Monday, February 12, 2007

Organic, Homemade Refried Beans

When at home, Mr. CC has organic steel-cut oats with cut up apples for breakfast and black bean tacos for lunch. Dinner of course is a whole other thing but, day in and day out, what he has for breafast and lunch is pretty constant.

He's also disgustingly healthy: all his "numbers" are so normal they make me grumble. Where I have to watch everything I put in my mouth lest it goes directly to my hips (except for what's deposited in my arteries), the 5 extra pounds he carries on his 6-foot frame is wholly due to what I cook up at dinner time. As in, if I didn't cook, he'd weigh the same he's weighed for the past 25 years and not an ounce more.

I attribute all that healthiness to his regimen of cooked oats and black bean tacos with, I'm sure, a goodly dose of non-fat, low-cholesterol genes.

Here's what goes in his tacos: locally produced Bien Padre corn tortillas, Monterey jack cheese, organic canned refried black beans, avocado slices, and Pico Pica hot sauce. Variations on the theme might be the addition of leftover fish or chicken from the night before. But those four ingredients are pretty much his staples.

I bought these dried organic beans at our local farmers market this past fall and finally brought them out of the cupboard last night to use in a stew I'm making this evening (post coming soon).

Thinking I would remember the name of these beauties, I failed to write it on the tag and now of course can't come up with it. I even went on-line to Rancho Gordo but didn't find them there. And by the way, if you want the best organic beans on the local market, Napa, California's Rancho Gordo's are hard to beat.

This morning after draining the beans from their soaking water, I had way too many for the stew so decided to make Mr. CC some refried beans. Well, they're not actually re-fried per se, because all I did was add ingredients to the beans then mash them all together - no re-frying occured. They turned out so good I'm going to share the recipe regardless of what they should be called, a recipe which is about as simple as a recipe gets. If you, as Mr CC does, like your beans organic, mashed, and daily, give this alternative-to-canned a try.

Mr. CC's Refried Beans
Christine's Original Recipe
Makes 2 cups

1 1/2 cups cooked organic dry beans
2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons Frontier brand Fiesta Chili Powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice, divided
1 teaspoon organic dried oregano

In a large bowl, roughly mash the beans with a fork.
Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and mash until incorporated.
Add the chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the oregano and mash until incorporated.
Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until blended. (Depending on the dryness of the beans, you may need more olive oil than I've stated.)
Stir in the lemon juice, a small amount at a time, tasting until it has the flavor you like.
Adjust the salt if needed.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Cook's Notes:
Mr CC didn't just like these, he LOVED them. I consider him a connoisseur of re-fried beans and take high praise in his assessment of mine.

Please note the use of Meyer lemon juice in this recipe. I've been using my Meyer lemons every day since receiving them from Bill and Erika and am having a love affair with their heavenly, gentle lemon-tangerine scent and flavor. If you use regular lemon juice in this recipe, it may turn out well but it will not be the same.

2/13/07: After doing some further Google research, I found the name of the beans and a link: They're called Orca and you can see and buy them here. I also found a bean called Vaquero at Rancho Gordo that looks very similar to the Orca.