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kirkswig


Sep 13, 2004, 11:05 AM

Post #1 of 32 (6908 views)

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Frijoles (aka beans)

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So this is like Rocky's post on tortillas. Single guy here, who doesn't know what he's doing in the kitchen.

I see frijoles being sold in cans at the supermarket, but that can't be the way Mexicans make them, can it? My question then is, how do Mexicans make frijoles, you know, the kind they serve you at the restaurants next to the tortillas?

Once made, can you store/refrigerate them with any success?

People are saying that tortillas are no more healthy than bread, which I can accept. But doesn't the tortilla often imply frijoles? And aren't the two when combined much healthier than bread and most of the stuff you're likely to put on that?

I'd like to make this a staple of my diet, if possible, not only because I'm thinking its healthier, and not only because I love them, but also because it's supposed to be really cheap, right? I heard there were price controls at the federal level on tortillas and beans.

Between tortillas, beans and cheese (and of course salsa) you've basically got your food pyramid right there, right? Or am I deluding myself here?

(Thanks in advance, question about sushi is next on deck.)

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.



Uncle Jack


Sep 13, 2004, 11:09 AM

Post #2 of 32 (6911 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Don't forget to add some rice in with those beans and corn tortillas.


jennifer rose

Sep 13, 2004, 12:35 PM

Post #3 of 32 (6896 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Beans and corn, separately, are incomplete proteins, but combined, they make an almost-complete protein.

First, get your mitts on a copy of one of Diana Kennedy's books, where she explains at length on how to cook beans. Search this forum as well.

In a nutshell,

1. Clean your beans, sort them out, because even the grocery-store variety are apt to have a rock or two. Fail this step, and you may be unpleasantly surprised.
2. Soaking is optional. You can soak them overnight, for a few hours, or simply by bringing them to a boil and allowing to stand.
3. Rinse after soaking.
4. Place the beans in a pressure cooking with adequate water, and cook for 30-45 minutes, making sure that the beans do not go dry. You may need to add more water. Now, I know that I'm going to have my detractors, but those are people with just too much time on their hands.
5. Do not add salt during the cooking process, because that will toughen the skins and slow absorption of water.
6. After the beans are "done" (test by blowing against a single bean to see if your breath will ruffle the skins), add seasonings such as onion, garlic, condiments, chile. Finish off the beans for about 15-20 minutes.
7. Add vegetable oil if desired.

Experiment with different varieties of beans. There are over seventy varieties cultivated in Mexico. My favorites are the tiny white ones and garbancillos.

Beans will keep in the refrigerator for about four days. You can periodically re-boil them to extend their refrigerator life. Or you can freeze them rather nicely.

There's nothing wrong with canned beans. In fact, they're great in a pinch or when you want only a small quantity. Also available are dehydrated beans, which require only the addition of boiling water, sort of an "instant mashed potato" version of beans.


Uncle Jack


Sep 13, 2004, 1:14 PM

Post #4 of 32 (6907 views)

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A basic primer on beans

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My friend Esperanza sent me this the other day when I questioned her about locally available beans.

Although not specific to Mexico, you might look at this site: http://www.foodsubs.com/Beans.html


Beans of Mexico



Well UJ, here's the rundown of the legumes I know best:

Flor de Mayo: the one I like best. Similar to pinto.

Flor de Junio: a close second, also similar to pinto.

Canario: a small round yellow one

Peruano Bola: a larger paler-yellow one, rounder (hence bola) than the regular peruano

Peruano: pale yellow, the most commonly cooked bean in the Guadalajara area

Blanco: a white bean similar to a navy bean

Haba: most like a lima bean

Garbanzo: this one's a gimme

Lenteja: lentil

If you have a choice (ie, if the hand-lettered sign on the bulk basket of beans says NUEVO), buy the NUEVO. They're dried beans but this year's, so they're fresher, cook faster, and IMHO have a better flavor.

When you buy dried beans, you buy frijol. After the beans are cooked, they are called frijoles. If you mash them as you fry them in lard or oil, they are frijoles refritos (well-fried, not re-fried) beans.

Don't buy beans at a grocery store where they're sold in a plastic bag with a brand name on it. Those beans are almost inevitably too old, too tough, and you'll be disappointed. Buy bulk beans.

Be sure to sort your beans for rocks, sticks, etc. It's no fun to chomp down on a rock and end up at the dentist before dessert is served. I always rinse my beans in a colander before I put them on to cook.

You needn't soak any of these varieties.

If you need to add water during the cooking time, be sure that it's boiling water. Otherwise your beans split and shed their skins.

Cooking times are going to vary according to the age of the bean and according to how hot you keep your fire. Flor de Mayo usually takes 2 hours or so to cook, but YMMV. And don't salt them till they're completely cooked to the softness you like.


Esperanza Jul 25, 2004, 9:37 PM



(This post was edited by Uncle Jack on Sep 13, 2004, 1:49 PM)


jennifer rose

Sep 13, 2004, 2:17 PM

Post #5 of 32 (6898 views)

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Re: [Uncle Jack] A basic primer on beans

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The white beans are aluvia. Habas are fava beans. Garbancillos are not little garbanzo beans.

Oh, and I frequently buy beans at the grocery store in the name-brand plastic bag. Even marked "Cosecha de 2004," or harvested this year. Some of the bulk beans can be just as old at the plastic-bagged ones.

Now, if you're really looking for a bean treat and if you come upon them during the right window of the season, buy the freshly shelled but not yet dried beans. Expensive, at least in the bean world, but very much worth it. The mode of preparation is the same as required by dried beans, with a slightly shorter cooking time.


kirkswig


Sep 13, 2004, 3:51 PM

Post #6 of 32 (6881 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Thank you very much, that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for, but I still have a few questions.

In step 1, when you say "clean the beans", that basically means rinsing them in water, yes? In addition to getting the rocks out, that is.

In step 2, when you say "allowing to stand", that means just turning off the heat, right?

In step 4 you're talking about a pressure cooker! Do I really need to get one of those? Aren't they dangerous? Is the trade-off here longer cooking times if I don't get one, cause that wouldn't be a show-stopper for me. My kitchen isn't that big either, I'm trying to keep the gadgetry down to a bare minimum.

I will get one of Diana Kennedy's books. Which one do you think is best for a beginner?

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


kirkswig


Sep 13, 2004, 3:56 PM

Post #7 of 32 (6882 views)

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Re: [Uncle Jack] A basic primer on beans

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Thank you too, I've copied and pasted that into my new cooking scrapbook.

And yes, the rice! How can I forget about the rice! I *love* Mexican rice! I even have a $120US rice cooker I brought from the states with me that makes it really easy to cook rice perfectly. It's brilliant!

Now I just have to figure out how to get the spicing down right. I don't want to burden the forum too much, so I'll try to figure this out for myself.

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


esperanza

Sep 13, 2004, 4:25 PM

Post #8 of 32 (6880 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] A basic primer on beans

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When you clean the beans, you want to take out all the little rocks (as Jennifer said) as well as the sticks and the beans that look like something you wouldn't want to cook: the ones that have been bored hollow by insects, the shriveled-up ones, etc. Then rinse and drain in a colander.

Yes, you can definitely cook beans in an ordinary heavy pot. I've never owned a pressure cooker; I use a 4-liter Chantal stock pot just because it's what I happen to have. You can also use a clay pot, if that's what you've got. The cooking time is the only difference. I generally allow 2 to 2 1/2 hours for cooking when I cook a half kilo or so of beans at a time. Bring the beans and water to a hard boil and then lower to a low bubbling; there should be more water than you think you might need--eight cups of water to a half kilo of beans. I cook beans with the pot lid ajar. If the water threatens to boil away, add more BOILING WATER, not cold water: cold water will cause the beans to split. The liquid in the finished pot of beans should be moderately thick and opaque, not clear.

Something to remember: when you go to market to buy dried beans, you ask for frijol. Your beans become frijoles only after they are cooked.

RE: white beans. I have seen plenty of signs in bulk bean barrels here in Guadalajara that say "Frijol Blanco". I've also seen "Aluvia".

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Marlene


Sep 13, 2004, 11:19 PM

Post #9 of 32 (6859 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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There is a brand of beans here in Mazatlán sold in Ley I believe that is totally clean and rock free. My frijole expert was marvelling at the discovery one day not long ago. They are delish too.

I thought the same of pressure cookers and hadn't been near one since the 1980's when my friend had peas and stew meat embedded in her ceiling! However it seems pressure cookers don't do that here (I still hide in the other room when ours is employed) and is the way to go for cooking beans. You can boil them but it seems to take all day (it does work) ...and why am I giving kitchen advice when I am not the cook in the household and when I am it is scary?


D.G.

Sep 14, 2004, 11:25 AM

Post #10 of 32 (6832 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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My parents learned to cook frijoles from a Mexican woman many years ago. Our family receipe included pouring the bacon drippings from frying a pound of bacon into the bean mixture while it was cooking, and adding about a pound or pound and a half of cheese to the mix to melt in and blend. (In the U.S. we used Kraft Velveta because it was a semi-soft sort of cheese).

While the flavor of this was wonderful, the health consequences were not.


BrentB

Sep 14, 2004, 6:42 PM

Post #11 of 32 (6811 views)

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Re: [D.G.] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Many Mexican recipes for frijoles call for lard or bacon drippings, sub olive, or other healthy vegetable oill in refried beans for that for a healthier bean. Also when boiling, you can add a tsp of baking soda to reduce the flatulence beans give one.
Beans Rice and tortillas are a cholestrol free source of healthy carbs, proteins,amino acids, and fiber. It is said that a human will thrive eating only these things. Toss in some fruits and greens though.

Brent


kirkswig


Oct 11, 2004, 10:11 PM

Post #12 of 32 (6747 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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OK, I'm making beans now, and I get good results using a plain pot over the range (1 1/2 hrs.) or a crock pot (8 hrs.)

What I don't quite understand though is what you do after you cook them. I want them to be like how the restaurants serve them... a kind of creamy consistency that's conducive to tortilla dipping and so forth.

I've tried throwing the beans in a blender but that was a very bad experience. I got one of those mashing utensils, you know, that you'd use to mash potatoes, but it wasn't very successful either. It also seems I need to add something, but I'm not sure what, and consulting these Internet recipes is like no help at all; for frijoles as well as salsa it seems there is no standard recipe.

For what it's worth, I have mexican rice down to a science. And once I figure out how to do the garlic my salsa will be pretty good too... I got a food processor to do the chopping and it works great with the tomatoes and onions and cilantro but the garlic needs more processing it seems. Tomorrow I will try the garlic press I bought at Walmart and see what that does.

And of course the tortillerias are brilliant. Just don't go on Sunday. I think they give you Saturday tortillas warmed over.

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


Marlene


Oct 11, 2004, 10:27 PM

Post #13 of 32 (6746 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Good for you trying to perfect the process! I can see perhaps that Santana will have to introduce you to the fine art of preparing Mexican frijoles. Maybe a field trip to mi Suegra's house where frijoles are never far from the stove top. Anyway, a visit to the "hood" will be enlightening whether or not there is frijoles on the stove.

We don't want any exploding "liquidora" experiences in the neighborhood. One of my favorite dishes actually, but one I don't attempt to prepare myself since pressure cooker is involved here. I leave that to the pros.


Ed and Fran

Oct 12, 2004, 6:28 AM

Post #14 of 32 (6740 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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"...but the garlic needs more processing it seems."

Dare I suggest a jar of the already chopped garlic? Or will that get me thrown off the forum? We use it a lot but we're not necessarily into gourmet cooking.


Regards

Ed


Rolly


Oct 12, 2004, 7:29 AM

Post #15 of 32 (6730 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Kirk, what you are missing is fat -- lard or vegetable shorting, even corn oil can be used. I've watched Doña Martha as she puts the boiled beans and fat/oil in a frying pan over a flame and mashes them together until they are smooth and well heated. You can control the smoothness by the amount of fat/oil you add. You can also use a bit of the water the beans were boiled in, but not much.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Oct 12, 2004, 7:34 AM)


kirkswig


Oct 12, 2004, 11:35 PM

Post #16 of 32 (6702 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Frijoles (aka beans)

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I'm not interested in anything that explodes, hence my trying to do beans via the crock pot. As you know, my landlord pays for my gas, so I guess I should be trying to do my cooking that way when possible, but there are a couple of issues there.

First, I don't like leaving burning gas unattended. Yes, it only takes a hour and a half to cook beans this way, but it's a boring process... I'd rather be doing other things.

Second, my landlord is a prince (as you well know.) Or at least, that is how my neighbors who recently left the premises described him, and it is when you vacate an apartment that you get to truly know your landlord. I'm not interested in doing anything that unfairly impacts on him.

The crock pot is the more relaxing method, but then, we're talking about forever before I get to eat anything. Electricity is cheap here though, I mean, I leave the AC on in my bedroom almost all the time and my beefiest bill has been 160 pesos.

160 pesos! By comparison, my last electric bill in Nevada was close to 160 dollars US!

All that being said, if Santana is up to giving frijole lessons, I'm all ears. I'll visit any "hood" at this point, provided that my English-only language skills aren't a barrier (I'm trying at Spanish, but at my present rate we're looking at 2006 before I can converse in a meaningful manner.)

Hope to see you at the Venados opener today!

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


kirkswig


Oct 12, 2004, 11:43 PM

Post #17 of 32 (6700 views)

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Re: [Ed and Fran] Frijoles (aka beans)

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You know, there are a lot of shortcuts I'm sure I can take, but I'm most interested in getting the basics down pat.

It's not just a matter of cost, it's also a matter of survival.

When I look at Mexico, I see a nation that can survive almost anything. Yes, there are conveniences that we all enjoy, like electricity, or purified water. But when push comes to shove, Mexico has the kind of human infrastructure that will persist should a catastrophe befall it that deprives the nation of power or running water.

Were America to be deprived of power or running water, it wouldn't be a pretty situation.

So I want to learn how to do things the way Mexicans do things. Yes. I could buy the already chopped garlic. I could also buy the already prepared salsa.

The difference isn't only the cost. It's my being able to be self-sufficient. If the world economy crashes, I want to be able to make meals out of the most basic of ingredients... those ingredients that are likely to be available to me.

The Mexicans have food right. I want to be a Mexican.

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


kirkswig


Oct 12, 2004, 11:48 PM

Post #18 of 32 (6699 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Thank you, this actually makes sense.

I currently only have olive oil in the house, but it's a bit expensive and I'm thinking I need a lot of oil per batch of beans, so I'll maybe try canola oil next.

To do the mashing, you use what I'm using, this thing you use to mash potatoes, right?

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


Rolly


Oct 13, 2004, 3:45 AM

Post #19 of 32 (6696 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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The potato smasher works well. You don't need a lot of oil, so add it a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

Rolly Pirate


esperanza

Oct 13, 2004, 5:31 AM

Post #20 of 32 (6693 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Lard. Lard...or bacon grease.

Canola oil...well, maybe in a pinch. Olive oil? No, never.

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jennifer rose

Oct 13, 2004, 5:42 AM

Post #21 of 32 (6691 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Frijoles (aka beans)

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But everyone I know uses vegetable oil! (Just like no one you know uses a pressure cooker.) Olive oil is great with white beans. We're only talking about a tablespoon for a kilo of dried beans anyway.


Uncle Jack


Oct 13, 2004, 5:44 AM

Post #22 of 32 (6692 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Esperanza, I seldom dissagree with you in matters of the kitchen......BUT.

I agree that lard or bacon grease is best for both taste and texture.

What's wrong with corn oil or olive oil for those who don't want animal fat?

I wouldn't us Canola (Canadian Oil Co) oil for anything. Rape seed oil can be down right toxic if not processed correctly.

uj


esperanza

Oct 13, 2004, 6:03 AM

Post #23 of 32 (6693 views)

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Re: [Uncle Jack] Frijoles (aka beans)

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OK, corn oil or vegetable oil. But olive oil tastes like olive oil and IMHO would not be appropriate for frijoles refritos. I have a pot of frijol garrapato cooking right this minute and the idea of frying them later in olive oil...no no no, por favor.

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jennifer rose

Oct 13, 2004, 6:55 AM

Post #24 of 32 (6687 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Frijoles (aka beans)

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C'mon, Esperanza. We're not talkin' cod liver oil. If olive oil's good enough for the Mediterraneans and Arabs, it's good enough for your beans. Try it, you'll like it.


esperanza

Oct 13, 2004, 7:05 AM

Post #25 of 32 (6685 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Frijoles (aka beans)

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Hey, I like olive oil as much as the next person--and even as much as the last person--just not in my frijolitos, okay?

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