menu planning around a hill of beans

I always have a lot of beans lying around. But somehow these beans, in their fancy individual packages, seem more, almost overwhelming.

hill of Rancho Gordo beans

Not quite, though. Just on the edge, all the way to the end of anticipation, so that it’s taken me this long, almost two weeks, to digest the reality of all these new kinds of beans, only my beloved cranberry a variety with which I’m familiar.

Of these new beans, I’ve tried just one so far: the Rio Zape. It won me over. I’m now a believer in the whole concept of heirloom beans. When you think about it this makes sense. After all, beans are vegetables. Why wouldn’t an heirloom bean be to a regular grocery store bean as an heirloom tomato is to a regular grocery store tomato? It seems obvious now. Mostly. I still want to do a taste test with the cranberry beans. But that will be the subject of another post.

Now that I’ve been turned on to this larger world of heirloom beans, I’m eager to branch out from Rancho Gordo and try other farms, other sources, like Double Helix Farms ( and Purcell Mountain Farms ( First, however, I need to cook my way through all the varieties that I have. Which is very, very exciting. And a bit daunting.

You may have noticed that I’m cooking a little less these days. I’m gradually learning to cook for one. Also, I’m still eating my way through the freezer. But the stock is getting low. Which means that my menu plan for the coming week needs to include at least one freezeable. So. Menu.

I love love love planning menus. It makes me happy. In addition to the joy I derive from thinking about food generally, I also get off on thinking about how to transform ingredients so that one dinner turns into the next. I suppose it’s the Protestant work ethic, or some secular variation on that general theme. Whatever the source, I’m grateful, as it permits me to live quite well within my means. At least when I stick to the plan. Here’s what I’m thinking for the next few days.

Great Mother Stallard beans with root vegetable hash and “cream” of broccoli soup

quesadillas with Great Mother Stallard beans and sauteed cauliflower

frittata w/ sauteed cauliflower and kale

Vegetarian chili w/ Lila beans from Rancho Gordo (this is the freezeable)

black bean burgers (from the freezer) w/ (fresh) mango salsa (

I have no idea right now whether all of this will happen. But for now it seems like a good plan. I’ll keep you posted. (hee hee!) With recipes.

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