One-pot black bean dip (recipe at the bottom)
I’ve mentioned this before but my last two years in college, I lived in a housing cooperative with about 13 other students. We had a massive kitchen — industrial-sized stove, a three-part sink, walk-in pantry, a huge island counter in the middle — and it was pretty common for five or six of us to be in there making food at the same time. This is a slight variation on a dish introduced to me by my old housemate Rachel, and I don’t even know how many times I cooked it when we lived together. It’s delicious and so easy to make, and it gets eaten SO quickly.
I’m lucky that my apartment in Brooklyn has a pretty huge kitchen (thank you, converted warehouse lofts!), but that’s definitely not the case for many of my friends in the city. Even though I’ve made this dish over and over in a kitchen big enough to fit the whole Duggar family, the beauty in it is that it’s all done in one pot and with very little equipment, so it’s perfect for even the least-experienced cooks and in the tiniest of kitchens.
This recipe is mostly inspired by a lyric in the song “Cook For You” by Clare & the Reasons, but I threw in a few other songs that have something to do with kitchens.
Clare & the Reasons, “Cook For You”
This is a super-sweet love song that starts off with a line that instantly makes me think of the quirks that come with living in a cozy city apartment with a tiny kitchen: “I like to cook for you in my underwear/ ‘Cause our kitchen points to a wall.”
Theresa Andersson, “Na Na Na”
“Na Na Na” itself actually has nothing to do with kitchens, but it’s here because it was recorded in one! I believe Andersson recorded most of her Hummingbird, Go! album in her modest-sized New Orleans kitchen, and the video of her playing this song there is awesome.
Those Darlins, “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy”
The badass Tennessee gals Those Darlins didn’t write this song (I don’t think anyone knows who did?) but their take on it is awesome.
Allo Darlin’, “Heartbeat Chilli”
I’ve already used this in a post, but it’s super sweet and part of it is about falling in love in the kitchen while making chili. It’s adorable.
This recipe is doubled from the original because it gets eaten so fast that it’s silly to make only one batch. (I made it recently for a taco night with about 10-15 friends and it was almost totally gone — along with an eight-avocado bowl of guac, almost two pounds of fish, ground beef, three bags of tortilla chips, tostada shells, and cupcakes.) The dip is obviously great with tortilla chips, but it can totally be eaten on its own as a salad, too. I also love it served with over-easy eggs and a few slices of avocado.
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 c onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c tomato, diced (about 1 medium tomato)
2/3 c salsa (use your judgment on the heat; I used a medium three-pepper salsa from Whole Foods)
1 tsp chili powder
2 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c shredded cheese of your choosing (can be left out to make the dish vegan)
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 c corn (I used frozen), drained
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
This can be done in a pretty medium-to-large skillet or in a pot.
• Heat oil; add onion and garlic and saute until tender.
• Add tomato, salsa, chili powder and black beans and cook for a few minutes, until thick.
• Remove from heat. Mash with a fork or potato masher (optional).
• Add cheese, cilantro, corn and lime juice and stir until the cheese is melted. Serve warm or at room temperature (although I think it’s just fine cold, too!).