Thursday, 18 September 2008

A bloody tale of burritos and beans

I made burritos last weekend and they had more than their fair share of drama. There was blood. There was a dizzy spell. And there was love.

It started innocently enough with a request for burritos from E. I obliged by hunting out a recipe for Burritos with Spinach, Artichokes, Barbecued Red Bell Pepper and Fetta Cheese from my Complete Vegetarian Barbecue Cookbook. But I felt incapable of following this recipe and followed my own whims. Admittedly I didn’t have much energy for multi-tasking and kept forgetting I was roasting, boiling or frying things.

But it was when the end was in sight that I really lost my concentration. I just had to open a can of beans and toss them into the mix but in my rush I got my thumb caught between the jagged edge of the tin and the inside of the tin. Ouch! E was chatting away to my dad on the phone and I was yelling at him to get off the phone – now!

Once I managed to extract my thumb it kept bleeding and so we headed off to the bathroom for dettol antiseptic, bandages to soak up the blood and a dizzy moment sitting on the edge of the bath. Thankfully we weren’t expecting guests like last time I did this and the bleeding eased up. But I was a bit shaken as I am not good with blood (it’s no coincidence that I am vegetarian and usually keep blood away from my dinner)! I am sure many fellow food bloggers have their minor dramas in the kitchen like this (although one of my silliest scars is from trying to chop up a Christmas tree for the bin with a carving knife – never again!)

It is times like this I am especially grateful to have E about. Regular readers will know that my partner E doesn’t cook. But he can rise to the occasion when I need him. Under my instruction he assembled the burritos. He might have felt all thumbs but I wouldn’t have minded the use of mine. I did manage to take a dodgy photo to prove he really can do it when he needs to. And he still did the dishes! Now that is love!

It was a bit of a relief to sit down and eat the burritos after all the drama. They were lovely and surprisingly filling. One and a half each was too much. In an ideal world I would have served them with avocado or a simple guacamole but didn’t get myself organised to get a ripe avocado. So we had yoghurt and some tomato salsa.

My thumb was not as bad as it felt and looked at first. But I made a salad with beetroot the next day and got beetroot juice in the cut which has made sure it looks quite impressive.

I have tweaked the recipe to serve 6 but if your household is small like ours you might want to just serve 2 or 3 and be creative with the remaining filling and tortillas. I used the remaining filling for stuffing zucchinis – more about that later. My leftover tortillas were used for cheese and banana burritos which were interesting but not quite blogworthy (maybe another time).

I feel I should learn from this experience. It is yet another reason that tinned beans aren’t necessarily better and that I should get myself organised to soak and simmer the dried stuff. However, Lucy of Nourish Me doesn’t mind how I cook my beans. She is requesting leguminous dishes for My Legume Love Affair which she is hosting this month (deadline 28 September). So I am sending these burritos to her for the event which was started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Spinach, pumpkin and bean burritos
Serves 6

400g butternut pumpkin (half a small one)
Olive oil for roasting and frying (or oil from marinated artichokes)
⅓ cup long grain white rice (I used basmati)
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 mild green chilli, finely chopped
Zest and juice of ½ a lime
Pinch salt
150g baby spinach, roughly chopped
170g jar of artichokes, drained and chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup grated tasty cheese**
400g tin of cannelini beans, drained
6 large tortillas*
Plain yoghurt** and/or guacamole to serve

* To make gluten free use corn tortillas
** To make vegan omit cheese and yoghurt or use soy cheese and soy yoghurt

Peel, deseed and chop pumpkin. Toss with drizzle of olive oil and seasoning in a roasting dish. Roast in 200 C oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft and cooked.

Cook rice in boiling water for about 12 minutes or til cooked. Drain.

Make salsa by mixing ¼ of the red onion, ½ chilli, 1 clove of garlic, juice of lime, salt and tomatoes in a small bowl. Set aside.

Fry remainder of red onion in large non stick frypan in about 1 tsp of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add 1 clove garlic and baby spinach and fry about 2 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt. Stir in artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, lime zest, cheese, beans, roast pumpkin and rice til all combined.

Divide the mixture between tortillas and fold over four edges of each tortilla to make an envelope that will encase mixture. Place in lightly greased roasting dish seam side down and cover with foil. Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes. (Or cook under the grill or on a frypan til lightly browned). Serve with salsa and yoghurt and/or guacamole.

On the Stereo:
Ultra-Lounge / Tiki Sampler – Various Artists


  1. Hi Johanna! I still read your blog weekly, even though I have been very lax in posting lately, and I am trying to go vegetarian a couple of times a week, despite my hubby's "uh's". This sounds like a great burrito as I can add lots of hot peppers to his and that should make him a happy camper!
    Keep up the good work and I enjoy your writing!

  2. Oh dear. I too have had my fair share of kitchen accidents but am lucky enough not to be fazed by blood. Getting a chilli seed stuck in my eye though... That was awful!

  3. Ouch! I feel for you. Thumb cuts always seem to get caught in things and take forever to heal.

  4. That's right - I don't mind one bit how your beans are cooked!

    So long as there's no blood in them! Poor thumb!!! I mandolined the top of my index finger off not so long ago, in the midst of cooking for guests - but I can't imagine how horrible a jagged tin edge would feel...

    And I am particularly honoured to receive an entry involving a guest cook - go, E!

    Thanks for your beautiful entry, Johanna.

  5. Poor you! I once tried to cut the top off a can of oil (I was young and foolish) and the knife slipped and almost went through my index finger--yowsah--so I can empathize. Hope the thumb is better!

    Glad to see that E helped out and assembled these yummy-looking burritos. I love the idea of pumpkin in there!

  6. hi deb - nice to hear from you - that is great that you are making an effort to eat more vegetarian - you are right that this dish could have lots more chilli peppers in this meal - glad you are still enjoying other blogs even if you aren't getting to post as much as you might like

    thanks Wendy - that chilli seed sounds painful - I mostly wear gloves to chop chillis because I tend to wipe my eyes without thinking and that is painful enough

    thanks Nathalie - cuts on fingers and thumbs always seem to happen on the most awkward places that no bandaid will stick but everything else will get in there

    thanks Lucy - E was chuffed to be called a guest cook - the mandolin cut sounds terrible - esp with guests coming - hope it didn't get in your dinner

    thanks Ricki - I have learnt the hard way too that knives can slip in the worst ways - but doesn't it seem like a good idea at the time? I liked the idea of pumpkin - it seems such a natural pairing with spinach!

  7. You poor thing! I hope you're healing ok. The burrito sounds very tasty indeed - I hope it made up for all the bleeding!

  8. I'm not good with blood, either, but am far worse with burns. They hurt so much more than a simple cut.

    Hope you are healing rapidly. A nice and nutritious home-cooked meal of burritos should help. : )

  9. Thanks Lysy - nothing like burritos to restore the strength!

    thanks Susan - I am probably fortunate to have had more cuts than burns as I think you are right about burns but don't have enough experience to know - my thumb is much better thanks!

  10. so sorry to hear tat, johanna. hope all's fine with your digits now.


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