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 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.