Thursday, December 10, 2020

Full of Beans

full of beans

phrase of bean


lively; in high spirits.

"she was laughing and shouting and generally full of beans"

Ok. That did not mean what I thought it meant, but I like this better!

Not just any beans... I am full of heirloom beans. Early in the start of pandemic, when some foods were hard to source, Leslie and I went down a fabulous rabbit hole, where we found beans, and corn, and even pinole. Wow. I need to back up further. Leslie is a really fun foodie friend. She shops the international markets. She brought us cheese making, and Persian cotton candy, Pashmak. And one night, around the campfires, I mentioned my fond memories of eating pinole, a toasted, ground corn treat that is served in different ways. I shared my lament that I have not had it since childhood, that my Abuela told me their's was from a particular and rare variety of corn. I waxed poetic about it's nutty flavor, and confessed that I went to great lengths to eat any quantity I could. (I hope my Tía Santos forgave me: With willful focus and intent, when I was about 11 years old, I sat in her kitchen, wearing her down with imploring eyes, and sheer determination, for a small serving of the pinole she was preparing. It was that good.) Later that same night, after our campfire visit, I got a text from Leslie. She found pinole, and even though it was after midnight, she and I were texting and shopping online. I fumbled in the dark for Geoff's wallet (mine was downstairs) and made my first pandemic therapy purchase... beans, popcorn, pinole, even a machacadora. It was thrilling.

I have a habit I am not happy about, usually, where I save things for "special occasions." Too often that means that things go unused. Just ask my children about the infamous You Are Special Plate. I have made pinole, and even champurrado. The machacadora is pretty, and useful for preparing refried beans. I loved the popcorn. I fixed the black beans, and those were good. But I kept waiting on the Cranberry Beans. Finally, yesterday, I determined not to wait any longer. Make those beans, already, I insisted. And so, I did. Oh my!

The dry beans seem rounder, yet smaller than pintos, maybe a more pale pink. I should do a side by side comparison, maybe. Maybe, I am overthinking this. They are pretty.

I rinsed the beans, then soaked them for about 2 hours. They're thin skinned, and were ready much sooner than I expected. I got out my soup pot, warmed it up and covered the bottom in olive oil. I grabbed a few green onions, sliced those and sauted them with one very small, rather pitiful Anaheim pepper, a garden straggler. I let those mingle, while water was heating, and I drained the Cranberry beans, and added those to the oil, and onions, and tiny, chopped pepper. I stirred those around for a long minute, then poured the boiling water to cover the beans. No salt. Not yet. I let this boil, then turned down the heat and let it all simmer. I was already pretty sure I would not mash these, but serve them de la olla, as a soup, from the pot.

To keep things soupy, I added boiling water, so the beans are always covered. I also added a dash of crushed red pepper, about three garlic cloves, and when the beans were soft, I salted them. Oh, and the straggly pepper seemed kind of bitter, so I pulled those few bits out.
I have never seen beans plump up so big. I have never seen pinto-like beans keep the pretty little patterns after cooking. I tasted one bean... creamy, soft, delectable. I served a bit more into a bowl, afterall, how could a simple bean actually be this yummy? Further research and testing was called for. I am full of beans for Rancho Gordo heirloom, Cranberry Beans! This is no ad, they don't know me. I have already put in another order, and as soon as I hit Publish, on this post, I am going to heat the leftover beans for lunch, and live happily ever after. The End.


Teresa Kasner said...

Those look divine. I'm fasting right now so seeing them is killing me but I need some of those as I looove beans.. we make ham hock and beans on a regular basis. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Janece said...

You make me want to do and try things that I've never known. Thank you for that!!

I've bookmarked Rancho Gordo! <3

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Teresa, order now, and put them in your stocking! They'll be waiting for you, to make an occasion special!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oddly enough, it's been a good year for trying new things, one way or another.
I love happy discoveries... and I didn't expect one of them to be better beans!