Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bean Anywhere New Lately?

I am definitely on a bean tear. For me, part of the joy of teaching is that it keeps me doing what I talk about -- eating lots of great food. I have leftovers that I pretend someone else made for me. They are what I want to eat, and wish that I could find in restaurants -- the more low key and standard kind than upscale and pricey. I think that everyone deserves to eat tasty, wholesome food that provides incredibly nutrition such as freshly cooked dried beans, sprouted corn tortillas (made by Food for Life), some spring onion and cilantro with a bit of local hot sauce. Yum, yum.

So, let me tell you what I've been up to and thinking about. I want to mention beans again. The Rancho Gordo beans are relatively expensive at $4.95 per pound. When I mentioned the price at the demonstration that I did at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, I think that I heard a gasp. When I went on to say that it turns out that they cost 70 cents per cup, people became more interested. I also mentioned that it's likely that many of the animal products that they eat such as fish, seafood, and meat all cost more than $5 per pound, and that you'd be hard pressed to feed a family on a pound of that while you could do so with the beans. A pound of the Cellini beans makes about 7 cups (it varies with the variety cooked).

Getting people to see that buying a latte for $3 is expensive while the beans are not, is tough. But it's only one of many of the challenges that I face in my teaching. I am up for it.

Today I cooked brown tepary beans from the Tohono O'odham Nation tribe in Arizona. They are small but so delicious. They are native beans which have sustained that Native American tribe for many years. They're available from

And that brings me to another interesting project that I came across at the farmer's market in Santa Rosa.

There is a woman who has been coming there and giving away heirloom seeds for people to grow and save. Agreeing to take some home got me out of my comfort zone as I don't consider myself much of a gardener although I do grow a number of summer vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and occasionally peppers and/or eggplant. She calls what she does Seed Stewards I am kind of excited to see how these plants turn out, and if I can give them enough care.

I would love to grow some heirloom beans but know that I lack the space to do so. I only keep encouraging farmers I know to do that. Jill Adams at Crescent Moon farm told me that they will be growing 8 or 10 varieties of dried beans this year. I am very excited about that. And my friends at Tierra Vegetables will hopefully have the amazing pink beans that I bought last year, if all goes well with the crop.

And the best part about beans is that they are made for pressure cooking. So, now on to my pressure cooking DVD. And you will hear more about that, and beans, I am sure.

No comments: