 2006 9:32 a.m., Blogger Betsy said...

Umm Christina? The recipe calls for 1 cup of beans. Which can't be more than about 150 grams, right? So I'm left wondering what you did with the other 2,350 grams. Baked 700 more brownies? Fed 10 down-on-their-luck vegetarians? Flushed em? Enquiring minds want to know...

At June 29, 2006 10:30 a.m., Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

C'mon everybody. Sing along with me...

"Brownies! Brownies! The magical fruit..."

[Apologies to any non-Americans who don't understand what the hell I'm talking about.]

At June 29, 2006 12:51 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Ginnie - I think Splenda would probably work just fine and if you used a "healthy" oil the damage wouldn't be too bad.:-) The nutritional information says 2.9 grams of fat per brownie.

Big Finn - If we all spontaneously combust you'll be the first to know.

Sandra - Yes, probably something you would enjoy. I've had those pastries and buns with sweet been paste and loved them.

melusina - Super easy - pureeing the beans is the hardest part. After that you just dump everything into a bowl and stir. But yeah, I've read about your husband's little problem so these might be dangerous. :-)

christina - We use beans quite a lot- they're so versatile. I can't tell you the number of foods my husband had never tried when I met him. He's a changed man now.

lilian - Thanks! You should definitely try them.

Antipo - No gastrointestinal distress noted. It's only a cup of beans so there may be two or three in every brownie. We should publish an expat cookbook with recipes stolen from all over the world. :-)

Dixie - Yes! And fiber is SO good for us, right? If you ate the whole pan you'd get your recommended daily amount for sure. :-)

wandering woman - Well aren't you sweet! That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me in a long time.

karen - No, you can't really taste anything. Kidney beans are a bit sweet as it is, so they kind of blend right in. They make the texture a tiny bit mealier than a normal brownie, though.

Betsy - I thought about flushing 'em, but Mr. M has kept his promise and had been eating them non-stop, taking them to work in his lunch and torturing his poor colleagues.

Sal! - " let's eat brownies for every meal!" I think even non-Americans may be familiar with that song.

At June 29, 2006 1:40 p.m., Blogger EuroTrippen said...

Beans, huh? I remember when pot was the only secret ingredient in brownies...

At June 29, 2006 4:33 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Eurotrippen - "I remember when pot was the only secret ingredient in brownies..."

So do I, dear, so do I (but I swear I never indulged):-)

At June 29, 2006 6:13 p.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

Hmmmm.....might give that recipe a try. Haven't baked anything in my new place yet.

At June 29, 2006 6:28 p.m., Anonymous Elle said...

You have GOT to be kidding me. And how do you explain the "music" that comes from eating a plate of these? Wait a minute... I could bake some for the candy junkies at Evil Stepfather's© office and sit back and wait for the results! It's perfect! Thank you! :D

At June 29, 2006 10:01 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

Is it scary that I was singing the song before I saw Sal's comment? (It's good to be American, I guess.)

I have heard of subbing applesauce in baked goods, but never beans. I don't know if I'm brave enough...

It's scary to think of what revelations my fiance might have for me in 16 years!

...and lol at eurotrippen!

At June 30, 2006 7:34 a.m., Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

I have to say when I hear bean browines, I turned my nose up. But after seeing the picture.... well they look wonderful!


At June 30, 2006 5:20 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...


At July 02, 2006 11:08 p.m., Anonymous tobias said...

Dreaming of beans? That is big time scary. But do you have an equally disturbing old dream to match his...?
This is a MOST entertaining blog, I must say. I will be back... :)

At March 04, 2007 8:00 p.m., Blogger Lizzi said...

THANK YOU for posting the romano bean brownie recipe - I made these about 12 years ago and then lost the recipe - I've been looking for it on and off since.


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