Mexican Black Beans

Inspired by How To Boil Water: life beyond takeout, from the Food Network. But their version is “baked mexican black beans” and I didn’t want to bake it, and they use canned tomatoes, and I don’t like them (BPA), and, well, mine’s just a touch different.

1 pound dried black beans, soaked
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t cumin
2 bay leaves
6 cups liquid (water, chicken broth, champagne…)
1 jalapeno
1.5 t salt
a bunch of tomatoes, chopped (the recipe calls for a 14-oz can, diced; I used about 8-10 good-sized romas)
1 T cider vinegar

1. cut bacon into littel pieces; cook on med in a dutch oven until almost crisp. Add garlic, onion, cumin, and bay leaf. Cook until tender.

2. Add beans, liquid, the whole jalapeno, salt, and some pepper (a good grind or two). Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up any tasty bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for ~1 hour.

3. Add the tomatoes & their juices. Cook until tender (~1-2 more hours), covered. Add 1 T vinegar.

Serve over brown rice with your choice of toppings (feta, cilantro, sour cream, salsa, etc)

Sayaingen no gomayogoshi (String bean salad with sesame seed dressing)

From a much-mimeographed (yes, really!) set of recipes my mom got in a how-to-make-sushi class she took many, many years ago. These beans are to die for, they are that good. Truly. AT LEAST double the recipe, but I recommend quadrupling it.

1/2 lb string beans, boiled and then cut diagonally (cutting them after boiling keeps them from getting soggy, or so say the hand-written notes)
6 Tbs. sesame seeds, ground (Can use a mortar and pestle, if you’re crazy, or a blender or food processor if you enjoy modern conveniences and want to eat sometime this year. <- my notes) 3 Tbs sugar 3 Tbs shoyu (soy sauce. tamari will work too, of course) 1. Boil string beans in water with a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes. 2. Drain the beans and rinse in cold running water, drain well. (Handwritten: important, to keep the color.) 3. In a bowl, combine sesame, sugar, and shoyu. Add beans. Mix well.