OMG. These beans are beyond fantastic!

First, to thank the origin of this recipe. Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks. Her blog is here. Every recipe I have made from her blog, or her book, is delicious.

And, if you don’t already love Rancho Gordo beans, you should. Order some beans, and change your life here. I used their black calypso beans. The recipe calls for Jacob’s Cattle Beans, which are more readily available. They are just beautiful beans. And with this recipe, delicious. Try it. 


Chocolate Calypso Beans (remix)

1 lb. Jacob’s Cattle beans
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2T. ground, dried red chilies (I used med-hot Chimayo)
1 1/2 T ground cumin
2+ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground allspice
4 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 12 oz. bottle Negro Modelo Mexican beer
1 1/2 discs Ibarra Mexican chocolate

Rinse the beans, pick out any pebbles or dirt. Rehydrate beans by soaking overnight, or start soaking them in the morning if you are cooking later in the evening. Drain and rinse. In a large stock pot saute the onion, red pepper, and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the spices and saute for another minute or so. To the sauteed ingredients/spices add drained beans, water or stock, and beer. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, roughly two hours, stirring gently every 15 minutes or so. When beans are done stir in the chocolate and generously add salt to taste.

We used these tasty beans on fajitas (with fake grilled chicken strips), salsa, queso fresco cheese, avocado, etc….delicious. The beans are even better then next day and we had plenty leftovers.

Lucky for all you people outside the San Francisco Bay Area, it looks like you will be able to order Rancho Gordo beans via the web sometime in the next month or two.


October 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

Sandwich Master Plan!

This was in the Whole Foods flyer this month. It seems so useful. I’m putting it here so I can a) find it some day; and b) share it with friends. Enjoy!

July 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment

How to rescue a cast iron anything…

This is unbelievable, and it works. We tried it.

I picked up a cast iron ebelskiver pan at the dump. It was a rusted mess, clearly water had been sitting in it.

I scoured the rust off with steel wool, then followed the instructions in this article. I only wish I had taken pictures. I didn’t expect a miracle. (Who ever does? THAT’s why it’s a MIRACLE!). Well, I had expected to take the pan back to the dump (money-back guarantee at the dump), but now, I’m keeping it forever. Or giving it to a deserving friend.

Here’s the article on How to Rescue Cast Iron. Bookmark it. Or put it on Pinterest.

July 7, 2012 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Summer Relocation

Not much has been happening on this blog, because the big PARTY is at Lemonade Summer. Go visit, and subscribe.

You’ll be glad you did!

June 17, 2012 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

Vegan, delicious, no-fat, brownies

This is a wonderful gift from the Happy Herbivore. Think of chocolate covered banana. Enjoy! And, visit the Happy Herbivorefor more great ideas.

Black Bean Brownies Recipe

Servings: 9


Dense, fudge-y and ultra-healthy, these brownies are a great alternative to traditional brownies! It’s amazing how they taste like chocolate and fudge and not beans! Chef’s Notes: Rolled oats run through the food processor may substituted for the instant oats. Use optional sugar if your bananas are still green and not very ripe.


  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 whole bananas
  • cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raw sugar (optional)
  • ¼ cup instant oats


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing. Chef’s Note: if you find these brownies are too soft or too fudge-y, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour.

December 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

Spinach Pesto

This year, I subscribed to a CSA from Picadilly Farms. Right now, the weekly share is a large box of leafy foods:  greens, greens, spinach, lettuce, and greens. And some kohlrabi.

Now, I enjoy my green drink (spinach+frozen mango+water+vitamix), and a good spinach salad. But, there is no way I can consume this entire box of greens in one week.

It’s interesting. Being part of a farm CSA, I get what is actually growing and ready now. We should just call it leaf season!

Pesto to the Rescue!

This recipe for Spinach Pesto uses many ingredients from my box:  spinach, parsley, and I threw in garlic scapes (cuz I had them). It’s awesome. (OK, I didn’t grow the grated parmesan, but I could buy it at the supermarket.) Now, does anyone know what to do with kohlrabi?

Spinach PESTO


Yield:  2 cups


Prep Time: 10 minsTotal Time: 10 mins

  1. 1 Place all ingredients into food processor and process to a fine paste.
  2. 2 Taste and adjust seasonings and transfer to a glass container and top with a thin coat of olive oil to prevent the top of the pesto from discoloring.
  3. 3 Keeps for weeks in the refrigerator.
  4. (I put some in zip-lock snack size bags in the freezer.  Stay tuned to find out if that’s still good when it gets excavated.)

July 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm 1 comment

Obsessing About Beans

It’s a genetic thing. We Karash family folk get interested in something (Phase 1). Then we equip fully (Phase 2). Then we engage (Phase 3).

It’s about beans. Heirloom beans. It is my niece’s fault. She introduced me to Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. She said “They just taste better. Really” (or something like that). Yeah. Like beans even have a taste. Aren’t they just a device to carry barbeque sauce into your eating orifice?

OK. Not to be scammed, I immediately visited Rancho Gordo (online, I couldn’t run to Napa this week) — Phase 1 begins. Lucky me, they have a video about cooking beans, and an online store! Hooray! On to Phase 2:  equip fully.

Oh dear. In the video, he cooks his beans in a clay pot. THAT is the missing link. Off to Amazon for an authentic clay pot, made in Chile (where my daughter is going in August). Well, THAT looks like a great deal. I can cook in the Chilean pot while she is in Chile. Double bonus points!

Nothing less than the best equipment. I learned that from my dad:  “Always buy good tools. Don’t buy cheap junk tools because they don’t last.” (or something like that). Thanks Dad, I needed that clay pot.

Now, the pot has arrived. The Rancho Gordo bean cookbook has arrived. Where are my beans?

Not to be derailed from a healthy obsession (fiber + protein + nutrients galore), I am ready and waiting with a new recipe, included below. The recipe is from a gardening blog, called A Way to Garden. She made these with Martha Stewart, so they must be good! I will report in the comments. If you try this, let me know what you think! (Oh yes, I am reading the cookbook, awaiting authentic Rancho Gordo beans to make the authentic Rancho Gordo recipes.)

Is it time to go to Napa?

Phase 3:  Cook the beans!

Vegetarian Baked Beans

1 pound dry beans (I like a Cranberry type, but a creamier-textured Navy-style small white bean is the traditional choice and cooks faster; in this batch I used ‘Yellow Eye’)

2 quartered medium onions

1/4 cup+ molasses (I use Wholesome Sweeteners organic style, very rich)

1/4 cup+ maple syrup — I like Dark Amber for robust flavor

4 Tbsp. grainy mustard

4-6 Italian-style paste tomatoes, roughly cut up—alternatively use other tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or even some red sauce

boiling water, enough to cover an inch or so above solids in pot

small amount of olive oil

Soak the beans overnight, discard the water. Add fresh water and simmer them briefly (maybe 30 mins.) to just barely tender while preheating oven to 350ish. The “right” temperature really varies with the size of pot you are using; you want the beans to bubble.

Put water on to boil.

Coat an oven-proof covered pot, such as a Dutch oven or large Pyrex casserole or ceramic bean pot, with a splash of olive oil. Lay the quartered onions in the bottom. (Note on selecting a pot: There must be enough headroom to put in all ingredients above, plus at least 1 inch above that of boiling water plus clearance to prevent overflows.)

Drain beans; dress them with the other ingredients above (sweeteners and mustard and tomatoes). Pour over the onions.

Pour boiling water over the mixture until it’s an inch or so above the solids.

Cover and bake until done, between two hours and forever.  Many recipes say to leave baked beans uncovered while cooking; doing so, with certain large beans, I have had it take six hours or more. I cover the casserole, and periodically check to see if water is receding…if so, I taste a bean…if not nearly ready, I add more boiling water, often a couple of times.

Once the beans reach an almost-ready tenderness, uncover and turn up heat to 375 the last hour (give or take) to reduce the liquid to a thick, dark brown syrup, turning the ingredients a couple of times to mix everything up.

If the flavor isn’t sweet enough, or tomato-ey enough, or wants salt, add it during this last phase.  Or balance the maple-to-molasses ratio to suit your taste. This is a flexible process, not delicate chemistry. You can even make the beans soupier, with more sauce than I like, by not cooking down so long.

Again: The beans you start with, how well you soak/cook them first, and the vessel you cook in really make the timing and temperature combination vary.  Experiment.

June 30, 2011 at 11:34 am 6 comments

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