Category Archives: Side Dish

Homemade Beans

These beans are full of flavor and freeze easily.

1 lb. dry **black beans

2 tbsp. whey

2 quarts water

Soak this mixture overnight.

In the morning:

Add above to a pot and bring to a boil.  Skim the foam from the top when it boils.  Add:

1 roughly chopped white onion

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peels removed

2 tbsp. salt

Cook about 2 hours, or until beans are tender.  Add more salt to taste.

**Variation:  To make pinto or white beans, follow recipe exactly as above, but omit whey in the soaking.  Pinto beans taste even better with fire-roasted tomatoes mixed in after cooking.


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Filed under Mexican Food, Recipes, Side Dish

All About Beans

Beans and rice are 2 of the most frugal, versatile staples in the dry goods pantry.  Everybody has a version because they have been around forever and were accessible to all.   Millions of healthy children have been nourished by this simple fare for generations.  In many cases the working classes did not have the money to eat meat, so beans, bone broths, and other plant foods stood in their place.  I imagine that this was one of the foods that the kids would wince and say, “Maaam, beans again?!”  One way to avoid this is to serve different kinds of beans.  You could serve pinto beans in a soup on Monday, and then re-fry them for Wednesday’s lunch, and then make black beans on Thursday, etc.  If you want to go Italian or American, try white navy beans or kidney beans and prepare chillies and soups that way.

These are our favorite combinations:

White beans:  In Italian salads and soups, in chilli, also use as puree in sneaky recipes.

Black beans:  Black bean soup, in Mexican chilli (with chile ancho powder, yum), refried in manteca with onion as side dish, in salads with salsa-ranch and corn, in bean dip, enfrijoladas (tortillas dipped in pureed beans topped with chicken and cheese), rice and beans.

Pinto beans:  Prepared as side dish/soup with pureed fire roasted tomatoes.  Refried with onion as a side dish.

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Filed under Info Blurbs, Italian Food, Mexican Food, Recipes, Side Dish

Morning Hash Browns

Can you tell I just got a food mill and am loving the grater feature?  I just didn’t know how fast AND delicious food can be with the right gadgets!   One can never underestimate the deliciousness of freshly fried potatoes.

Hash Browns – serves 4

1 extra large brown baking potato, rinsed and peeled

4 tbsp. Kerrygold unsalted butter (sold at HEB in cheese section)

salt and pepper to taste

Shred potato with gadget of choice.  Melt butter in your largest-bottomed skillet over high heat.  Add potatoes and distribute as evenly and thinly as you can without burning your fingers.  Season with pepper only.  After the potato water has evaporated a bit and things are no longer pretty steamy, reduce the heat to medium.  Watch for brown crispy-ness on the other side, that’s when to know to flip.  I cut it into quarters at this point and flip the quarters.  Watch carefully and add more butter if pan is too dry.  Add *sea salt to taste and serve when both sides are evenly golden brown.  Serve with eggs and toast or your favorite breakfast!

*You add salt at the end because salt draws out water and you are looking for crisp, not soggy, potatoes.  You worked hard to get past the steamy stage!

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Filed under Breakfast, Recipes, Side Dish


This versatile applesauce can be eaten as a dessert, a side dish, or used as a mix-in.  It is best eaten fresh and hot off the stove on a cold rainy day like today.

Cinnamony Applesauce

1 1/2 c. water

10 organic apples

Juice of 1/2 lemon (omit if using Granny Smith apples)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tbsp. vanilla

1.  Rinse and peel apples.  Cut into large pieces suitable for shredding.  Shred apples with food mill, processor, or shred by hand.

2.  Combine all ingredients in a 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low, then cook 30 minutes.

3. Puree with an immersion blender (stick blender) or leave to enjoy as is.  Serve some warm with cream and crispy nuts, then cool and store in fridge.  Makes 1-1/2 quarts (large Mason jars).

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Recipes, Side Dish