Sunday, August 10, 2008

Black beans and guac

Even though I was lucky enough to eat some wonderful meals while traveling, I couldn't wait to get home and return to my kitchen. It does my stomach good as much good as my heart. Plus, I had these black beans I needed to cook.

See, my friend Abby has been raving about a particular dried black bean for months now. She purchases them from a tiny little fruit stand somewhere in the wilderness between L.A. and Palm Springs, just off the highway. A couple weeks ago I finally stopped there and picked up a bag, even though I didn't have a chance to make them before I skipped town.

During my whole trip, I daydreamed about those black beans. I'm not even kidding. Everyone else in the world dreams up all kinds of pervvy stuff, and I sit around fantasizing about legumes.

So it wasn't more than an hour after my plane landed that I grabbed my dried beans and wooden spoon and got to work.

I asked Abby how her family prepares their black beans, and she replied with a text message:

"Boil cup of rinsed beans. No soak. In water with half an onion, half a green pepper, 1 bay leaf, salt and a lot of garlic. Like five cloves. Should simmer semi-covered for 1.5-2 hours."

I diced the onion and green pepper, because that's how I interpreted the message. Turns out that's not how Abby does it -- she puts the halves of onion and pepper in the pot, then removes them when the beans are done -- but it didn't matter. These were so, so good. I'm never going to soak and boil my beans again.

We also had avocados at the perfect ripe stage, so I served the beans on mini corn tortillas with an ample spoonful of guacamole.

Black bean tostadas

Oh, I also had a couple purple tomatillos laying around, and I didn't know what to do with them. I didn't have enough to do a purple twist on salsa verde, so I just smooshed them into my next batch of guac. They were mellow in flavor, with only the slightest tang, so it was a nice accessory for the avocado. Aren't they pretty?



jessy said...

those black beans look mighty tasty! glad they were as awesome as you had hoped they would be! and i daydream about food all the time. it's good to know i'm not alone! :)

your guacamole looks beauuuutiful! what a great idea smashing some tomatillos in it, too. looks like a little bit 'o heaven to me, indeed!

and i don't soak my beans either. i like 'em that way a lot better - as they seem to retain more flavor!

Eric and Jill said...

so you bring the beans to a boil and then simmer on low heat or medium heat? sorry, i'm new to cooking and need more direction! i'm over canned beans and would love to try this!

Liz² said...

I fantastize about beans, too! Maybe it's a sign of good taste? I'll definitely have to try making them the way you and your friend suggest, though, they sound all kinds of awesome.

Destiny's Vegan Kitchen said...

Pretty tomatillos! I've only recently become aware of their existence. I have a pot of black beans soaking on the stove right now, but maybe I shouldn't?

jd said...

Mmmm... I absolutely adore black beans! And having them with some delicious guacamole is even better!

Your pics are great, but they're definitely making me hungry before bed. Grrr...

PS I'm glad to have found your blog :)

Maggie said...

eric and jill, I simmered the beans on low for about an hour-and-a-half. Make sure you watch the water level so the beans won't burn onto the bottom of the pot. (For whatever reason, my stovetop is like a magician -- it can make a pot of water disappear just like that.)

I've always soaked my beans overnight before cooking, but my friend insists you shouldn't do that with black beans.