Heirloom Cottage Cheese Pie

Read More

Donuts in Los Angeles

Read More

Hello Dear Friends

Read More

Guest Post for Elaine: Bean Pascal (White Bean Soup with Toasted Sesame, Masa, Chayote, Cilantro and Mint)

Have you ever eaten heirloom beans, cooked slowly with nothing but water and maybe a bay leaf?  If it doesn’t sound too appetizing, scout some out . . . . you are in for a big surprise.  Here in California we are lucky to have easy access to Rancho Gordo heirloom beans.  Not only do they have an astounding number of beans including Red Nightfall, Yellow Indian Woman, Vallarta, Tepary (Brown and White), Santa Maria Pinquito, Rio Zape, Ojo de Cabra, Black Calypso, Vaquero, Yellow Eye, Good Mother Stallard, Lilo, Ayocote Blanco, Sangre de Toro, Flor de Junio, Bayo Chocolate . . . you get the picture . . . but their newsletter is always a fun and informative read.

I thought using heirloom beans would be a great starting point for my guest post for my dear friend Elaine over at Foodbod.  I started following Elaine immediately upon reading her “About” page and the moving story of how a tragedy brought her to appreciate life and ultimately find peace with her own body and a new relationship with food.  Elaine, despite being a vegetarian, loyally favorited my posts and commented on them, even though they were full of bacon and burgers.  We’ve always shared a love of roasted vegetables both whole and “mushed,” especially cauliflower and eggplant, or as Elaine calls it, “aubergine,” and Elaine is the master of mezze.  And yet now, a year later, my cooking is meeting up with Elaine’s in a more vegetarian inspired slant.  I’m not eating near as many burgers or rashers of bacon since my husband and I started our 40 day yoga challenge (I’ll post about that later), and it’s been so helpful to have Elaine’s blog as a recipe guide and inspiration.

I settled on soup for these beans, but not a pureed soup.  I wanted to taste and chew the whole beans.  I found the most unusual recipe calling for white beans in the recent tome of a cookbook, Mexico:  The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte.  I was asked to review the book and I must say that many of the recipes look very good, but I am annoyed by the lack of headnotes.  There are no headnotes to any of the recipes, which means you don’t get historical or other background information.  Not cool.

bean soup 2 (31 of 34)

The recipe called for toasted sesame seeds, masa, chayote, squash blossoms and mint.  I added my own touches — a dollop of jalapeno pepper pesto, a squeeze of lime, and a hibiscus flower.  My husband went koo koo for this soup, although I must warn you, as good as it is, it ain’t diet food.  You may not eat for a couple of days after a bowl of this stuff.  In fact, just for fun I added up all of the calories and it rivals a truck driver’s Thanksgiving plate including dessert.  But you do get a heck of a lot of nutrients and it really hits the spot on a cold winter evening, so do give it a try!  If you don’t want the truckdriver’s waistline, you could easily use less sesame seed and masa, even less beans, and more broth and vegetables.

As I was cooking up the Ayocote Blanco beans for the featured soup, periodically I tasted them for doneness and I simply could not believe the flavor and texture — buttery, earthy and creamy.  No chalkiness or insipid metal flavor, just delicious intact plump beans in a savory broth.  I easily could have eaten a bowl solo for dinner.  The Ayocote Blanco beans I bought are part of Rancho Gordo’s Xoxoc project that helps small farmers grow their indigenous crops in Mexico, despite international trade policies that seem to discourage genetic diversity and local food traditions.


A few offerings from my local gourmet market

bean soup 2 (33 of 34)

Soaking after a quick boil, for an hour

bean soup 2 (32 of 34)

bean soup 2 (28 of 34)


bean soup 2 (27 of 34)

I started with an onion and chilli, then added the beans and enough water to cover the beans by one inch

bean soup 2 (24 of 34)

For a perfect bean (not to mushy, still firm and intact but slightly creamy) cook the beans with the lid ajar

bean soup 2 (14 of 34)

These little guys took nearly 6 hours to cook and I actually slightly burnt a few of them. They still tasted amazing.

bean soup 2 (20 of 34)

See, they’re not perfect, but as I said . . . delicious.

bean soup 2 (19 of 34)

bean soup 2 (23 of 34)

Sesame seeds ready to toast

bean soup 2 (9 of 34)

Toasted . . . slightly overtoasted. I not only have an uneven oven but also a kitchen floor that slopes downward towards the Southwest corner of the floor. Thus the heat on my stovetop burners and oven concentrates southwest. Ugh!!!

bean soup 2 (4 of 34)

Toasted sesame seeds added to masa and water and rubbed into a coarse paste

bean soup 2 (1 of 34)

Into the pot with the beans, bean liquid, stock, sriracha, aromatic herbs and salt and pepper

bean soup 2 (12 of 34)

A dollop of homemade jalapeno pesto stirred in

bean soup 2 (16 of 34)

There’s also chayote squash, lime and mint in this soup

bean soup 3 (1 of 6)

No squash blossoms to be found so I plucked a hibiscus off our tree

bean soup 3 (5 of 6)

bean soup 3 (6 of 6)

Here’s the recipe:

Pascal de Frijol (Bean Pascal)


  • 1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 1/4 cups (9 oz/250 g) masa harina (masa is naturally gluten free but please check packaging information as to whether it may have been processed near wheat, nuts, etc. for allergens)
  • 2 cups cooked white beans, drained and cooking liquid saved
  • 1/2 onion, halved
  • 2 chayotes, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 bunch fresh squash flowers (if you don’t have or cannot find squash blossoms or flowers, simply leave them out as they do not have much flavor)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 6 epazote leaves, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha


1.  Grind toasted sesame seeds in a blender or food processor.  Mix masa with 1/2 cup water, stir well, and add to sesame seeds.  Stir well.

2.   Pour 4 1/2 cups water into a saucepan, add beans and onion, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

3.  Add masa and sesame mixture to beans and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add chayote, squash flowers, cilantro, and mint, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in sriracha.

4.  Ladle into bowls and squeeze half a lime over each portion.  Enjoy!

Note:  you can also add a touch of apple cider vinegar to your soup as I often do with bean soups, it cuts the heaviness and I think it helps digestion too.  Also, if you have any pesto on hand or some chopped nuts, dollop a scoop onto the top for some added texture.






Rose Petal Spread

With a bounty of roses in our front yard I decided to make an Ayurvedic recipe for Rose Petal Spread, also known as Gulkand, Read More

Chicken Liver Pate Toasts

I’m getting all poshed up for a very special occasion, the 1 Year Anniversary of Fiesta Friday, the genius child of Angie @thenovicegardener.  Angie is a talented and warm-hearted blogger, cook and gardener who is responsible for bringing many of us bloggers together now as fellow friendly feasters.   Thank you Angie for the invitation a year ago, and for keeping the party alive with all of our wonderful hosts over the past year.  Thank you also to our hosts of the Anniversary Party (Part 1), Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board. May 2015 be even more fun, productive and delicious on Fridays!

I’d like to offer a toast to Angie, accompanied by a really special concoction:  homemade chicken liver pate toasts with capers and loquats.  I adapted the recipe for the pate from a book I turn to again and again for delicious recipes and also confirmation of my belief that well sourced and prepared animal foods can provide a rich source of healthy nutrients for our bodies, Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.  

For my vegetarian friends I’ve also made the simplest but most delicious winter salad ever:  clementine, avocado and baby romaine with salt, pepper and olive oil.  All you need is a fresh farmer’s market or back yard tangerine or other citrus, which gets supremed, a giant buttery silky avocado, good sea salt and freshly ground (course grind for me!) black pepper, and your best olive oil.  No recipe here, just some photos.

As to the photos for the liver pate though, all of preparation/process photos I took were flat out nasty, and in fact if I published them here, you may have bad nightmares tonight.  I have to tell you, though, if you like pate, this recipe is a winner because it is VERY delicious.  For the toasts I simply combined the pate with some capers from a jar and loquats from our tree.  Enjoy!

fiesta friday #1 (9 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (10 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (12 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (13 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (15 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (16 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (17 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (19 of 21)


What you see in the background is a high heel!  Only on special occasions.

fiesta friday #1 (20 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (21 of 21)


And now for my veggie friends:

fiesta friday #1 (1 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (7 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (6 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (5 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (4 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (3 of 21)

fiesta friday #1 (2 of 21)



3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick), softened *
1 pound chicken or livers
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and light-green parts, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 medium clove garlic, smashed and mashed with the back of a knife
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

*Use grass-fed butter such as Kerrygold, or even better, raw butter, if you can.

Read More