Your cow for these beans
In a year of of forclosures, bailouts, and generally depressing economic news, frugality has become hip. Restaurants are offering special recession menus and it seems like every other food-focused magazine has spent the winter touting home-cooking and comfort food. Somehow, I became caught up in all of this and developed an interest in my new slow-cooker and a somewhat inexplicable fascination with beans. Maybe it was this article from Food and Wine, but then again, I guess I've always liked beans--even before they were trendy.
Recognizing my fixation, LSB presented me with the coolest Valentine's Day gift--3 sacks of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. Legumes of love. While these beans aren't the simple, cheap fellas you can get at the supermarket, they are darn pretty looking and they came with a sexy Mexican bean lady pin-up calendar, of sorts. The company is interesting, too, as Rancho Gordo works "to help small farmers continue to grow their indigenous beans in Mexico, despite international trade policies that seem to discourage genetic diversity and local food traditions."
The "beans, come hither" look
Herein lies the problem--what do you do with such cool-looking, genetically diverse beans? I had intially planned to use them in this recipe, but at the last minute decided they weren't a good match and went with some plain old Goya pinto beans instead (which were delicious, nonetheless--how can you go wrong with the 3 B's of cuisine: beans, beer and bacon?).
Now my precious Vaquitas, Flor de Castilla, and Ayocote Morado sit perched atop our baker's rack, the eyes of the bean chica on the label gazing at me with culinary longing, while I search for a bean dish worthy of their virtue.