Happy New Year! To start the year off right, I want to share an incredible food discovery that will make cooking ridiculously easy – Rancho Gordo dried heirloom beans with all of their varieties. I know ‘dried beans’ and ‘easy’ aren’t a natural pair but stay with me for a minute. I have always loved beans of almost every kind, but never liked going to the effort of buying dry beans and soaking them overnight. Even the quick soak method seemed like too much work when I could easily open a can of butter beans or dark red kidney beans (two of my favorites).
I had lunch a few months ago with Deb from the luscious food blog Smitten Kitchen. She described her recent discovery of the ‘best beans she had ever tasted.’ Always looking for ways to explore new tastes and delight the palate, I went home that night and immediately started researching the beans. Rancho Gordo sells varieties of heirloom beans for $5-6 a pound plus shipping. While my love of beans urged me to go through with it, I just couldn’t justify the expense.
Fast forward to December – I found myself at the San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Rancho Gordo stand. In addition to their heirloom beans they also sell dried corn and tortilla chips. Their stand boasted some of the most unusual beans I had ever seen and I also spied the best corn tortilla chips I had ever had (my friends Alex and Heather had let me forage in their kitchen where I devoured them the night before). The beans were a better fit in my carry-on luggage than the bags of tortilla chips; beans got the nod, though it was a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ of sorts for me.
I decided to cook up something with Rancho Gordo’s Christmas Lima Beans last week. They were so good and so simple. It’s amazing how much easier cooking is with a few quality ingredients. While $5 is still a bit pricey for dried beans, they expand to much more than 1 pound, making the cost approximately equivalent to my previous go-to: canned beans. I also realized how convenient dried beans are for a single girl like me – I can measure out just as much as I want, rather than having to deal with how to use the rest of the can.
It’s not really fair to call this a “recipe” since it’s just 5 ingredients – beans, rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Well, my Dad would call that a recipe. It was inspired by a dish Katie and I had during my gluten-free tour of Italy.
Gluten-Free Lima Beans with Rosemary and Olive Oil
Soak the beans, cook in the soaking liquid or chicken/vegetable broth until of the desired consistency (I like mine a little al dente). Drain and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary to taste.
Ranch Gordo has a cooking primer on their site if you want more info – but they believe simple is better. I can’t wait to try some of the other varieties. Have you made any new food discoveries recently?Tweet Pin It
Is there a restaurant or bakery you want me to check-out? A product you want me to review? Any other questions or feedback?
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