I have always been a fan of beans. Black ones, small ones, little ones and big ones....I love them all. Up until last month, I bought my beans where most people do - the grocery store.
I have never had the will power to resist the seduction of online shopping, and most of the time I can restrain myself for only so long before giving in to whatever I've been coveting, whether it be a new J.Crew bathing suit, a cool binder from Russel-Hazel, or the Best-Looking Beans I've ever seen.
I first read about Rancho Gordo Beans on Heidi Swanson's website, 101 Cookbooks. When I discovered this site, I felt like I had discovered a whole sub-section of society that shared the same sickness as me....an obsession with cooking, and more specifically, a totally unreasonable collection of cookbooks. Up until that point in time, I was riddled with guilt at each new book that made it's way to my cookbook shelf. I even went so far as to hide them from Dustin, so I wouldn't have to hear, "Did you really buy another cookbook?". With my discovery of the world of food blogging, came not only a sense of justification (I am not alone! I am not insane!), but also the discovery of new and wonderful food producers and distributors around the U.S., one of those being the folks at Rancho Gordo.
I admit, part of what I love about the company is their awesome label, and their funky attitude. They are based out of the San Francisco area, and they offer heirloom and hard to find varieties of beans and other grains. Having held out long enough, I placed an order a few weeks ago that will keep Dustin and I "in the beans" for the next 6 months! I also sprung for some pozole, and mexican oregano, which is so much more flavorful and floral than it's supermarket sister. It took me all of 3 seconds to decide which beans to try first, and get them into a bowl of cool water to soak...I chose the Borlotti Beans - the prettiest of the bunch.
The beans lost their lovely coloring and speckled appearance after cooking, but they were big and plump and made a bean-loving girl like me extremely pleased. I used part of the beans in a salad with some oil-packed tuna and sherry vinegar, some of them made their way into an impromptu version of baked beans, featuring some shallots, brown sugar and some hot smoked paprika. The final remaining beans were added to some wheat berries, along with some red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic and oregano. I bought a piece of cherry-glazed salmon to top it off for lunch, and it made a tasty lunch indeed.
Expect to see more bean recipes and appearances from the Rancho Gordo label in this blog. I've got a mighty number of beans to eat! Scheduled for this weekend....Green Posole, to make use of the leftover tomatillos from Wednesday's Chile-Glazed Halibut (see below).