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    who's on first

    Me again. Taneasha has a home, and some furniture, but no intrawebs. So, I'm back in my usual Tuesday spot, but I'm taking a break from cookies.

    I am a total slave to cravings. I'll spend days trying to ignore the fact that I not only want, but apparently need, a certain type of food. They don't go away. Sometimes it's something nice and healthy like bananas. And when I finanlly find a bunch that is just the right ripeness, I'll eat the whole freaking bunch. Sometimes, it's fried chicken. Way too often it's fried chicken.

    Lately though, it's been beans. And not just any beans. It has to be refried beans.

    I freaking love refried beans.

    Damn good thing too, because they're super cheap, unbelievably easy to make, and they're totally freezable, which means they're perfect for making into burritos to freeze and heat up in the (world's most disgustingly dirty) microwave at school. But we won't talk about that for now. I passed my exams. I've got 3.5 months of calculus-free bliss.

    AKA: work.

    Now I get to heat up my frozen burrito in a clean nuker.

    But first, I had to make beans. Yes, I know, they come in a can. The ones in the can, more often than not, have sugar in them. Sugar. Why the hell do refried beans need sugar added to them? There are times when I'm glad I'm a compulsive label-reader. <<insert rant here about what's wrong with the food industry, and the apathy of consumers>>

    Refried beans don't have sugar in them. At least these ones don't. So, as an alternative to the can in your cupboard I offer:


    What you need:

    • 1 c dry pinto beans
    • 1 small onion
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • pinch of cumin
    • ~4 c water or broth or stock
    • bacon fat
    • salt

    Yes, I realize I'm ranting about added sugar in a post that advocates the use of bacon fat. This is not a question of "is it healthier." The sugar is likely in there to make the beans taste better, just like the bacon fat is. But, the bacon fat is drippings from the bacon I bought at a local butcher; they make their own bacon from local pigs. I can trace the bacon fat to the farm. It's less than 100 miles away. I can't say the same about that sugar. I know that food tastes better when it has fat and sugar in it. But I'm actively making a choice as a consumer. That's the difference.

    What you gotta do:

    Dump it all in the crock pot.

    Well, kinda. Works best if you rinse the beans first, and chop the onion and garlic.

    I'd been planning on using water, but remembered that I had some chicken broth in the freezer.

    So I thawed it and dumped it in.

    And waited.

    And waited.

    I am not a patient person.

    Particularly not when I have a craving.

    Once the beans are soft, and you can mash one against the side of the crock pot (took mine about 4 hours on high), transfer the beans only to a bowl. I don't suggest draining the beans because some of that liquid is handy to have around when you're mashing. So, I fish mine out with the masher.

    Mashing is a bit of a taste thing. Or, texture thing, I guess. Some people prefer the beans whole, some like them smashed to smithereens.

    I a cake-and-eat-it-too kinda person, so I mash all but about a cup of beans and then just stir them in.

    And then, I add the bacon fat. Feel free to leave this out if you'd like, but I don't recommend it.

    Now, before you add the last ingredient, you need to taste them. Beans need salt. I like to add the bacon fat first because it is quite salty, and then add tiny amounts, stirring and tasting until they're just right.

    Roll them up in a burrito with some guac (cover it with foil and it won't turn brown at all!)

    or just dip your chips right in

    What weird ingredient have you found by reading labels? Or, do you read labels?

    Reader Comments (1)

    Refritos are the backbone of the easiest weeknight dinner ever (and the second easiest, too). Easiest: mix your refritos with some salsa until you get a slightly runny paste. Put a bunch of tortilla chips on a pan. Daub the refrito paste about on the chips. Cover in mexican cheese. bake until cheese melts. TADA! instant nachos. Takes, literally, 10 minutes total including baking time.

    Second easiest: make the refrito paste as above. spread thinly on tostada shells. cover with cheese, bake until cheese is melted. top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, whatever. Instant tostadas.

    [these are second easiest because they require the effort of actually spreading the paste on the tostada shells]

    June 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElise Logan

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