Tag Archives: Rancho Gordo

Hot Summer, Cool Eats (Cooking with Dried Legumes II; Tik Marij)

It’s Too Darn Hot

So there’s a heat wave going on. And I don’t have AC. ¬†

The last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove. So … hummus sandwiches are nice … the first several times … and then oh, they can get so borrrring!

Ho-hummus ūüė¶

And you know, I kind of hate to eat hummus at home. Why? Because usually it’s the only non-vegan option when I go out for lunch. Don’t get me wrong. I love me those chickpeas! And you never want to bite the hummus that feeds. Well, I guess you do. ¬†You know what I mean.

Maybe I could try making a bean spread that is not hummus?  After all, I just got in this huge shipment of muy fabuloso Rancho Gordo beans!


When bad things happen to good beans ... They were perfect and delicious until I mangled them, argh!

When I tried to make a bean spread, though, I learned why hummus is king.  

This stuff didn’t look good. It tasted like bland baby food. I haven’t given up, but man, I’m going to stop ragging on hummus. That stuff is genius.

Two Trendy

So after the great spread failure, it was back to the drawing board for me.  

I think it’s safe to say that¬†Rancho Gordo¬†beans are officially trendy. And the other “It Girl” of 2011 would have to be … the coconut. Coconut water is everywhere. And coconut oil has been getting a second look these days as people update their views about healthy and unhealthy fats. These two ingredients have been on my mind lately because, well, people are talking about them. With their mouths full.¬†

Now I’m not one to follow trends slavishly. But nor am I one to ignore a good idea when it comes to me: ¬†fabulous summer rice and beans dish, served at room temperature, with the tropical flavors of coconut and lime. Yes, please!

This time, the recipe gods smiled down on me. So with that, I give you …

The Dragon Fruit Summer Edition:  Coconut Rice and Beans

Serves 1

It was love at first bite. And the next one. And the next. You get the idea.


Please note: it is important to cook the rice and beans in advance, allowing at least enough time for them to come to room temperature, unless you want the dish to be hot. This dish will still taste great even if your rice and beans are a few days old.
1 c cooked brown rice (I used Trader Joe’s brown jasmine rice)
1 c cooked beans (Any kind will do, see note below)
1-2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
1-2 small green onions, chopped
1/3 c mango, either ripe or green, chopped; or a crunchy vegetable of your choice such as diced cucumber
Bunch of cilantro to taste, minced
Juice and zest of 1/4 – 1/2 lime (I think more is better!)
Lots of ground black pepper (I like to use 1/4 t of it or maybe even more)
Sea salt to taste


Cook rice and beans in advance, allowing at least enough time for these ingredients to come to room temperature before assembling.

In a microwaveable bowl, combine rice and beans. If these ingredients are cold from the refrigerator, microwave for a little bit until just warm.

Gently heat coconut oil (if solid) until it just melts. Drizzle over rice and beans and mix thoroughly. Heating the coconut oil too much tends to compromise the flavor, so I would advise against putting it in the microwave (although I have done it myself).

Add other ingredients, mix thoroughly.  Done!  SO simple, no?

Honestly, it's almost not fair how easy this dish is to throw together.

Note on beans: ¬†The best beans to use are fresh, but canned will do very well. The best variety of beans to use is something with a milder flavor – like pinto beans. (Using all black beans overwhelmed the other flavors.)¬†The bean I used here in this picture is the Rancho Gordo Tiger’s Eye (see photo below). It’s a nice medium flavor. Ideally, I would have used 3/4 c of the Tiger’s Eye and 1/4 c of black beans, probably from a can. I played around with the bean combinations and really liked the way adding some black beans enhanced the depth of the dish.

I liked it so much that I didn’t take any pictures and ate all my black beans.

To cook beans, check out the RG method:  http://www.ranchogordo.com/html/rg_cook_beans_primer.htm

I just soak for a few hours or overnight and simmer them in water. Plain water.

Rancho Gordo Tiger's Eye, before cooking.

Note on lime, black pepper, and salt: ¬†Really the star of this dish is the zing that brings it all together, the lime, black pepper, and salt combination. I didn’t invent it. ¬†The Cambodians did. It’s known as Tik Marij. ¬†If you can get your hands on Cambodian Kampot pepper, do it! But any black pepper will do. It’s a brilliant, tart, mouth-watering sauce that adds life to any dish.


!!Yo Quiero Rancho Gordo!! (Cooking with Dried Legumes I)

The Musical Fruit

Some say adding kombu (the stuff that is not the beans or the onion) helps, er, tone down the music.

Beans. If you are like me, you did not grow up eating them regularly and most often paid attention to beans when mocking them. We all know that song from grade school:  

Beans, beans, the musical fruit – the more you eat, the more you toot – the more you toot, the better you feel, so let’s eat beans at every meal!

The ending is sarcastic. You wouldn’t be caught dead eating beans after hearing that song. ¬†

So, maybe beans make you musical. If so, I’m sorry. But if you’re willing to look past the bad reputation they had in grade school – and who really deserved a bad rep at that age? – you can learn to love the legume.

“Cool Beans”

Unlike people, not all beans are created equal. The most fabulous,fun, and flavorful beans out there that I’ve found are from Rancho Gordo. Check out their site. It’s informative and super-cute. If you can’t find RG beans where you live, you can order from the website. Awesomeness! What makes RG beans so special is the fact that they aren’t just any old beans. They are old heirloom varieties of beans, stuff you probably have never tried before. What’s more, they’re very farmer-friendly and have changed lives in Mexico. Incredible.

If you know the difference between an heirloom tomato and a cheap, canned conventional tomato, well, it gives you an idea of the difference between cheap canned beans (which I do like!) and the heirloom variety.

Honestly, it’s just cool to try out new foods that are nutritious and delicious. ¬†I saw RG Christmas Lima beans the other day and picked them up. I love giant lima beans. ¬†Their texture is so meaty (sorry if that phraseology offends anyone) and hearty. And these bad boys looked so interesting!

So … were the Christmas Limas naughty or nice? ¬†I thought they were dee-licious! The texture is wonderful, the taste is kind of like chestnuts (as the package promised), and they are really filling. Here’s some more bean pics:

So attractive! How could I resist trying them out?

Raw & cooked. Close to actual size!

The RG website has info on how to prepare their beans. It’s really easy. ¬†

I soak dried beans overnight, rinse them a few times before cooking, then simmer them until they’re the texture I like.

Unless I have lots of time or have planned ahead, I usually cook beans one day while doing something else, then actually eat them the next day.  They keep in the fridge nicely and are ready to add to salads, pilafs, pastas, sandwiches, etc. 

So how do you eat these things?

Yes, I know you eat them with your mouth. ¬†But with new foods, it’s sometimes daunting to figure out what to do with them. I am still working with kitchen limitations, so it was another pasta night for me. I know that this recipe is strikingly similar to my last post (pasta, veg, legume). While not the most creative thing ever, I’m getting nutrition, variety, and tastiness with minimal work. This combination was pretty yummy, if I say so myself.

One thing I want to show is that once you find a method that is easy for you, you can riff on it endlessly and not feel like you’re eating the same thing nightafternightafternightafternight …

So … here’s a quick and easy way to enjoy some of the most extraordinary beans around, the Rancho Gordo Christmas Limas. Stay tuned for more – stews, side dishes, all sorts of ideas come to mind … and will come into being, once my movers finally deliver my kitchen stuff!

Pasta Spirals with Christmas Lima Beans and Fried Zucchini

Serves 2

Another quick meal. If you have cooked beans on hand, all you need to do is boil pasta and fry up some zucchini. Mmmmm.


2 servings whole wheat pasta (Trade Joe’s Organic Whole Wheat Rotelle is GREAT)
2 small ‚Äď medium zucchinis, cut into matchsticks
2 tsp olive oil
1-2 cups cooked Christmas Lima beans (Rancho Gordo recommended)


Cook pasta according to package directions.

While water for pasta is boiling, reheat the beans in a separate pot with their cooking liquid, if needed.

Chop zucchini into matchsticks.¬† Place zucchini in medium or large skillet, turn heat on high.¬† When skillet reaches high heat, drizzle olive oil over zucchini and reduce heat if needed to prevent scorching.¬† Add salt and pepper to taste.¬† (I like to add a ton of black pepper.) ¬†Stir to distribute oil and salt and pepper, but don’t keep stirring throughout. ¬†Cook on high heat – without stirring – until zucchini is very dark brown on one side. ¬†When one side of the zucchini is dark brown or at the desired doneness, turn off heat.¬† Stir zucchini to let other sides of the vegetables cook and to keep warm while pasta finishes cooking.

Drain pasta.  Stir in zucchini.  Drain beans and stir in.  Season with additional salt if desired.

Adding some toasted walnut oil would probably be really delicious, but I didn’t have any on hand to test out that idea …