Flageolet Fritters

Eminently adaptable, thoroughly delicious, fried bean goodness. I don’t do much frying; it’s not the healthiest way to cook, and although I have none of the modern-day fatophobia, I think  my love of all things bacon keeps me quite well supplied. Also, it’s the parsimonious Yankee in me: I hate waste, of any kind, and using a couple of cups of oil once, then simply throwing it away – well, let’s just say that I’ll generally try to find a […]

Flageolet Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Flageolet beans are quite wonderful.  They’re small and a beautiful mix of white and pale green when dried. Cooked, they hold their shape and color well and smell amazingly wonderful while simmering away on the stove.  They have a slightly spicy, very distinctive, very hard-to-describe aroma and taste, that somehow reminds me of Spring.  I was lucky enough to receive some Rancho Gordo flageolet beans for Christmas from my friend Christina (the gift that keeps on giving!) and they were […]

Refried Beans

Hands up everyone who knew that “refried beans” is a misnomer: frijoles refritos actually translates as “well-fried beans” (hat-tip to Elise at Simply Recipes for that handy piece of trivia).  I certainly didn’t know (although the whole “re-fried” concept never made much sense to me, and frying twice, well, ew).  I don’t even like refried beans, but then again, given the lame flavor and unpleasant, mealy texture of the dish that I think of as “refried beans” I doubt that I’ve […]

Spicy Mexican Red Beans & Rice

My girlfriend Christina gave me the best Christmas present – Rancho Gordo beans and popcorn.  She lives in San Francisco now, so while I don’t get to see her very often these days, the (albeit tiny) silver lining is that she is local to the fabulous Ferry Market and when she comes home to visit, she can bring me Rancho Gordo goodies and I can consider them ‘local.’ Because it’s local to her.  And she flew to me. And just happened […]

Stovetop Popcorn

Despite my other addictions, popcorn is my one true love, my desert island item, my No. 1 favorite food. (I’m so very sorry bacon… better luck next year).  I make popcorn nearly every day, always on the stovetop, always with oil or butter (Fat is Food, people – don’t be a hater). It may actually approach the level of a physical addiction, if such a thing is possible. When I am Were I ever to stomp around the house crankily (not […]

Calypso Bean Minestrone

Calypso beans are so gorgeous.  They are one of those fantastic heirloom varieties that you only see when you start searching out such a thing; a bean so gorgeous, you want to wear it as jewelry, so tasty that the unique flavor and texture are impossible to describe, so miraculous that if you push it into the soil, in Spring a plant will emerge.  (That simple fact never fails to thrill me). Calypso beans, also called orca beans because of […]

Spicy Black Bean & Chickpea Soup

When it comes to habanero peppers, I never seem to learn.  I always think, “Well, it’s a small pepper, and I’ll take all the seeds out – it won’t be too spicy.”   Yep.  That’s what I always say, usually about an hour or two before I’m pawing through the cupboards, looking for an additional something that will absorb a bit of the excess heat. Tonight was no exception.  I set out to a make a spicy, but not killer-spicy, black bean soup. […]

Flageolet and Roasted Garlic Spread

  More picnic fare that is easy to make, travels well, yet is impressively yummy and leaves friends wanting more.  With the exception of olive oil and black pepper, this spread can be made entirely local with Navy beans from Cayuga Pure Organics; or you could do what I did and fly to San Francisco, visit friends, and hit up the Rancho Gordo booth at the Ferry Building! Adapted from Cannellini Bean Confetti Spread in Heirloom Beans, by Steve Sando […]

Sunday Spring Cleaning: Runner Cannellini Bean Stew with Herb Pesto

I generally think of bean stew as being hearty, thick with sausage, tomatoes, vegetables and a thick gravy.  This one, based loosely on a recipe from Stone Barns chef Dan Barber, and presented in Rancho Gordo cookbook Heirloom Beans, is surprisingly light and Springy, with a subtle play of flavor and texture from the white beans, pesto sauce and goat cheese. Like most bean soups and stews, the recipe is extremely versatile, and well-adapted to using up odds & ends of veggies in […]

Overheard at the Farmer’s Market

Christina and I went to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturday.  I wish I could have taken lots of pretty pictures, but sadly, the day was rainy, wet and grey; not much like the sunny summer day shown here (from the market’s website).  The rain did not dampen my spirits, however, when I was able to find Rancho Gordo beans (I bought Christmas Lima, flageolet, Midnight and Borlotti beans to bring home in my luggage), my favorite cheddar-chive scone from Noe Valley Bakery, and […]

Go West, Young Kitchen!

Local Kitchen is headed West!  I’m off to San Francisco to visit my recently re-located girlfriend Christina in her new digs in the City by the Bay.  She’s very excited for me to come out and cook for her, and I’m excited by all the fabulous local ingredients that California has on offer: olives and olive oil, avocados, almonds, walnuts and pistchios, Rancho Gordo beans, citrus of all kinds and flavors, and oh my the wine!  It’s going to be […]

Sunday Spring Cleaning: Smoky Black Bean Dip

In the grand tradition of Spring, I’ve been doing some spring cleaning of late. Since the weather has not been optimal for cleaning windows, and it hasn’t yet been warm enough to transition to the summer wardrobe, I’ve been concentrating on cleaning out the larder: using up canned goods that are approaching one year old, making room in the freezer for a new season’s bounty, and digging way back into the recesses of the food cabinet for those long-forgotten items; […]

Jacob’s Cattle Beans with Bacon & Sage

12 April 2013: The perfect lunch on a grey & rainy April afternoon, this simple pot of beans is elevated by plenty of aromatics, crumbled dried sage, and good-quality local bacon. Always a pleasure to have some in the fridge! Why, yes, the Great Dried Bean Experiment 2009 is still ongoing, thank you very much! This week’s beans are Jacob’s Cattle, a lovely, variegated bean, originally cultivated by the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine, and the old standard for classic New England […]

Lina Cisco’s Bean Spread

In light of the ongoing Great Dried Bean Challenge ’09, I’ve been searching on-line, and in my various cookbooks, for heirloom bean recipes. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are basically three beans in America: white, red, and black. The white beans are almost always Great Northern or cannellini, the red beans are kidney or pinto (a type of kidney bean) and the black beans just “black.”  So imagine my surprise when, thinking I might try to grow & […]


Update, February 2013: It’s fun to go back in time and read some of these early posts on the blog. While I can think back to the time when I didn’t cook with dried beans, I had forgotten that I didn’t “cook with beans all that often.” It seems crazy to me now, when rarely a week goes by without a pot of beans simmering away on my stove, but I think that’s the beauty of learning to cook with […]