I'm a bean person; I love beans. When I was younger, one of my favorite lunches was a baked bean sandwich. Multigrain bread, mayo and baked beans. It was a sloppy mess to eat because with each bite several beans fell out, but I didn't mind. And the soup that I've made every winter since I was in my twenties is a mixed bean and veggie soup that is still a favorite.
So, beans and I are buds.
And, since I have recently become vegan, I'm trying to incorporate more beans into my diet. Thanks to Heidi Swanson's wonderful food blog, I was turned on to Rancho Gordo beans. They are beautiful! Some are like little pieces of art in their own right. Take a look at these Vaquero beans from their site:
They were so pretty, I just had to order some, along with all you see here on my kitchen counter: (Click picture to see their prettiness.)
I love the different sizes and colors; I can't find anything like these in the stores around here. I read somewhere recently that the beans in the grocery stores can sometimes be years and years old and who knows how they are grown or where they came from. At Rancho Gordo I like that they don't have any genetically altered seeds or plants. All the beans are heirloom varieties and I can plant them myself if I want to and get the exact same bean. That is very cool.
This past weekend I decided to try Heidi's Carrot, Dill and White Bean Salad recipe. It looked intriguing and I was in the mood for a bean salad. Only I used my newly purchased Mayacoba beans instead of white beans and fresh lemon thyme instead of dill since I didn't have any dill but had a whole bush of thyme. Well, let me tell you, the salad is scrumptious. Heidi has a talent for combining flavors, texture and colors and this is at least the fifth recipe of hers I've tried that has been a winner.
Here are the Mayacoba beans I used:
And how they looked after soaking all night:
And in the pot ready to cook, along with some onion, celery and carrots:
And the end-result salad:
My salad looks different from Heidi's for several reasons: different beans, different herb and I kept the veggies that I cooked with the beans in the salad. I just couldn't see tossing them. They had mostly disintegrated so were very soft and small. Then I froze the broth for the next soup I make.
I'd never eaten shallots raw before. I use them often, but have always sauteed them. I might have a new addiction; they imparted such a nice flavor to the salad that I could barely stop eating it.
I highly recommend Heidi's recipes and Rancho Gordo beans; they are wonderful.