Bean Bundle gift
Beans for Breakfast.
I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life. Beans are a staple here. (We’ll come back to that.) When I moved to New Orleans, they were a way of life there too. Red beans and rice on Mondays, late night at the bar, out of a communal crock pot. Alabama, where I lived for a year and a half, I’d say leans more towards peas, but loves them no less. Tepary beans are staples as you move westward, through the Sonoran. Much of my travels have taken me to other bean loving people and places around the world. Each one has their own regional varieties, their own traditional recipes. Beans, and their People, are everywhere.
In honor of introducing y’all to this gift bundle, I made myself some beans for breakfast (last night). If you know me, I use any chance I get to say I’m from Texas. I love all beans, but I had to go with a Texas classic. The Pinto. Tried and true. A creamy crowd pleaser. There are so many ways to enjoy the everloving pinto, but my favorite: The Borracho. Have a little glimpse into my morning world, take a look at my recipe for breakfast borrachos here.
If you, or your loved one, or bff, or maybe your crush, or mother in law even loves beans of both the coffee and legume persuasion, well, you’re in luck. We got the gift bundle for you.
THE BEAN BUNDLE
- Rancho Gordo Pinto and Midnight Black Beans
- The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen cookbook, by Steve Sando and Julia Newberry
- Rancho Gordo Bay Laurel
- 6-cup Chemex Brewer
- 1 x 12 oz bag Santa Cruz, our new coffee from Chiapas.
Designed in 1941, tried and true for 80 years. Makes delicious coffee (our chosen in house brew method for manual drip). Easy to use, and serving size ability is pretty versatile.
Here’s a quick and easy Chemex coffee recipe.
Grown by Pepe Aguilar at his farm, Finca Santa Cruz, high in the forested area of Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas. Pepe grows award winning coffee beneath the shade of indigenous tree canopy. Pepe’s coffees are delicious, and go down easy. We love coffees from Mexico for their crowd pleasing qualities that every coffee drinker can get behind. Great for Cafe de Olla if you feel like serving after your borrachos. Sourced from friends of Red Fox Coffee Merchants.
Steve Sando started growing tomatoes after being frustrated by the lack of fresh, delectable, juicy, ripe ones at the grocery store. Eventually, he found his way to growing beans. After trying his hand at it, Steve quickly learned that he wasn't quite the “particularly gifted farmer and in order to grow the amounts of beans [he’d] need to satisfy demand.” Today, in order to meet that demand and share the beloved beans with the world, Rancho Gordo works with growers in Northern and Central California, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico, as well as in Mexico and the Andes.
Steve has travelled throughout the Americas searching for unique and heirloom legumes and herbs to bring back to his trial gardens in Napa. Steve celebrates heritage foodways.
Everyday cooking with heirloom beans, vegetables, greens, and grains.
Simple and accessible recipes. Steve advises not to overwork each dish, to really savor the flavor of the beans themselves. Rather than detailed, tedious instructions, the book is laid out with general guidance as to how to prepare different kinds of beans whether you use the traditional pot on the stove, or if you use pressure cookers or slow cookers.
The book opens with a review of heirloom bean varieties split into three categories: “White & Light Beans,” “Medium-Bodied Beans,” and “Dark & Hearty Beans.”
It is very easy to follow, and encourages an experiential somewhat intuitive approach to cooking. Steve briefly reviews the great bean question: to soak, or not to soak, to rinse, or not to rinse. Elaborates on getting the water level right, opening and closing the pot lid as needed. Using aroma to gauge progress, texture to know when they're done.
“There’s no right way to cook beans, and there’s only one actual rule: Simmer the beans in a pot until they’re soft.”
The cooking is simple, and Steve encourages a little bit of restraint. Follow a few basic guidelines, don’t overdo it, and let the beans do what they do. A lot like how we encourage coffee preparation at home. Start with fresh, fantastic ingredients grown with care, do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and bada-bing.
What follows this short how-to is like a review of heirloom bean varieties and recipes in three chapters of the bean categories of the opening: “White & Light Beans,” “Medium-Bodied Beans,” and “Dark & Hearty Beans.”
My favorite part of the book is how each chapter ends with a section “Quick Ideas, no recipe needed.” Simply a handful of beautifully photographed dishes, one per page, and simple explanation of the dish. To inspire creativity and intuition in the kitchen.
“A true black turtle bean with a rich, traditional black bean flavor and texture. Midnight beans have a light, thin skin that allows its flavors to mix with your aromatics and create a delicious bean broth. The beans and their broth are great with simple rice. The liquid coats each kernel of rice, adding flavor, protein and pizzazz. But don't forget to strain them for a salad with your favorite greens and use any leftover broth as a base for soup or even poaching eggs. These are incredibly fresh so little, if any, soaking is required. You can retain the black color better by not soaking. If you must soak, try using the soaking water while cooking.”
Can use them in all kinds cooking, from pot beans to refried beans. They're essential to Norteño cooking and they're the best friend a plate of carne asada has ever had.” In the southwest United States, the pinto bean is an important symbol of regional identity, and often called Cowboy Beans in Texas, especially along the border. One of the most commonly grown beans in the U.S., but these pintos are very fresh, very creamy, and very flavorful. Don’t sleep on them.
See Beans for Breakfast for a delicious Borracho bean recipe .
Heirlooms showcase the wide array of genetic diversity in food crops.
Heirloom cultivation implies traditional methods of cultivation of seed stock.They are not hybridized or genetically modified in lab settings. The term is not technical, but more qualitative. Heirlooms come from the old ways, and often have distinct, prized, and celebrated flavors.
Perspective: I love Rancho Gordo’s beans. They are quality, and delicious. They only offer fresh crop beans, which means the beans are from the current crop year’s harvest. One thing I would like to note, the term “New World” is used often throughout the book. Most of the beans discussed and offered through Rancho Gordo are indeed, as mentioned above, indigenous to the people of this land, respectfully called Turtle Island and Abya Yala by many Indigenous Peoples.
Steve’s sourcing practices are intentional, he and his team at Rancho Gordo love these beans. On their site, Steve asks of his customers, “As you cook these heirloom beans and other grains and ingredients, keep in mind that...What you are doing isn’t exotic and esoteric. It’s continuing traditions that are well-established for a reason.”
Many of the bean growers’ ancestors cultivated these heirlooms throughout the course of hundreds, in some cases, thousands of years. These heirlooms are deeply woven into ancient foodways of the Original Peoples of these lands, and are anything but new. This shift in perspective and intentional language and naming is important, especially as these beans make their way back into our bowls.