There was a time when I held great disdain for guacamole. I just scraped it off my Mexican food. Even the scrapings of guacamole would make me burp guacamole flavor. I don’t know if there is ever a time when a guacamole belch is pleasant.
Maybe a year ago, a friend offered some guacamole. My immediate reaction was to refuse it but something inside told me to try it. I dipped a chip and I was hooked. I ate all of his guacamole.
I don’t make it all the time because avocados are kinda pricey and I sometimes get irritated at the ten minutes of effort to make it.
Bear in mind that I cannot stand cilantro. I can detect it in the most minute amounts. It is an indescribable flavor that makes me think of well, I can’t describe it. If you choose to add cilantro don’t tell me about it as it makes me seethe with rage. The moment when David Banner’s eyes turn a scary whitish blue. Or is it bluish white?
Here’s my take on guacamole:
1/2 onion, minced
4 peperoncini, minced (I used Mezzetta brand)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon Tony Cachere’s
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
4 ounces corn
8 ounces kidney beans
1/2 can Rotel with habaneros
Juice from 1/2 lime
Peel and mash avocados. If you are a guacamole champion, you will leave some chunks in it. Add all ingredients and mix well. Normally, I mince a fresh Serrano instead of pickled peppers, but I use what I have on hand. If you try the Mezzetta peperoncinis with dill and garlic, you’ll be impressed. Crazy Tasty. Without the SPAM. Someday I may show you my quadruple decker SPAM sandwich. Or is it quintuple? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I have heart disease.
Every Easter, we end up with a couple of dozen boiled eggs. Boiled eggs are great, but what else can you do? You can always make deviled eggs. I wanted a simple sandwich today, so I made egg salad.
I have never made egg salad before, but there’s nothing to it. Eggs, mayo, mustard, etc. I did not use any recipes for inspiration for this endeavor. Fortunately, I had the forethought to write it down. DO NOT skip the smoked sausage. The sausage really brings out the egg flavor. And the sausage flavor.
Note: I have not received any promotional consideration for any of the above products. These are products I prefer. I certainly won’t shill a product I don’t believe in.
Cut sausage link in half and throw in a skillet to heat up. While the sausage is sizzling, chop boiled eggs and place into a bowl. Mince peperoncini and add to the eggs. Dump in paprika, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, mayonnaise, and mustard.
Once the sausage is good and sizzly, take one half of the sausage and half it again. Then, chop those two quarters and throw the pieces into the egg mixture. The other half sausage link makes a great snack while you are making egg salad. Or you can give it to the kids since they probably won’t be eating any egg salad.
Mix the ingredients together and throw on some bread. Enjoy.
I would really appreciate any feedback when you try this recipe. It’s a work in progress. I may cut back on the cajun seasoning because of the salt content, but my wife said it was perfect. I also think it may do well with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, but that is for another culinary adventure.
I can’t say I’m a black bean aficionado as I rarely eat them, but I have been craving them lately. Actually, this isn’t my first attempt at black beans. In 2012, I made them in Haiti at Nehemiah Vision Ministries. I spent two weeks there preparing mostly comfort food for Americans on mission.
We are still working our debt snowball. Dave Ramsey inspired us to eat lots of rice and beans. And beans and rice.
This is the first time I have made black beans in my home. In my dutch oven. I love that pot. Anyway, I thought I’d start taking down the recipe before I forgot what I did.
(Note: I just eyeballed the spices. As always, season to your own taste. Too bad I didn’t have any serranos or I would have minced a couple. Plus, I have to keep it mild enough for my kids’ wuss palates).
Soak beans overnight. Change water periodically.
Split andouille in half lengthwise, then split those two halves in half. Chop the four lengths of sausage.
Toss sausage into pot to brown. I know you are going to think I’m some nut carrying on about the Maillard reaction. I guess I am.
Time to add the seasoning blend. Normally, I would chop onions, peppers, and celery myself, but when my joints are causing issues I try to stay off of my feet. Pictsweet came to the rescue. I almost forgot the garlic. Never forget the garlic.
Saute until onions are translucent.
Drain and rinse beans. Add to pot. Be sure to add bay leaves, cayenne, black pepper, white pepper, paprika, chicken base and Hatch chile powder. I order my chile powder from New Mexico. If you want to rock the McCormick, be my guest.
Fill pot with water and simmer approximately 90 minutes while occasionally stirring.
(I’m a self admitted hack, but I have not received any promotional consideration. If I ever become a professional hack where companies want me to shill their products, you’ll be the first to know).
I know I’m making big claims, but I know you will be hard pressed to find better beans elsewhere. I grew up on Great Northern beans where the seasoning consisted of diced ham, chopped onion, salt, and pepper. That’s how my mom cooked them. Great Northern beans are a very neutral legume, so this simple preparation is satisfactory. They used to be my favorite, but after a couple of years testing out different pinto bean preparations, I have decided that I would much rather have pintos.
Pinto beans are also versatile. I’ll have a bowl of beans. I’ll make refried beans with leftovers to enjoy with eggs. Leftovers find their way into chilis, stews, and even spaghetti. If you have a great recipe that calls for beans, these lowly beans will elevate the the dish to levels that cannot otherwise be attained.
1 1/2 pounds dried pinto beans
2 beef short ribs
1 bell pepper
1 stalk celery
1 anaheim chile
1 white onion
1 link andouille sausage
2 strips bacon (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme (I usually use dried thyme leaves, but this is what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons chimayo blend chile (more on this later)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
7 cloves garlic-minced
2 tablespoons beef base
2 teaspoons cumin
1 can Rotel
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Sort and soak beans in water the night before. Rinse thoroughly before you are ready to cook.
Chop all vegetables and set aside.
Measure seasonings. (paprika, thyme, oregano, white pepper, chimayo blend chile, and black pepper. (I purchased this Chimayo blend chile online from New Mexico. They are known for their Hatch chiles and I want to do everything possible to make my beans taste great. I’m merely sharing where I bought my chile powder because I like the product. If you want to use something better than McCormick, that is one place to look. By the way, I use many different McCormick products. They’re great. When you find something even better, you need to snatch that opportunity.) Save the cumin until later as cooking it too long can make it bitter. Add seasonings to a bowl for a later step.
Preheat pot. I use a cast iron dutch oven for my beans and it has served me well. Once heated, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Salt and pepper beef short ribs and brown. Remember the Maillard reaction I described in my jambalaya recipe? This is important for flavorful beans. Typically, the meat will initially stick to the bottom of the pan. After it has formed that crust, or scab, the meat will release. At that point, you can turn the meat to brown the other sides. If you are really patient, you can brown the edges with the aid of tongs.
Remove the ribs and set aside. Hopefully, you have prechopped the andouille. I prefer Manda, but Savoie’s is a good choice. Cut it lengthwise. Then cut the two halves lengthwise again. Now you can dice it up into small triangle-ish pieces. Add the andouille and finely chopped bacon to brown.
At this point, add chopped vegetables and cook to soften. Once the vegetables are about halfway done, add the garlic and short ribs. You don’t want to add the garlic too soon or it could turn bitter. All vegetables will be ready for the next stage once the onion is translucent.
Add 1/2 cup red wine (I had some Bordeaux on hand). I don’t drink, but I often cook with alcohol. Never use cooking wine. It is inferior. I don’t know how to judge wines, but I figure a $10-$15 wine will work nicely). Deglaze pot with wine and add in beans, spice blend, and Rotel. Fill pot with water and simmer slowly for about an hour.
At this point, you can add cumin. (I actually have a spice blend that I got in Honduras. I know the main ingredient is cumin, but I have not identified the others. For all I know it’s ground coca leaves.) You also want to add the beef base. I’ve used both the powdered and pudding-like base. I like the latter one better, but the former is easier to store and doesn’t take up valuable refrigerator space.
This is a good time to remove the beef ribs to cool. Once cooled, dice up what little meat is there and reintroduce to the bean pot.
Simmer around another 1/2 hour to an hour and you have an incredible pot of beans.
These beans go terrific with flour tortillas or buttery cornbread.
This is my recipe that I finally wrote down to minimize variation. Feel free to share it, but please credit me accordingly. Also, if you have a better recipe, I’ll be glad to try it out.