Saturday, September 26, 2009

Peruvian Beans with Roasted Peppers, Sheep Milk Feta, and Cilantro

I bought a large bag of Peruvian beans today at the farmers market in SLO. Also known as a Mayocoba bean, this tan, oval shaped bean is similar to a pinto bean in both flavor and texture, and is used quite a bit in Latin American cooking. It cooks up nice and plump, with a creamy texture and good flavor, and it holds it shape perfectly. The beans I bought today were picked and dried just recently, so they took no time to cook, about 40 minutes with no soaking. The older the bean, the longer the cooking time!

I have never worked with this bean before, so I decided to keep it simple. I had a few small red and yellow bell peppers to use up, as well as a bunch of cilantro. I also just bought a very good, very soft and creamy sheep milk feta, and decided to incorporate that as well. The below recipe is what came out, and I really like it! My 1 year old daughter and I ate these beans with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and some steamed and marinated collard greens, all from this mornings market. Autumn is by far the best time of year at the farmers market here on the central coast!

Peruvian Beans with Roasted Peppers, Sheep Milk Feta, and Cilantro
Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as an entree with tortillas

For the Beans
-1 cup freshly dried Peruvian Beans
-1 bay leaf
-1 dried chipotle pepper
-salt to taste

Pick over the beans and discard any pebbles and/or twigs. Rinse the beans well. Place in a large, heavy bottomed pot and cover with four times the amount of water. Add in the bay leaf and chipotle and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook the beans until tender but still holding their shape, about 40 minutes. Add salt to taste and simmer five minutes more. Strain the beans, saving the broth, and discard the bay leaf. If you like heat, mince up the chipotle and add back into the beans, otherwise, discard. Set the beans and broth aside.

To Finish
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 small onion, diced small (about 4 ounces)
-1 small red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
-1 small yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
-1 large clove garlic, minced
-Cooked beans from above
-1 cup bean broth
-1/4 packed cup sheep milk feta
-1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
-salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste
-Lime wedges and fresh tortillas

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add in the onion. Saute, stirring often, until the onions begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the diced peppers and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes more. Add in the beans and the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid has reduced to about 2-3 tablespoons. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground white pepper. Serve with lime wedges and tortillas if desired.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rinconada Dairy Pozo Tomme

I want to give a wide, open arm welcome to Rinconada Dairy at the Saturday morning farmers market in SLO. Rinconada Dairy makes one of the best raw sheep's milk cheeses I have ever had. It is called Pozo Tomme,and it is delicious. Rinconada dairy showed up at the SLO Saturday morning market a couple of weeks ago, but I kept forgetting to bring extra money so I could buy a wedge of their fantastic cheese. Well, this week I remembered. The best way to eat this cheese is just as it is, though, this morning dipping it in Stotley's Bee Farm Honey was quite exceptional. Rinconada Farm also brought pasture raised chickens to the market this morning. As far as I know, they are the only local farm raising eating chickens this way. I am bringing even more extra money next week so that I can buy a chicken as well. If you are looking for healthy meats to feed your family, pasture raised and grass fed are the only way to go. Please go to the market and show your support for this great farm, I want them to stick around!!