Monday, May 29, 2006

Tired of bland black beans? I know I am. After a visit to a Mexican restaurant while on vacation recently, where I was served some very bland beans, I feel the world needs some schooling on how to make these. So I start here. This is a "recipe" I learned from working at a Mexican restaurant and from the handful of Mexicans I worked with during my externship. I use quotes because I will give you no measurements here. Use your head. Put in what looks good and makes sense. I will be nice and give approx. counts though.

In a large pot, place:
black beans (which you've, of course, soaked overnight. Right?)
garlic (approx 1-2 cloves to every cup of black beans) - crushed
onions (approx 1/2 large to each cup) - quartered

Cover with only the amount of water needed to cover. Bring to simmer.
Continue to simmer until beans are soft. You will need to add additional water while simmering, as well as stir occasionally.
When the beans are almost soft, stop adding water, stir more and let the rest of the water just evaporate.

Remove the garlic and onions. If you don't get them all, it's no big deal, they're basically mush by now.
Finish with some salt to taste. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SALT.
Top with finely chopped white onions and cilantro.

** Addition: If you can find it, add some dried epazote to the simmering dish. Cleveland folks, you can get this easily at Mi Pueblo. Just a large pinch **

Options for meat eaters:
When simmering, add pork fat/lard. It'll taste that much better.
Top with Mexican chorizo when finished.

You can use these beans for tacos, smashed and fried for refried beans, for the base of an awesome bean salad or just used on their own.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I realize it's been over a month since my last post and even longer since my last "real" post, but I promise this will change. As of yesterday, I am done with my externship! They did offer to hire me in for freelance, but I really need some steady work now. Just one job, 5 days a week. So, I am going to work full-time at the cheese shop. I enjoy it and it's something I can do with little stress.

My externship was definitely an enjoyable experience though. The people were friendly and I feel like I learned alot. I don't know how I feel about the length of time I was required to work for free. There were folks from another local culinary school there who only had to work 95 (I had to do 210), but it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to have gone through it.

Anyways, so I am on to a semi-regular schedule for awhile. I promise to post more.
For those looking for a consistent weekly, non-personal, post though: check out, where I contribute a weekly cheese review.