Bean Freak

Husband and I lived in southern Indiana for a year just after our son was born while Husband finished his psychology internship.  It was much warmer than Winnipeg, and we were introduced to many garden plants I had never seen before. Salsify?  Who knew what it was and that you could grow it in your garden?  The real surprise for me was shell out beans. Those are  beans like navy beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans and all sorts of other beans that I had never seen grown in gardens and that you harvest fresh, not dried.  We became hooked on them.

We didn’t  grow them in our garden until the last 10 years or so due to limited space, when Husband discovered metal bean poles, and we have been growing them ever since. Growing vertically really saves space. This year we are growing Hidatsa Shield Figure Beans and Vermont Cranberry beans.  The Hidatsa beans are traditional beans grown by one of the three tribes husband works for on the Rez. They are big, plumpsters that parboil and freeze well.  I love them in soup and chili.

The problem with beans like this is that they are addictive.  You want more and more. You can read about this phenomenon in this recent New Yorker article:

Most pole bean cultivars of this type need 95-110 days to mature after they germinate. We don’t have that long of a growing season., and we will buy dried beans that we can’t grow here. Recently, I was searching beans on line and found  the source listed in the New Yorker article for dozens of exotic and long season dried beans. You could get the traditional French beans for cassoulet (Tarbais beans), flageolet beans, and every exotic South American and Caribbean bean that is currently produced. Husband had to stop me (But we have two ducks in freezer. Let’s whip up some cassoulet!)  He reminded me that we didn’t have to order pounds of beans at that moment, and that perhaps we should see what our harvest will be this fall. I agreed, but I am secretly planning an order.

What have you been obsessed with? What is your favorite bean recipe?

32 thoughts on “Bean Freak”

  1. One wall of the garage is covered in Trail of Tears black beans from Seed Savers that I maybe got in too late to have them for black bean soup this winter. They are just now starting to bloom, so we’ll see.

    With a vegetarian distance runner sometimes in residence, we go through a lot of beans, but lack of space means we usually buy them dried and I do like seeing a variety of them lined up in mason jars in the pantry.

    The s&h often requests a vegetarian Hoppin’ John we make in the slow cooker Given the proximity of his birthday to New Year’s it’s a logical birthday dinner. . We never eat veggie brats, but they do add a nice bit of extra flavor sliced up into that at the very end, about the time the pot of rice gets started.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. yep
      the new brats are tasty by incredible meat. the old tofurkey are gluten based and kick my guts too hard
      the new stuff is too expensive but tasty. burger king now offers ultimate burger for $3.00 i have a new favorite lunch spot to match subway
      i am a chili guy
      tomato sauce with cumin and beans with onions are the start, the finish depends on the moment

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You might just get some of those beans, as you have a much longer growing season than we do. Our pole beans are still flowering and also have pods that are filling out. I hope for a at least 8 more weeks before our first killing frost.


  2. i am obsessed with sex drugs and rock and roll
    i don’t participate in the same way as days gone by but there’s something about feeling good that feels right
    amazon is my current obsession
    what an interesting new phenomenon
    my partner is a whiz kid and it’s my job to keep her busy
    it’s great
    beans are a favorite of mine. i will look at renee’s article and try some variations
    i tend to add onions garlic and mushrooms along with spices of the direction of the day
    maybe a tomato sauce with herbs and peppers to direct it.
    i whipped up a batch of that last week added a couple eggs and made a bean loaf i have been tweaking for a couple days.
    i make brown food almost exclusively and beans are usually a big part of it. the new ultimate meat formula calls for peas rather than beans as a base. i’ll look at it too, oh yeah rice in the bean loaf has been good and also pasta
    i mix in a veggie black bean burger or two and have a couple meals of eating
    obsession with political ethics is the thought of the day, they don’t have to be oxymorons. al franken got screwed. too bad he was first up on the me too agenda. they didn’t choose well
    let he without sin cast the first stone. easy to find real genuine ethics cases. what’s the best way to go forward, focus on the end.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Ranch Gordo bean guy from the New Yorker article grows a bean he found especially for Marcella Hazen, the Italian cookbook author. It is a thin skinned cannellini bean she had in Italy but couldn’t find in the US. He named it Marcella, after her.


  4. When I was hired by Surdyk’s in the early 90s to be a wine consultant, I became obsessed with turning myself into a “wine expert” as quickly as possible. I read numerous books, tasted lots of wines with the staff (on the job, by the way! But mostly spit, don’t swallow), tried to memorize the chief DOCs, AOCs, appellations, viticultural areas, grape varietals, best producers in the main growing areas, best vintage years for each region. You name it, I wanted to know it about wine. I kept extensive tasting notes, cheat sheets that I used when customers asked me about specific wines or regions. And I faked it a bit too. Wine is just too damn expansive of a world to know it all, or even most. But the more I learned, the more I was able to make educated guesses and recommendations for customers. Rarely had someone stomp back to the store, get in my face, and say, “You ruined my dinner party with that swill you sold me the other day!” (Okay, I actually NEVER had a customer say anything like that to me. 🙂 )

    One of my favorite cassoulet recipes is from the book Cuisine Rapide by Pierre Franey. He did a cooking show on PBS in the late 70s-early 80s. It’s called “Cassoulet a la Minute`” (sp?) and is designed to only take about an hour to prepare. I tried it after making a Gourmet magazine recipe that takes about 24 hrs start to finish. Pretty darn hard to tell the difference, so it’s been my go-to cassoulet recipe for about 20 years.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My Favorite Black Bean Soup
    1 lb thick smoked bacon
    2 medium finely chopped onion
    2 finely chopped celery stalks
    2 large carrots, diced
    1 bay leaf
    3 large garlic cloves, minced
    1¼ tsp thyme
    2 tbsp cumin, divided
    1 tsp fresh black pepper
    2 tsp oregano
    3 tsp tomato paste
    4 qts chicken broth, divided
    1 lb dried black beans
    6 tbsp lime juice (4 limes)
    ¼ tsp Tabasco
    ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
    ½ c finely chopped coriander leaves

    Soak beans overnight and discard water. Cut bacon into small pieces. In large soup pot, cook bacon cubes over medium-high heat 10-12 minutes, stirring, until brown and crisp. Add onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, 1 tbsp of cumin, pepper and oregano. Stir to blend and cover the pot. Cook 5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add tomato paste and stir briefly. Add 2 qts broth and refrigerate. When cold, skim off bacon fat. Add rest of the broth and bring the soup to a boil. Add beans to soup, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Stir in lime juice, Tabasco, cayenne, coriander and remaining cumin. Remove bay leaf.

    This is the best bean soup I used to cook. Sorry about the bacon. I’m confident the soup would be okay without the bacon.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I grew up with VanKamps Pork and beans. And I knew there were green beans in the garden and soybeans in the fields.
    Beyond that I did not know there was any other kind of bean and I’ve been suspicious of all of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. my mom calls that good farm food
      my father in law grew up in southern illinois on a farm where they grew all their own food and he went more for the mom cooking side than the boys farming side . he was 5th if 7 boys and didn’t like taking direction from 4 older brothers so he makes roast with potato’s carrots and onion. meat loaf, pancakes, hamburgers, pickles, creamed peas, canned horseradish, tomatoes, beans, pearl onions, nothing with spice or sauce or treatment other than farm and everyone loves his cooking and he loves to cook
      he does a 3 bean salad with vinegar and sugar my wife loves

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My mother had a bean soup in her recipe rotation, a bland navy bean soup she cooked in her pressure cooker. We’d get that soup about every two weeks, served with saltine crackers. One day something went wrong. The Presto literally blew its top, sending beans flying in all directions. Years after the explosion some beans were still stuck on the kitchen ceiling. To this day my sister loves that soup. It is the only one of our mother’s recipes she learned to prepare. To me it tasted like pure starch. I’d rather eat live bugs than another bowl of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. While I do love beans, I generally just use the basics. Although I’ve seen the Hidatsa and Vermont Cranberry beans that Renee mentioned in the Seed Savers catalog. My favorite bean recipes are generally hummus, minestrone soup, black bean burgers and, of course, baked beans.

    I never tried growing beans, but when I helped out with the harvesting at St. John’s University last year I saw their rows and rows of beans that looked amazing. It was the third week of September and I could see all the seed pods with seeds inside.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I occasionally get obsessed with how everything around here looks, realize it’s time to neaten up, put things away, and clean the surfaces. This does not all happen on the same day, usually, so it may seem to Husband) like I’ve become a neat-freak. In honesty, it is often company coming that is the catalyst.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. i find days when i pay attention to my gluten distain make me feel so good in comparison to the days when i snarf a jelly donut and a bowl of hash browns with cheese which taste good but leave me bloated and looking for a couch to nap on


    1. it’s surprising i havent figured out it is a good idea to eat my bean thing cincocoction with a bowl of fruit on the side
      im not full but i’m not hungry either
      probably best overall mode to shoot for

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful post, Renee, thanks. Also loved reading the article from the New Yorker magazine.

    Here on the West Side we have for several years had a “Beans on the Boulevard” project going. It’s a project designed to encourage people to grow their own food. It has met with a somewhat limited success.

    At the small local farmer’s market there is a Mexican family selling an assortment of dried beans that they have grown themselves later in the season. Like the ones in the article above, they are more expensive than the ones you can buy at the store, but they are so much tastier, and they have varieties that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Can’t wait to see what their offerings will be this year.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’m afraid what I’ve been obsessed with lately is our friend W’s situation. As he declines, more and more has fallen on our shoulders, although there is a small network of people who help out, and some in-home health aide hours provided by the VA. The hardest part is that we now seem to be the ones to decide about him going into asst. living, and it’s been weighing on me for weeks. I want something finalized soon so that I feel free to think about something else.

    For instance, I could do a post about whining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you knew that you were moving to winona and would be close to monitor him
      watch out what you wish for
      i’m glad he’s in caring hands
      he’s lucky
      assisted living is tough when you go in as a dementia guy.
      is there a dementia home situation like where there is a live in care provider?


      1. Yes, that’s why I mentioned the whining.

        He has memory loss, but so far I would not call it dementia. There wouldn’t be room for a live-in person (small 1-bedroom apt.) He’s started to feel unsafe there, falling when getting up from couch, etc. I think he finally needs to be somewhere with constant.


  13. Oh, and my favorite thing with beans is a simple turkey chili that I can throw together practically in my sleep, vary the veggies and the meats. I usually use canned beans but would like to start experimenting with the crock pot once cooler weather comes.


    1. Sometimes we soak dry beans. Other times I do them in a pressure cooker. The fresh beans I just boil, or in the pressure cooker for a shorter time than the dry beans.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. i soaked them overnight for years, then i read a coookbook where the guy passed himself off as a bean pro and he said never to bother soaking just heat em up. it makes life so much easier. he had one rule. no salt til your done softening them up . spices yes salt no
      works good

      Liked by 1 person

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