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.
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?