Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cuban Black Beans (Page 267)

  • Date: Monday, February 11, 2008 -- 10pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

The "Grains and Beans" section is my new favorite section in The Book. I can't help myself. That section contains the kind of food I crave: beans, rice, polenta, etc... This recipe was delicious. These beans were cooked for four and a half hours, and that slow-cook paid off. They had a great texture and a deep slow-cooked flavor. Very little went into this recipe: beans, bacon fat, onion, green pepper, cider vinegar, bay leaf and salt. That's it. But a long cook melded those flavors together into something wonderful. The dish was all about the beans, but the seasoning, vegetables, and bacon fat gave the dish some depth. Because the dish isn't strongly flavored, these beans would be a lovely accompaniment to all sort of things. They would be great served with rice, or barbequed ribs, or in a taco or burrito. I ate them all by themselves and they were delicious. I also spooned some on top of my macaroni and cheese, and that was delicious too! This is an excellent recipe to have around for some basic, tasty, slow-cooked beans.

Here is the recipe.

Happy Valentine's Day! I am not a person who is either terribly excited about Valentine's Day, or terribly opposed to it. I loved it as a little kid -- I adored those candy conversation hearts, and we were required to give a valentine to every person in our class, so it was a guarantee that I would get one from Rudi (the boy I had a crush on!). That elementary school charm soon wore off though. I have had a couple really good Valentine's Days as an adult, and a couple pretty crappy ones. Last year was the worst, although it had nothing to do with my special gentleman friend, or really the holiday at all. I spent most of Valentine's Day last year at the hospital with Chris and Michael. In the weeks prior she had many tests, and that day was the last in the battery. It was also the day that the oncologist told us that her tumor was inoperable. It wasn't a good day. What I remember about it most of all is that Chris and I went to the cafeteria to pick up some lunch while Michael was waiting for the oncologist to come back from some meeting. We bought Michael a turkey sandwich and we all sat in the waiting room eating together. A few hours later, when Michael called her husband to tell him that the doctor had said the tumor was inoperable, she started the conversation by saying what a pleasant day it had been, and how Chris and I had bought her the most delicious sandwich! I'll never forget that moment. I was crying but Michael was so calm, and so upbeat. She remaining that way throughout the duration of her illness. I think of her and miss her all the time, but especially today...

On a lighter note, tonight I am off to Boston for the weekend! I haven't been to Boston since November, and I am very much looking forward to it.


Laura said...

I love Cuban black beans! I was lucky enough to go to Cuba in 2004 and the food was unbelievably good--black beans and rice are served as a side dish at every meal. If you want to try another recipe for Cuban black beans, I highly recommend this one:

There are more Cuban recipes on this site too...the Pollo Agridulce is amazing!

Mike Hill said...

Your stories about Michael really show what an amazing woman she was. To be able to face what for most people is unthinkable while still focusing on the positive, joyous parts of life is something I hope someday to have the strength to do.

Of course, you, Teena, are also a source of inspiration for many of us who read your `blog. Not just because you can cook like a fancy TV personality, but primarily because of the way you face challenges head on.

Have fun in Boston!

Teena said...

Laura: That recipe looks delicious too! Yum....

Mike: Thanks! Yes, Michael was an amazing woman, and I learned a lot from her, especially in the last few months of her life...

Fancy TV personality? Me? Awww... thanks!