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26 May 2008

beans, beans


Beans, beans
the musical fruit
the more you eat
the more you....

Oh, I can't even finish that little ditty. (And you know the ending anyway.) I have to admit, I'm tired.

The Chef and I just spent two-and-a-half glorious days on the Island, with our dear friends Nina and Booth. There were spot prawns, just caught by Booth (180 of them!), thrown on the grill, and then onto our plates. The first corn on the cob of the season. Key lime pie with a gluten-free crust. Chicken mole. Pancakes with blackberry jam. Long walks on the beach. Tours of the island's artists' homes. Lovely meandering conversations with our friends. Two movies that made us both have weird dreams and startling revelations. And mostly, plenty of time on the loungers on the deck, staring out at the water, drinking pina coladas (well, a virgin one for me), listening to hummingbirds flutter above our heads, and waiting for the grill to heat up so we could eat again.

Bliss, in other words.

We arrived home late this afternoon, our skin warm from the sun, our hearts drenched with memories. And I had every intention of writing more fully for this post, stories that lope and loop back into some coherent startling arrival. But you know what?

I'm 29 weeks pregnant. My belly is eclipsing my feet. Little Bean is playing Dance Dance Revolution inside me. It's time to curl up in bed.

So I'll leave you with this, instead of a story.

Nina -- gratitude bless her -- made fresh salsa, homemade guacamole, corn tortillas from scratch, and a kick-ass mole sauce with shredded chicken. All of it gluten-free, of course. And with this magnificent repast? Four different kinds of Rancho Gordo beans (some of which you see above), soaked and simmered, salted and sauteed with onions and garlic, cumin and pepper. We moaned our way through dinner, happy beyond repair.

(And the Chef had four days off, caught up on his sleep, and is ready to go back to his kitchen tomorrow.)

Those little bites made me remember how much I love beans. Fresh, heirloom beans, lovingly prepared, full of flavor, and soft to the teeth -- this is not obligation food. We think of legumes as the food we should eat, nutrients that leave us with a clean conscience and not much taste. Not at all true, of course. Great beans? They are a meal to themselves.

So tomorrow, after a long sleep, I'm ordering more beans from Rancho Gordo. We need a strong supply before Little Bean arrives. (And frankly, I could use the fiber right now.)

But right now? I'm headed for sleep.

How do you like to eat your beans?


At 8:39 AM, Blogger Milhan said...

Cuban-style black beans with diced red pepper sauteed in olive oil, chopped garlic, cumin powder, bay leaf, oregano, a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and S&P...over steamed white rice - yum!

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Clean ClutterFree Simple said...

What a lovely weekend! Ah, beans. Well, our fave is pinto beans, soaked overnight, then cooked slowly either in the Crock-Pot or on the stove, with some kombu. I salt them fairly heavily at the end of the cooking. Serious yum with brown rice, salsa and grated jack cheese for a simple meal. Even better with some grilled flank steak or chicken.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

ooh...I love chickpeas pureed with some really good olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and then drizzled with some lemon olive good! Delicous served with grilled meats and veggies.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Christina said...

I like all kinds of beans. Garbanzo, black, pinto, kidney--love them. I usually pour them over brown rice, verde salsa, shredded jack cheese.

To me that is happiness in a bowl.

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In an old cookbook of my grandmother's (
I found an old handwritten recipe for 'Cajun Beans.' She's from Louisiana so I'm thinking... they're probably pretty great. I haven't tried them yet but I can't wait to.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger MsJess said...

I just made black bean enchiladas. I sauted the onions and jalpenos and then simmered the beans with some cumin, coiander and other spices. My only problem (which is one I frequently run into) is that my enchilads have this tendency to fall apart either in the assemply process or when I cook them. Is it because I don't fry my tortillas? Anyway they don't look pretty but they taste wonderful.

And as a weird aside I mention this dish to a friend who was gobsmacked that there was such a thing as black beans. He'd never heard of them.

I love chickpeas in all manners of indian dishes. I make have wickedly easy potato/tomato/chickpea curry that where you put all the ingredients in a pot and let it cook for half an hour.

Oh and for annother beanful treat, I do love me some baked beans on toast (sometimes with hotdogs or sausages) Just need to enjoy that when no one else is around.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Sophia said...

I made the egg salad last night and it was so simple and perfect! Thank you for reminding me about beans -- I always think of them as wintertime food. And thank you for being my best inspiration since my celiac diagnosis last year!

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Hi - I am new to food blogging, but I've been reading your page since late March. My little sister is somewhat gluten intolerant, and her dietary needs have introduced me to the unusual world of GF baking/cooking. I LOVE your blog. Your approach to food and life in general is so incredibly inspiring. I've yet to read your book, but I'm going to get my hands on it as soon I can get to the library! - Katie :)

At 2:49 PM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Any beans, any time, any way! But I think Milhan has it right, cuban style black beans are the best!

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enchilada Casserole is really good with blacks beans in it. It's like enchiladas but you don't wrap them individually. You just put it together like lasanya

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...


I enjoy my beans hillbilly style, with loads of bacon cooked in. Also, some nice collard greens on the side.

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it too tame to stay that I still love Cuban-style black beans best, with cilantro and salsa sweet corn? Hopefully, guacamole would be nearby.

But then, I love it all best with Cuban coffee.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Maria said...

Pinto beans are a staple in my diet, as I grew up in a household with traditional Mexican food as main faire most nights of the week. First, I don't soak my beans, I bring them to a gentle, rolling boil and keep them there for 1.5 hours (a good thing for an indoor day when I'm doing housework) and I replenish the water every 20 mins or so, that way the beans don't burn-and what a shame when they do! I stop "watering" the beans when they're about 30 mins from completion, so they can cook down. I am a purist, so I simply salt the beans with a couple palmfuls of salt toward the end of their boil. The night I make beans, I always eat them with brown rice and then put the rest in the refrigerator where they, resilient beans that they are, last about 4 days. Oh the multitude of creations that come from leftover beans! Mash in a pan with some oil and serve with a seasoned, scrambled egg and tortillas for a tasty, never-gets-old and very quick meal; serve with shredded chicken and tortillas; make some quick nachos; bean and cheese taquitos; use the whole beans for baked beans; taco salad....endless yumminess. I think the diddy should be: "Beans, beans, the MAGICAL fruit" because of their versatility.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger cjkuehl said...

My boyfriend and I enjoy your Mexican casserole with beans instead of meat. He's celiac and vegetarian so we come up with a lot of substitutions. I've made it with canned northern beans or with black beans and we use salsa verde. I think the black beans make it more interesting to look at as compared to the northerns; )

Another great bean recipe is my mom's "colorful chunky salsa"
black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, a can of diced tomatoes, two diced bell peppers - one red, one orange, a can of corn, 4 sliced green onions, the leaves of about 1/4 bunch of cilantro and 2-3 cloves of garlic minced.

It makes a huge batch but it gets better as it sits - all the flavors blend together. Great with some shredded cheese as a quick enchilada filling.

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Gemma said...

I don't eat enough beans but you are reminding me to try to cook with them more. I hadn't heard your version of the rhyme before because in Britain we say:

Beans beans good for your heart
The more you eat the more you fart
The more you fart the better you feel
So let's eat beans for every meal

Sorry to lower the tone!

Gemma x

At 3:53 AM, Blogger Linda said...

I've recently been on an Italian kick. I found a recipe using white beans, diced shallots, chopped roasted bell pepper, minced basil, salt and pepper, then olive oil and lemon juice mixed in. It is so fresh tasting and nice to look at too.

At 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

love, love the photo of the beans in the jars, Shauna!

right now in the refrigerator, I have an old, bright-green pyrex bowl full of this salad:

+ two cans of garbanzo beans
+ half a green pepper, diced
+ 1/2 a red onion, minced
+ 1/2 an "ancient sweets" red pepper, sliced
+ 1 1/2 tiny cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly
+ a little under 1/4 cup mixed red wine and balsamic vinegar
+ sea salt and fresh ground pepper


At 5:56 AM, Blogger Emily Maynard said...

Thank you for celebrating beans! There is a great baked garbanzo bean recipe in the January 2008 issue of Bon Appetit that I have made several times, with different varieties of beans, for friends. You can find the recipe at

Thanks for the writing on gluten-free eating -- it's much appreciated!

Ai Lu

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everybody. We grow a couple of kinds of beans (aside from the regular snap green, wax, and purple pod bush beans). One is a pink-eyed, purple hulled bean that looks very similar to a black-eyed pea. Not only are the dried beans a fantastic stand-in for most other dried beans in most recipes, the fresh beans themselves are amazing. The pod gets a beautiful dark burgundy color and almost a foot long, so we snap them and cook them like we do the fresh green beans. Deeeeeelicious. Buttery, nutty, mild, but with some personality. The other bean we grow that's maybe a little off the radar but definitely worth tracking down is called a Huller bean. Don't know the story behind these - we got our first seed stocks decades ago from an old neighbor lady, so they may be an heirloom variety. Huller's are kind of like lima beans or some other very large, meaty bean, but they're paler and have a much smoother (less mealy) texture. I make 3-bean salad with them, or soak and saute with some bacon. Mmmmm. And beautiful. Which is important, don't you think? I mean, beans are BEAUTIFUL, all the different shapes and colors and sizes. It seems like if you're eating something fresh and beautiful and yummy, the fact that it's super good for you is almost an afterthought. Yeah, I love beans.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Christine Meade said...

Just finished your book and I loved it! Same goes for the favorite bean dish is a three bean salad-yum!

At 1:52 PM, Blogger thisrequiresthought said...

yay for beans.
(not to mention yay for the bulk price of beans compared to other protein sources...)

the other evening, we had a cold salad of black-eyed peas, red and green peppers, vidalia onion, parsley, tomatoes, balsamic, and sesame oil.

it was great the next day, too!

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Abigail said...

My current favorite bean application is a white bean spread that is super simple to make. It's one can of white beans, whirled in the food processor with some olive oil and lemon juice. I then spread it on sour dough toast, grind some pepper on it, top with sliced olives and spring greens. I'm sure there is something gluten free you could spread it on that would be equally delicious. :)

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Shirley said...

I am not vegetarian (I am GF though as you know), but I have been making a vegetarian chili lately that rocks. Seriously I may never go back to chili with meat. It has kidney beans, black beans, chick peas, tomatoes, corn, mushrooms (portabella are best), green pepper, red pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, basil, and oregano. I throw in some salsa if I have any made or on hand. You saute the veggies first in olive oil with the spices and garlic and then dump into the crock pot with all the other ingredients. At the end of the day, it's good to go. (Sometimes I use my crockpot overnight and then just reheat if I won't have the right amount of time for cooking the next day.) Wonderful with easily made GF flat, firm cornbread from scratch.

I am nuts about black-eyed peas any way.

Roasted chickpeas in just olive oil and sea salt are always great.

The secret to musical beans is eating more beans, right? BTW, your post and picture are wonderful ... no need to do more with this one! Rest up with LB. :-)

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Devin said...

We surprisingly got our two favorite recipes from Everyday Food. Here is our interpretations, 1 head Kale ripped up Sauteed with Garlic and covered to braise 10 mins.Stir in some white beans, drizzle a hefty splash or three of vinegar. Yum! Add some Spicy sausage if you want. We eat this about once a week, ditto with bean tostadas: whatever beans we have cooked with 2 cloves of garlic, .25 an onion, ditto a green pepper. Put the beans on an oiled tortilla, cover with tomato, jalapeno and cheese and roast at 450 for 9 to 10 mins. Eat with Corn salad: corn, scallion, lime juice olive oil salt and pepper. Dice in an avocado just before serving. Our favorite meal.
We also eat an Italian bean and vegetable soup for lunch most days, made in huge batches once or twice a month. We obviously love our beans here. A staple in the kitchen!

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the favorite dinners I ever had included chicken, sweet potatoes and black beans. Quite frankly, my dad made it and I don't remember how he did so, but I highly recommend this combination of foods.
And, quite frankly, as healthy as you eat, you may need a bit of oil instead of fiber, if you get my drift. Or fat. Try a cheeseburger or regular burger sans bun, with some fries. I have been in your situation and I PROMISE, a little meat and/or oil fat will fix you right up.

At 8:32 PM, Blogger The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Hands down, refried beans! I just made some and can't get enough!

At 6:06 AM, Blogger Molly said...

Dear Shauna,
try 8oz warm milk with 1tsp ghee before bed for pregnancy related constipation. this is an ancient ayurvedic remedy,time tested over the last 5000 years.It is gentle and easy on you and litte Bean.
So glad for all of you,
Molly Oliver

At 6:19 AM, Blogger a kelly said...

Beans! Love 'em, can't get enough!
(this may be too much sharing...but I get "musical" if I don't eat enough beans...weird, eh?)
White kidney beans, strained tomatoes from Italy, garlic, olive oil....add any veg, my fav is mushrooms and red peppers. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I do.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We like hummus. I usually just buy them from Trader Joe's. However, the Sabra Salad hummus is the best I have ever had.

My problem with whole beans is that I used to be fed "cholent" for Saturday lunches (in another lifetime.) This cholent was made in the slow cooker (or on the stove with a blech.) It was cooked from before Shabbat on Friday until Saturday lunch. It usually consisted of meat, barley, beans, and potatoes. Some people put in ketchup and brown sugar. There were different variations. Most of the time, I felt nauseaus from eating that, especially when people put the beans in without draining them first.

Basically, if it looks like beans, I can't eat it, which is why hummus ROCKS!


At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like cooking up some lentils and letting them cool a bit. Then throwing them in my blender (right, I have the counter space for a food processor AND blender?! :)) with garlic, salt, pepper, and either red pepper flakes or hot chili oil. Then use as you would use hummus (I don't like the taste of chickpeas). It's great on apples and pears!

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like stewed white beans with rosemary a lot (the taste of comfort and winter), but I have to say that the lima beans stews my mother makes on her father's birthday each year are my favorite. Lima beans were my grandfather's favorite food, and it's nice to remember him with tomatoes and those lovely green beans.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Daniela said...

iecI was just about to start an entry on my blog about beans. I made some BBQ Beans the other day - nothing better than a bowl of bbqed beans with fresh tomatoes, spring onions, avocado and cilantro on top.

So far I only uploaded the picture - check it out:

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Jory said...

Okay, so Ive never posted before. I love your site! It has been fun to check back with you after a hiatus due to extreme nausea and learn that you are about as pregnant as I am (27 weeks). I wanted to share our way of getting the "toot" out of the beans. We soak them overnight with fresh lemon juice and water, then rinse, add fresh water and boil 4-8 hours. Skim off any bubbles that rise to the surface. This has been magic for our family! So many great ways to eat beans...enjoy!

At 4:30 AM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

You know you are well on your way to your little bean when you look down and don't see your shoes! My kids always sing the less refined version of the bean song:
Beans,beans they're good for your heart....
I think you can guess the rest!

Rest well. This is the time of your life you can be productive,even when you are sleeping!

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually haven't had the gas problem that traditionally came with eating beans since I went GF. I've assumed it's because my cornbread no longer has white flour in it.

Growing up, we would soak pinto beans overnight (soaking for at least eight hours is the healthiest way), crock pot them with salt, pepper, and a ham bone if we had one all day long, and eat with buttered cornbread. We usually crumbled up cornbread into the beans and then also ate cornbread alongside that. Sometimes I would add pickle juice to my beans (try it, it's better than you can imagine).

These days when I make pinto beans, I soak them overnight then boil them for several hours. For the last half hour, add red onion, serranos, garlic, and cilantro (a lot of cilantro). Also add fresh cilantro and lime juice, salt and black pepper. I usually cube a very decent amount of Muenster cheese at the bottom of the bowl and put the beans on the cheese. More cilantro and diced avocado over top of the beans. Perfect.

For garbanzo beans, I make a salad with the beans, red onion, garlic, black pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (not too much), kosher salt, a little bit of fresh parsley, fresh thyme, half a serrano, lemon juice, and sometimes red chili sauce (depending on how tangy and spicy I want it).

At 10:02 AM, Blogger lbmann said...

I love black beans, their perfect roundness, the rich deep darkness and soft squishy insides. I open up a can of organic black beans and throw them in my "go to work" stainless steel container with lots of fresh romaine lettuce and a perfect avocado. Luckily, I love this kind of simple lunch. I'm gluten, dairy, soy and egg intolerant (year seven). Shauna, I wish I had known you during my early GF years when I was crying my way through the grocery stores in north Seattle. It has taken me 7 years to achieve a Shauna-like adoration for simple food. Thank you for being here!

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite favourite ever is the Tuscan fagioli all'olio. Nothing like it. Just white beans (I use kidney), fresh sage, garlic, pinch salt and of course recently smuggled-by-me fresh, amazing Tuscan olive oil. :)

At 7:22 PM, Blogger MamaFeelgood said...

Caribbean Black Beans from the Moosewood Cooks at Home Book

1 1/2 Chopped onions
3 Garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 T Olive oil
1 T Fresh grated ginger root
1 t Fresh thyme or 1/2 t dried
1/2 t Ground allspice
4 1/2 c Drained cooked black beans (three 16-oz cans)
3/4 c Orange juice
Salt and black pepper to Taste
Saute the onions and garlic until barely soft. Add the spices and saut until very soft. Stir in the beans and orange juice and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mash a few of the beans with a fork or that back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mango Salsa

1 Ripe mango, peel, pit, dice
1/4 cup Red onion, minced
1 Habanero chile
2 tbsp Lime juice (I just squeeze half a lime)
1 tbsp Fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 tsp Ground cumin
1/4 tsp White pepper
1/4 tsp Salt

1 Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2 Refrigerate for 1 hour.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

I've been almost lapping this black bean sauce from the pot with my tongue. We put it on chicken (as the recipe calls) but it's also really good with thick sliced honey ham, avocado, and tomato:

Black Bean Sauce Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 quart filtered water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic (minced and crushed)
Stems from one bunch of cilantro, chopped into 1/4” bits (approx. 1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place beans in a large sauce-pan or soup pan, and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water if needed. Remove bay leaves, then transfer the bean mixture to a food processor. Process well, adding water if needed to make desired consistency.

It's so good.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Shirley said...

Oh, I should also add that I make wonderful brownies with black beans. The black beans take the place of any flour. (They are run through a food processor or blender.) The recipe is called Big Bad Black Bean Brownies. ;-)

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Daniela said...

just wanted to check and see if u r okay... no update since thursday makes me a bit worried! greetings from chicago, dani

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read your book, and you've really given me hope. It's been just over two weeks on the gluten free diet, and all I could think about is the stuff I'm missing.

You show me how much food there really is how there, and you're so positive it just really makes me feel a bit better.

Not really sure where I was going with this, but...


At 7:24 PM, Blogger Bonnie said...

Oh what a lovely refreshing site. My daughter just learned she has Celiac, so went in search of some very delicious nutritious meals and here I've found them. Thank you so much for the effort you have put into this site - it will be very helpful for me - you've done all the preparation :-). I will be back many, many times to enjoy in all your delectables. Please visit my site in your spare time at (Dance of Life). Much love, Nadie

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Kathy G said...

Congratulations a little late Shauna..I didn't even know you were pregnant! Five weeks, aye? Lots of sleep is GOOD and HEALTHY. My family is big on napping. :)

Take care!

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beans are delicious in a hearty soup with kale or swiss chard. I love a good bean dip with smashed chickpeas and rosemary. Yum!

Rest up!


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