The summer Olympics have me dreaming of a bucket list trip to Brazil, and because my dreams usually feature food, I'm also hankering for some black beans made in my incredibly heavy stone bean pot a dear friend lugged back from his Brazilian vacation years ago.
Note: If you ever have a friend kind enough to bring you a heavy stone pot from Brazil for bean-braising, do it. It may have weighed enough to create all sorts of travel havoc for my friend and his suitcase, but this pot works true miracles on the humble dried bean.
Black beans are an inexpensive, versatile little bundle of protein, fiber and carbs. I love to cook up batches of beans and then divvy them up into baggies to keep in the freezer, ready for a quick thaw for recipes.
And I add black beans to almost anything for a little nutritional boost (chocolate smoothies, brownies, pasta dishes or soups).
This week, I'm adding black beans to an American summer classic: potato salad. And just like America, this version is a true melting pot of cultures coming together in glorious harmony.
Black beans are paired with American-grown sweet potatoes (the orange variety that is often called — erroneously — "yams" at the supermarket), a red wine vinegar and red onion vinaigrette that reminds me of my German grandmother's potato salads growing up, and a touch of smoky mayo-based dressing that is so common here in the United States. This potato salad just works. Kind of like the Olympics.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."