beans, beans, (beans) and beans

March 17th, 2009 · 34 Comments

i eat a lot of beans. i didn’t used to. but rancho gordo changed all that. i know, you’ve heard it before. but RG has radically altered my personal food pyramid and now, well – i eat a lot of beans…

so in the past two weeks, i’ve made three big pots of very different bean stews and all of them were quite good. but being that this is my every day kind of food, i don’t always write about such lunches and dinners. but there i was, home with no car and a new puppy – and so i took a few shots anyway – and now i’ve decided that as a trio it all makes for a solid post. and so i present to you a virtual hill of beans…

but – being that my memory is only so acute, i may have forgotten a thing or two about the first dish. and in all fairness, that one isn’t even a bean dish. it’s lentils and orzo. and i am not lying when i tell you that i’ve no earthly idea what went into that one. except the green lentils and the last of a container of whole wheat orzo. and carrots and onions. oh, and chicken stock. and i vaguely remember a healthy dose of my sicilian oregano going in there… but ok, really. now i am clueless. except to say that it was damn good food and even better with an egg on top.

oh dear, i just remembered this one too…

these were some leftover christmas lima beans from something or another, way back when, and this was lunch one of those days and it was just so pretty i couldn’t resist taking a picture. a typical lunch in the life of claudia young. now you have it. more beans. and arugula, which i love almost as much as i love beans, if not more. depending when you might ask…

bean dish #2 was actually really fun to make. i had no idea what i was going for, and i just kind of let each ingredient added determine the next in line. at one point i realized i’d better write down what i was doing – and it looked a little bit like this:

brown tepiary beans
whole garlic cloves
bay leaves
chopped shallots
lots of fresh thyme
a heaping spoonful of pimenton
a can of san marzano tomatoes
collard greens
white rice
crushed chili pepper
one fat anchovy
a lot of balsamic vinegar
3 cups of brown veal stock

all served up in a bowl with a healthy pour of some wonderful grassy green olive oil floating on top. and of course, the obligatory fried egg…

somehow there’s no picture except for this, the final addition of the veal stock, which i kind of got a kick out of. being that it was an afterthought, i grabbed some of my stock from the freezer, peeled off the bag and stuck it into the middle of the pot like a meaty popsicle.


and then lastly, i had soaked some calypso beans and had a few sweet potatoes laying around so i decided to get crazy, veer from the italian and go all carribean. which was an interesting study being that i know nothing about that genre of cooking. BUT by god, i’m a googling fool and after punching in "carribean bean and sweet potato stew", my next ingredients were:

bay leaves
chopped onion
chopped celery
frozen spinach
chili flakes
AND (just because)
this very italian
mugolio pine syrup – i could have used brown sugar but i had this and well, on a whim in it went. i had recently bought it, tried it and was a little unsure of how i would ever use it. i love market hall foods but this particular product didn’t have quite the kick i had hoped for. in all fairness it’s just as they describe – a honey like syrup with pine overtones. whereas i was thinking more pine in the forefront.

served over a nutty brown rive, everyone really loved this. it was unlike what i usually do – which was a nice change.

i suppose the beauty of this food is that it is supremely healthy and i always use whatever is in my cupboard and the draws of my fridge. i never go to the market to shop for my next pot of beans. they just become whatever they were meant to be on that day.

oh, and did i mention the cannellini’s that are soaking in my kitchen right now?

Tags: beans · greens · soup

34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sara // Mar 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I love beans too, rancho gordos are great. Most recently I cooked up some gigantes imported from Greece. Delicious!

  • 2 Heather // Mar 17, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I try to grow my own RG-type beans. They take up a lot of room! The egg on your salad was in the shape of a heart. I can tell you love that salad.

  • 3 kitchengeeking // Mar 17, 2009 at 11:51 am

    beans…mmmmmm. i lurve them too. dried beans, canned beans, fresh beans. half-runner green beans cooked for hours with onions. five kinds of beans with peppers, cilantro, onion, cumin, and lime juice in the summertime. cassoulet with rabbit, and duck, and pork in the wintertime. MMMMMMMMM.

    and you put an egg on top of one.

    man, you’re pretty much my favorite-ist right now.

  • 4 lisaiscooking // Mar 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I could live on mostly beans for a good long while. Was the pine syrup too much pine, not enough or just different than you expected? Can’t wait to see the cannellini creation.

  • 5 The Italian Dish // Mar 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I always buy beans from Rancho Gordo. In fact, I just posted about them over at The Daily Colander. They are just such a great meat substitute. And we are trying to eat less meat in my household. Interesting about the pine syrup – that’ s a new one for me – I had never heard of it.

  • 6 Lesley // Mar 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I cooked up the goat-eye beans yesterday. Ate them with some roasted butternut squash and steamed broccoli. Very simple and very good. Yay RG beans!

  • 7 cookiecrumb // Mar 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Beans, beans, the glorious legume.
    The more you eat, the more you consume.

  • 8 Jennifer Hess // Mar 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Glorious. I need to break out the Christmas limas now.

    RG is great, of course, but I’m delighted that we can get dried beans from Maine at our local farmers’ market, too.

    Man, I love beans.

  • 9 Brooke // Mar 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Mmm, beans. Sounds like what I’m doing, ‘cept I have a bean-eating curfew.

    Could the pine syrup be used in some kind of earthy dessert-ey thing? Make Brittany think on that one. She’ll come up with a use for you.

  • 10 Melissa // Mar 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I have you and Jennifer to thank for getting me to buy RGs originally (I’m pretty sure). They’re still the best. I have two bags of black right now and I’m trying to save them until I am absolutely sure about the recipes I want to make with them because black are my FAVORITE beans. Anyway.

    I love your soups, stews and bean meanderings. I’m especially amused at your veal-sicle.

  • 11 Brittany // Mar 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    …yeah- whats up with pine syrup? I’d like to dowse ice cream in that ….

    Okay. Enough fucking around. I need to hunt down rancho gordo beans.

  • 12 democommie // Mar 17, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Let’s see if this thing works from 50′ away.

  • 13 Vincent // Mar 17, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    new canape – calypso bean and sweet potato cake (with your spice blend), bay infused pork cheek ( i was gonna use belly but i ate it all…sue me), rosemary blossom, mugolio pine syrup, aged vinegar, pine nut shaving from frozen block.

    we’ll see. i’ll send you a pic!

  • 14 ntsc // Mar 18, 2009 at 4:54 am

    I certainly eat a lot more beans (to include lentils and peas) than I grew up with. I do a lot of sausage and the pork bones either end up in the center of a pot of soup or I make stock. One of the best soups came from the bone of a home dry cured ham.

    I saw you over on Hunter-Gardner and if you are interested in other charcuterie/offal sites I have several, including a Canadian pro who posts some recipes.

  • 15 Pam // Mar 18, 2009 at 5:20 am

    I love beans too. I have the Rancho Gordo bean cookbook and it has even more ideas, though you don’t seem to be needing any!

  • 16 noble pig // Mar 18, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I want the Gordo’s more than anything. I have to order some…you’ve pushed me over the edge!

  • 17 lo // Mar 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Rancho Gordo — seriously good food.
    And lately, the idea of a pot of beans can send me reeling with delight. Not sure why. But that tepiary bean pot (meat popsicle and all) is making me drool!

  • 18 Choosy Beggar Tina // Mar 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Growing up I always thought of beans as Poor Man’s Food. However, since we were poor that all kinda made sense….and now that I’m back to being poor again, I have redeveloped my proclivity for using all manner of legume.

    And pine syrup? I would like some. Your pantry fascinates me.

  • 19 Daniel // Mar 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I think a LOT of people will want to rethink any prejudices they might have towards bean and legumes with the economy as it is. They are healthy, really inexpensive and substituting legumes for meat puts less stress on the environment too.

    This is a great theme to run with. Thanks for sharing!

    Casual Kitchen

  • 20 we are never full // Mar 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    mmmm… meaty popsicle. delicious. LOL. sorry, keep your mind on the beans, amy… THE BEANS!

    only you could show a trio of bean dishes and make me actually want one. very proud of you for sticking to this excellent health kick!

  • 21 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Mar 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I really have to try this Rancho Gordo. I keep reading all of these great blogs about it. I’ve been trying to come up with more bean and egg recipes because I just get sick of making chicken all of the time.

  • 22 Pete // Mar 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Fabulous Glorious RG Beans !!!!!! I could not live without them! Great post. Great bean dishes. Sadly they are out of some of my favorites.

  • 23 Daily Food Blog Roundup: Beer, Beans, and Basketball - Young & Hungry - Washington City Paper // Mar 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    […] eat fret (which wins this week’s prize for best-named food blog) has been eating a lot of beans lately, which must have affected her memory. She can’t remember the recipes well. Does it all amount […]

  • 24 janelle // Mar 20, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Just found your site and am loving it! What isn’t better with an egg on top???

  • 25 Samantha // Mar 21, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Another fabulous post filled with cool ideas. I love ths blog. Heather is right, the egg is heart shaped which only proves just how much you love your eggs, right?

  • 26 maris // Mar 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    There are so many different dishes you can make with beans – all of these are such great ideas! And as always, your photos are wonderful.

  • 27 rachel // Mar 24, 2009 at 12:14 am

    This post is just great, inspiring in fact, making me want to cook up some beans right now.
    The beans you are cooking with are just beautiful, I love the mottled calypso beans and those christmas lima beans are wonderful. ‘They just become whatever they were meant to be on that day’ – my kind of cooking.

  • 28 Hillary // Mar 25, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    These are some great recipe ideas. I should really incorporate more beans into my diet.

  • 29 Jack // Mar 26, 2009 at 7:33 am

    I gotz to gitz me some of those beans from Rancho Gordo! I love beans of all kinds and those look so much better than anything commonly available in stores. Beans are such a staple food that many people seem to be lulled into thinking that the quality is negligible. Its not and we all need to be reminded so the demand for quality products like Rancho Gordo beans will increase. Ive never really thought about using sweet potatoes in a stew and didnt know such a thing as pine syrup existed. Your every day kind of food is pretty remarkable Claudia.

  • 30 goodfoodmatters // Mar 27, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Great and timely post!
    There’s an article online in the NYTimes today about Rancho Gordo that you will enjoy—

  • 31 michelle @ TNS // Mar 27, 2009 at 7:45 am

    i finally got off my ass and got some RG beans. okay, that’s a lie; an awesome reader bought them for me when i was having one of the Shitty Weeks. i’ve had them for some time now, and am too afraid to use them – they’ve been so talked up, i don’t want to fuck ’em up.

  • 32 nithya at hungrydesi // Apr 10, 2009 at 9:08 am

    you summed up nicely why i love beans! they are delicious with whatever i scrounge up in my pantry/fridge and healthy to boot. going to have to check out RG though. thanks!

  • 33 rebecca // Apr 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    mmmmmm RANCHO GORDO.

    sometimes i hate to talk them up because then they run out and i don’t get, say, eye of the goat or good mother stallard.

    to those who “save” them – i used to do that but now i have about 18 jars of RG beans on the shelf. any time i remember to put the beans to soak in the morning i make them later. the best refrieds i’ve ever had were leftover RG beans, they also are genius for the middle layer of an enchilada casserole. there’s no bad way to have them and as long as there is flat rate shipping you can stock up and buy christmas presents for the less than it would cost you to go to the farmers market.

    oops. what was i saying about not talking them up? hahahha. love them, love steve sando, love that they are heirloom.

    i’m planting some yellow eye any minute!

  • 34 denise (chez danisse) // Jun 6, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    3 fantastic options–love the diversity. I often find myself in a rut, adding olive oil, garlic, s&p to everything or it’s a run of coconut milk, fish sauce, curry paste… kudos to you for mixing it up. i am now bean inspired.

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