Thursday, April 10, 2014

Week 15: Anasazi Beans

A (vaguely) familiar bean! I know I've cooked them in the past, and they have an interesting history, but past that, I couldn't remember anything about them. They turned out to be mealy with a slight sweet flavor, and cooked much faster than many of the beans I've tried this year (although the soaking overnight significantly helps in that regard, and I actually remembered this time!). Of course I forgot my quarter in my pre-soak picture...

I did manage to snap a picture, complete with reference, after soak, but since I'm holding the quarter, well...

...whatever, these beans are roughly the shape/size of a pinto bean. They also worked nicely in the following recipe, which is nearly identical to the inspiring recipe...

Vegetarian Charro Beans
  • 1 pound Anasazi Beans, rinsed, sorted, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, tips trimmed, otherwise whole
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Combine all ingredients, except salt, and cover in ~2 inches of water.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down heat and boil until beans are soft (~1-2 hours, depending on whether you soak the beans overnight beforehand). 

  • Wonderful as a side, by themselves.
  • Wonderful served over rice.
  • I plan to refry some of them, as the flavors will lend themselves brilliantly to refried beans.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Week 14: Small Red Beans

I am actually posting the same week I made something! Spring must be in the air for me to have caught up!

This week I grabbed "small red beans" from my box of future deliciousness, in the basement. Sadly, I only have snapped a couple pictures, and none of the finished product. I'll try to update that when I serve more of them.

The recipe I used as the basis was picked after searching through a myriad of red beans and rice recipes online. I can't say this was the tastiest looking recipe, but not only did it have ingredients I already had in the house (or at least was tweak-able to be the case), it wasn't vegetarian (a concession to my husband, after weeks of not cooking meat).

Red Beans and Rice
  • 1 pound small red beans, dried
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes & green chilies (such as Rotel)
  • 1 pound diced chicken sausage
  • 1 cup diced, cooked chicken
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (helps with acidity/bitterness of tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Sort, rinse and drain dried beans. Cover by ~1inch water in a deep pot. Add diced tomatoes, Rotel, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer.
  • Saute chopped onions and garlic in oil, over medium heat, until soft. Add chopped chicken sausage and saute until warmed through. Add to bean pot.
  • Simmer over low heat until beans are soft, 2-3 hours.
  • Serve over cooked rice.
  • Significantly better after ~24-48 hours, as the flavors blend.

Apologies again for the lack of pictures. I guess I can't both get the post out the week of cooking AND get pictures taken :)

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 13: Dapple Grey Beans

When I pulled the Dapple Grey Beans out of my box of beans in the basement, I hadn't done a search online for recipe inspiration yet. And then I did. There's next to none. So, I decided to simply cook the beans on the day I had more home-time, and figure out what to do with them later.

Not having a specific plan, I plainly cooked them. First, washing and sorting (sadly, I forgot to soak them the night before), then putting them in a deep pot, covering them with a couple inches of water. I brought them to a boil over medium heat and then lowered and let them simmer for ~1.5 hours, until soft. I took them off the heat, added ~1 teaspoons of salt and let them sit ~10-15 minutes. Finally, I drained them, reserving ~cup cooking liquid, just in case.

The cooled Dapple Greys were good. Roughly pinto bean size, but nutty with a greater depth of flavor than pintos; a meaty texture. I tried to think how to use them. They would hold up brilliantly to any recipe using canned pintos, and could take stronger flavors than many beans, without getting 'lost'. Still, I had no idea what to make with them.

I finally reached out to my brother & sister-in-law, who are bean cooking experts. They suggested pesto (since the beans could stand up to strong flavors). I never would have come up with that, which is why I consider them the bean experts!

With my brother, Andy's, and sister-in-law, Valerie's, inspiration, I ended up throwing together a watercress/pine nut pesto (since I already had the ingredients), and viola! Below is what I came up with...

Watercress Pesto with Dapple Grey Beans 
  • Half of 1 pound dry Dapple Grey Beans, cooked, ~1 cup cooking liquid reserved
  • 4 ounces watercress, rinsed, shaken dry
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste
  • Cook beans (as seen above)
  • Use food processor to blend watercress, peeled garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, oil and salt until pasty in texture.
  • Add ~1/4 cup resulting pesto to half of the pound of cooked beans.

  • Wonderful served over rice.
  • Significantly better after ~48 hours, as the flavors blend.
  • The pesto is great baked on focaccia bread, too (there's roughly 1 cup pesto, so 2-3 more meals worth). 
  • The pesto was phenomenal, but likely would have been even better with parmesan as an ingredient...however, since I'm dairy-free for my highly-sensitive nursling, I omitted and it was still the best pesto I've ever made.

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Week 12: Cranberry Beans

Catching up... last week's bean was Cranberry Beans.  Similar to pinto beans, but more bland. So bland than when I took a portion of the cooked beans and mashed them and made a small portion of "refries", they were utterly tasteless. That being said, in the below dish, they weren't bad. Just a super bland version of pinto beans. Consequently, going forward I'd simply use pintos (or cannellini or the flageolet beans from week 10, or the Dapple Grey that are on the stove right now, for week 13) for a recipe such as this one..

I actually remembered to soak these, overnight (after sorting and rinsing)!  

It's possible the original recipe would have been better (I omitted the oil and vinegar). Overall, I think a more flavorful bean would have made this significantly better. That being said it was good, and a wonderful New England early-spring dish, just the Cranberry Beans were so bland, I think a different bean would make it great.

Beans on Toast

  • 1 pound dried cranberry beans (or cannellini)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped 
  • 1 small potato, peeled and halved 
  • 4 grape tomatoes
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

    • Sort, rinse and soak beans overnight. Rinse the next morning.
    • Add drained/soaked beans to a pot with thyme, bay leaves, dried rosemary, unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, potato and grape tomatoes. Cover by ~2" in water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until soft (~1 hour, give or take).
    • Once cooked, drain liquid, reserving enough to cover roughly halfway up the beans when added back.
    • Remove garlic, potato, grape tomatoes, thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
    • Squeeze garlic out of their skins and pinch off tomato skins. Mash the potato, garlic and tomatoes together, seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Add back to the beans, along with liquid to cover halfway up the beans. Mix and warm.
    • Serve over toast, garnished with parsley.


    The original recipe called for sourdough bread, but I used "High Five" from Great Harvest Bread Company, partially because I thought the beans needed a more substantial bread to compliment them, and partially because I LOVE the great taste/all natural ingredients of bread from Great Harvest.

    I didn't get a picture after garnished with the parsley. It needed the boost of flavor.

    Have a great week!

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Week 11: Canary / Peruvian / Peruano / Mayocoba Beans

    And I'm (quite belated) once again. This "bean of many names" was a few weeks ago now.  It was not an exceptional bean, in and of itself. I actually used part of it to mash & make refried beans, as it seemed so similar to a more bland pinto bean in taste and texture. That being said, it's blandness did pick up the flavor of the curry, delightfully. In short, I won't be buying the bean again, but it was a fine dish. I found the original here, but, as usual, tweaked.

    Curried Coconut Canary Beans
    • 1 pound Canary (Peruvian/Peruano/Mayocoba) Beans, sorted and rinsed
    • 1 can coconut milk
    • 1 teaspoon oil
    • 1 fresh jalapeno
    • 1 large red onion, chopped
    • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
    • 1 Tablespoon cumin (or to taste)
    • salt, to taste

    1. Place sorted and rinsed Canary Beans in large pot and cover with water.
    2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    3. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender (~1-2 hours, depending if you soaked them overnight ahead of time).
    4. Once fully cooked, drain beans, reserving ~1 cup of cooking liquid.
    5. Warm oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chopped onion, garlic, jalapeno and ginger for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
    6. Add spices and salt, cook 1-2 minutes.
    7. Add cooked beans and small amount of reserved cooking liquid (adding to get the consistency desired).
    8. Cook ~20-30 minutes, or until flavors begin to blend.
    • Serve over rice.  
    • Will be better after 24-48 hours.

    It wasn't pretty, but after a couple days was yummy!

    Have a great week
    (hopefully I'll catch up on belated posts in a few days though)!

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    Week 10: Flageolet Beans

    So I didn't manage to get this posted last week, but does it count that we ate it last week? This week I again grabbed whatever bag my hand landed on in my box from North Bay... and viola! Flageolet Beans. Which are French. So the whole "viola!" really felt appropriate.

    Since these are French beans, I decided to make something French with them. A dish I always wanted to enjoy, but was always put off by the copious amounts of meat in it is Cassoulet. It's a rich, slow-cooked bean stew with more types of meat than I can count. So I was delighted with this healthier version I found from a 2008 Gourmet magazine recipe.

    I once again forgot to soak the beans, overnight, so I sorted, rinsed and cooked them directly.  I covered them in water and boiled ~2 hours, until soft.  I took them off the heat, added salt and let them sit ~15 minutes.  Meanwhile, I started on the vegetable portion of the soup...

    Shockingly, I actually followed the recipe.  And I could not be more pleased that I did.  The beans are what I think Navy Beans should taste like (but have always been disappointed by).  They're dense, strong with a nice earthy flavor...perfect for this dish...

    Vegetarian Cassoulet
    Gourmet Magazine, March 2008 

        For Cassoulet:
    • 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
    • 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
    • 3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1/4 cup olive oil  2 Tablespoons oil
    • 4 thyme sprigs
    • 2 parsley sprigs
    • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 3 (19-oz) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained 1lb cooked Flageolet Beans
    • 1 qt water
        For Garlic Crumbs:
    • 4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
    • 1/3 cup olive oil 2 Tablespoons oil of your choice
    • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
      • Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well (see cooks’ note, below) and pat dry.
      • Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans, then water, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
        • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
        • Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated. Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
        • Cool crumbs in pan, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.
            • Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.


            Superb, hearty and a wonderful late-winter dish!

            Have a great week!

            Monday, March 3, 2014

            Week 9: Pink Beans

            So coming off of my harried week, it was school vacation week!  Our weather was cold, but beautiful, so we were having fun each day (hence why I, once again, didn't get the week's bean posted).

            When I picked the bean for the week, I reached into my box and grabbed what my hand landed on, which was... Pink Beans!  

            I've made pink beans before, many years ago.  They are vaguely similar to pinto beans and are popular in refried beans and chili.  I was craving coconut lime rice, so I went for a Caribbean feel.  

            I forgot to soak the beans, overnight, so I sorted, rinsed and cooked them directly.  I covered them in water and boiled ~2 hours, until soft.  I took them off the heat, added salt and let them sit ~15 minutes, and then drained them.

            Then, the rest I made up as I went along...

            Caribbean Rice, Beans and (optional) Sausage 

            • 2 cups rice (I use jasmine rice from Trader Joe's)
            • 15 oz can coconut milk
            • 2 Tablespoons lime juice 
            • ~1 teaspoon salt

            • cooked, well-drained, Pink Beans (cooked plainly, see above)

            • 1 package chicken sausage, to taste
            • 1 medium red onion
            • 5-6 oz arugula
            • salt, to taste
            1. Cook rice with coconut milk, lime juice and salt (I use a rice cooker to make it easy).
            2. If making a non-vegetarian version, you can... chop onion and cook until beginning to soften.
            3. Add cut-up chicken sausage and cook until warm.
            4. Add arugula and cook until beginning to wilt.
            5. Salt to taste.
            6. Serve rice, topped with beans and served with pepper sauce for a vegetarian version.
            7. Add sausage on top for a non-vegetarian version.

            • Not bad, but I would have tried to make refried beans with the pink beans if I had tried this first.

            Have a great week!

            Week 8: Canned Fava beans

            Some weeks get away from you.  Or two, as the case may be!

            Week 8 was a rough week here.  With my husband in sunny California, and us getting hit with two plowable snow storms during his absence, there wasn't a ton of time to focus on cooking, and certainly not posting!  So, this is behind...  I contemplated not posting at all.  Then I realized, this is exactly the kind of thing I should document.  A week of making do with what was on hand.  And so, I present my thrown together bean meal for two weeks ago...

            Quinoa Salad with Canned Fava Beans

            • 15 oz can Fava Beans
            • English Cucumber, ~half 
            • Grape Tomatoes, ~dozen 
            • Arugula, 5-6 oz
            • 1 cup dry quinoa, 
            • salt, to taste

            1. While prepping the rest of the salad, cook one cup of dry quinoa in 2.25 cups water (salt to taste) in a rice cooker.  I know there are other ways to cook quinoa, but this is the way I cook it.
            2. Chop cucumber and grape tomatoes. 
            3. When quinoa cooked and cooled, mix together with chopped cucumber, tomatoes, arugula and rinsed can of fava beans. 
            4. Salt to taste.
            I ate this for several meals (since my husband was away and there was lots of snow to manage) over salad greens, with olives.  It was quick, nutritious, and delicious.

            Have a great week!

            Friday, February 14, 2014

            Week 7: Corona Beans (Sweet White Runner Beans)

            Corona Beans.  Wow.  I may have a new favorite bean.

            My cousin, Bria, asked if I'd tried Corona Beans.  Not only had I never tried them before, but I searched among the beans I'd ordered and I didn't have them.  A quick trip to quickly changed this.

            Sadly, I forgot to snap a picture of them before I soaked them.  But here they are post over-night soak...

            For the recipe I intended to model dinner after, I needed plainly cooked beans.  After draining them from soaking overnight, I placed them in a pot, covered with a couple inches of water, brought to a boil and then lowered heat to a simmer.  After a couple hours, most of the water was cooked out and the beans were a delightful creamy texture. I took them off the heat, added ~1 teaspoons of salt and let them sit ~10-15 minutes.  Since most of the water was cooked out, I didn't need to drain them...

            The recipe I was modeling after was also the recipe my cousin, Bria, recommended.  It can be found here, as part of Cookbooks 101.  Since proper preparation of kale is something I find hard to manage with four small children, I used a package of pre-prepped "Baby Kale", which was exactly the time saver I needed.  Incidentally, I also found a very similar recipe (but without the beans) inside the package...

            In the end, I created a hybrid of the two recipes...

            Pan-Fried Corona Beans with Baby Kale

            • 12 oz cooked Corona Beans
            • 11 oz pre-packaged "Baby Kale" (or equivalent washed/stemmed kale)
            • 5 cloves garlic
            • oil for frying (olive or your choice)
            • salt, to taste

            1. Cook your Corona Beans (see above)
            2. Warm a skillet with oil.  Add beans in a single layer.  Cook 3-4 minutes then turn/stir to other side and cook 3-4 minutes more (beans will be slightly crispy).  (The 12 oz took two 12" skillet batches to fry.) Remove beans to side.
            3. Meanwhile, crush garlic cloves.
            4. Add another thin coating of oil to pan (or use another pan).  Once the pan is warm, add garlic for ~30-45 seconds.
            5. Add the entire 11oz of baby kale.  Cook until wilted.
            6. Add beans back to kale and mix, thoroughly. 
            7. Salt to taste.
            • Serves beautifully over rice.

            Pan-frying the two batches of Corona Beans...

            Wilting the kale with the garlic...

            Add the pan-fried beans to the kale... 

            Ready to serve... 

            Plated with rice...

            This was superb.  I will be placing an order for more Corona Beans this week.  I can no longer imagine not having them in my pantry.  This was one of the best dishes I've made in ages.  While I greatly enjoyed the Christmas Lima Beans from Week 3, this, I believe, is my new favorite bean!

            Have a great week!

            Wednesday, February 5, 2014

            Week 6: Marrow Beans

            I took advantage of a delightful snow day to choose one of the beans I ordered from North Bay Trading Company for this week!  I have so many wonderful options in my box, I went with what my hand landed on...Marrow Beans.  Supposedly the fame of this particular bean is it tastes like bacon...I asked my husband if that was true and he said not so much, but they are tasty!

            There were no particular recipes I found that spoke to me for Marrow Beans, so I sorted, soaked, and boiled them.  

            They start out fairly small...

            But plump up after soaking...

            And, as expected, even more so after cooking...

            Similar to when I made the Christmas Lima Beans in Week 3, I was not entirely certain what I was going to make with them yet, I decided to cook them plainly...after draining them from soaking overnight, I placed them in a pot, covered with a couple inches of water.  Brought them to a boil, then lowered the heat and they simmered ~2 hours, until soft.  I took them off the heat, added ~2 teaspoons of salt and let them sit ~10-15 minutes.  Finally, I drained them (reserving the liquid, as it was quite idea what will become of it yet).

            After searching the internet for ideas, I went with simple.  It was not amazing, but I have some ideas that will make leftovers better.

            Pasta, Marrow Beans & Arugula 

            • 12 oz cooked, drained pasta (I used cavatappi)
            • 3 cups cooked, well-drained, Christmas Lima Beans
            • 10-12 cloves garlic 
            • 1 teaspoon oil
            • Zima yellow grape tomatoes 
            • 4 oz fresh arugula
            • salt, to taste

            1. Cook pasta according to instructions on packaging. Set aside.
            2. Cook your Marrow Beans, plainly (see above)
            3. Peel and thinly slice garlic. 
            4. Warm oil in pot.  When warm, add sliced garlic and cook ~2-3 minutes.
            5. Add Marrow Beans and cook ~3-5 minutes.
            6. Add pasta, arugula and tomatoes.  Cook ~2 minutes.
            7. Salt to taste.

            • Needs lemon juice cooked in...added between point 5 & 6, above.

            The beans were good, but not one I feel the need to rush to find again.  I prefer cannellini beans, personally.  But they're a creamier bean than I anticipated they'd be while cooking. 

            Have a great week!

            Wednesday, January 29, 2014

            Week 5: Canned Refried Beans, Cannellini, Black and Pinto Beans

            I love cooking towards specific holidays and events.  So, while no one here actually watches the Super Bowl (aside from the commercials that we DVR to watch later), it does feel like an appropriate time for chili!  My recipe is heavily adapted from the original Weight Watchers "Spicy Turkey-Bean Chili" in Simply The Best (page 144, 1997)

            I've made many chili recipes over the years.  I crave this one.  It's superb.  It can also be made vegan with Boca Crumbles... I simply sub Crumbles for the turkey, scale the Crumbles back and increase the beans...still superb!

            Ariella's Four-Bean Chili

            • PAM
            • 3 lbs lean ground turkey (or Boca Crumbles for a vegetarian version)
            • 2 large or 3 medium onions, chopped
            • 6-12 cloves garlic, minced, to taste
            • 1.5-2 Tablespoons ground cumin
            • 2 teaspoons chili powder
            • 1/4 + teaspoon cinnamon 
            • 3 bay leaves
            • ~1 Tablespoon salt (to taste)
            • 1+ Tablespoon(s) sugar
            • 1 15-oz can fat-free refried beans
            • 1 15-oz can pinto beans
            • 1 15-oz can black beans
            • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans
            • 2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies
            • 1 8-oz can tomato paste
            • 3 15-oz cans diced stewed tomatoes

            1. Heat large dutch oven over medium heat.  Once warm, cover bottom of pot with PAM.  Add chopped onions, ground turkey (or Crumbles), minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, bay leaves and salt.  Cook, stirring as needed, until turkey is cooked through.
            2. Add refried beans and tomato paste.  Mix thoroughly.
            3. Add tomatoes, beans and chilies; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring as needed, until flavors are well blended, ~1 hour.  Add sugar, to taste, once it has cooked a while, to get a better idea of how much to add.
            4. Will be tastier after 24-48 hours.
            5. Serve over rice or cole slaw, with a side of cornbread.  This is also delightful over a baked potato!

            Have a great week!