31 October 2009

Heirloom Beans

We love beans. The South is full of cool beans you can't seem to find anywhere, pink eyes, lady peas, purple hull, crowder peas, the list goes on. When most people think of Southern, they think of black-eyed peas. When they think Southwestern, they thing black or pinto. Come on people lets add some variety!

But you might be thinking, "Cookbook Of The Day, where can I find such variety?" Try searching about your grocery store, we might say. (Several weeks ago, I wanted to make my favorite baked beans with figs and searched around my grocery store. The navy beans I bought were soaked 12 hours and cooked for about that long and were still HARD!!! This sometimes happens, so as a warning, if you find a dusty bag of beans on a back shelf and you think, "Hey, I've never seen these before. ", be forewarned that even dried beans can go -- bad. But I digress...).

Want to find lovely beans on the internet or in your more discerning grocery, look no further than Rancho Gordo. The folks at Rancho Gordo will send you out a package or great heirloom beans in no time. They have a flat shipping rate of $8, so buy several bags and experiment. They even have sampler sets for you to try.

They even have a cookbook, cleverly entitled, Heirloom Beans, written by Rancho Gordo's uber-seed-saver, Steve Sando, and Vanessa Barrinton. They offer up some unusual and usual bean dishes. Don't be alarmed, they give you a rather generic substitute if you have not received your heirlooms from Steve.

Here's a recipe using tepary beans.

They are sweet beans and look a bit like a pinto, which can be substitute in this recipe but, then it would just be plain old pinto bean dip and you would have failed in your mission to step outside you boring comfort zone.

Spicy Tepary Bean Dip

1 1/2 cups drained, cooked tepary beans
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 poblano chili, roasted
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground
1 chipotle chile in adobo
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, olive oil, poblano chile, cumin, chipotle chile, salt and pepper to taste. Process until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. You will have about 2 cups. Serve at room temperature.

Please give it a try.

***Two things:

1. In checking to see if my link was working, I found that Rancho Gordo doesn't have tepary beans in stock right now.

2. Since the new blogging rules say we must have full disclosure, I just want to say I have received NOTHING for Rancho Gordo, not a book a bean or a T-shirt. I am truly sad about this!

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