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The Rancho Gordo Blog — Ingredient Spotlight

The Sorana Bean. From Tuscany, With Love

Ingredient Spotlight Misc On the Road

The Sorana Bean. From Tuscany, With Love

Last autumn I was in Italy for the first time in way too long. This was the funny time when we all thought this covid thing was waning and we were heading back to normal. Weren't we cute? Regular followers of Rancho Gordo know of our love and admiration for the amazing Judy Witts Francini. She is a powerhouse of knowledge about the Italian kitchen and nothing makes her happier than sharing her secrets. She has many. Judy arranged for me to meet with some members of the cooperative that is keeping the Sorana bean production going. Unable to meet...

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Happy Harvest: Frijolon Gris

gardening heirloom beans In the garden Ingredient Spotlight Mexico Misc oaxaca On the Road

Happy Harvest: Frijolon Gris

It has been a long time since I played in the garden. I have not been a good steward of my land and as we got busier and busier over the holiday season, I left my precious Oaxacan runner beans to fend for themselves. We experienced a very wet season, followed by several nights with freezing temperatures and the mornings have been foggy. You would have thought my forgotten bean crop would be a goner, but you'd be wrong. Mid-February and this is my harvest. I looked and I saw a few funky pods. When I opened them, the beans...

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Posole or Pozole? A Rose By Any Other Name

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Misc Rants Travel in Mexico

Recently on Twitter, the very talented Pati Jinich wrote that she was irked by the word posole. "It is Pozole with a Z!!!! Posole is nothing, nada!! Posole equals not Pozole. Sorry and good night.", she wrote. Now I admire Patti a lot but I think she got this one wrong, along with many of her enthusiastic followers who were quick to throw posole under the bus. My response was: "Posole is an old tradition from the US Southwest. It refers to the grain and the final dish. It's hundreds of years old and to deny this is to deny...

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Summer Heirloom Bean Casserole (Shhhh....It's almost all from leftovers)

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Vegetarian

Summer Heirloom Bean Casserole (Shhhh....It's almost all from leftovers)

First I will tell you that I meant to make Deb Perelman's Pizza Beans. This Smitten Kitchen recipe has been one of the most talked-about and produced recipes I've ever known. Members of our Bean Club make it constantly and collectively they've made it a classic. I have to admit that I've never made it. Last weekend I was determined to try it, especially knowing that I had a batch of Royal Corona beans sitting in my fridge. I dutifully printed out Deb's recipe and bought the needed ingredients at my grocery store. As it turns out, we suffered an...

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Pasta e Fagioli a la Omnivore (or Il Nostro Caro Angelo)

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Misc

Pasta e Fagioli a la Omnivore (or Il Nostro Caro Angelo)

Is this not a thing of beauty? A bowl of cranberry (Borlotti) beans with homemade pasta in a sauce of bean broth, chicken broth, and vegetables. It's moist and delicious but not at all soupy. A perfect balance of beans, pasta, and inspiration. Angelo with my son, Nico, before a failed, but fun, turkey hunt. Last week Angelo Gorro of Omnivore Salt (and sauces, etc) came by for a visit and pulled out all the stops with his own pasta, his own salume, his own sausage and of course his own salt. The variations on pasta e fagioli (pasta and...

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Flageolet Salad with Lemon, Radishes, and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes.

Holiday at Rancho Gordo Holiday Cooking In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Vegetarian>Vegan

A vegan salad to be enjoyed on its own or served with traditional Easter dishes. I don't think of Easter as an inspirtational meal but that's changing. I grew up with industrial hams in cans and lots of bad chocolate. I was invited to my friends' Easter celebration and when I heard that there'd be both ham and lamb, a lemony vegan side dish seemed in order. Raw, they have almost no taste. Roasted in a low oven, they become delicious jewels. It's clearly too early for good tomatoes but I've been craving them after the long winter, which seemed...

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Pepitas are Everything

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Misc Vegetarian>Vegan

I've always liked roasted pumpkin seeds, but I've mostly enjoyed them when they've "stayed in their lane," with dishes like pipian and Sikil Pak. Lately, I've been putting them on everything, and they add gravitas to the most boring dish that is remarkable. Buy the raw, shelled variety and then briefly pan roast them. A salad is an obvious new home but keep experimenting. I had some wild arugula from my CSA box. I added some cassoulet beans and olive oil and then topped the whole thing off with some pepitas. I couldn't have been happier. You need to be...

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Kitchen Object Fetish No.3: Steel Pans from Santa Barbara Forge

blu skillet cookware forge Ingredient Spotlight Misc Spanish revival

I've loved my old cast iron skillets but they are a little clumsy to use. They're heavy and they take a good long time to heat up. I'm not throwing them away, but I have been straying. A few years ago I started buying pieces from Blu Skillet Ironware and I've loved the pans. The problem is the company has become too successful and good for them, but to get a pan, you have to enter a lottery. I'm too old. The handle stays cool to the touch when you cook stovetop. A friend told me about Santa Barbara Forge...

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Guest Post: Julia's Preserved Meyer Lemon Relish

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Misc Vegetarian>Vegan

The two Meyer lemon trees in our backyard went crazy this winter. My family has been enjoying the harvest in every way that we can, and handing them out to friends by the bushel. (Okay, I don't actually know what a bushel is, but thought it sounded cool and homestead-y.) When we are rich in Meyer lemons, I usually make a batch of preserved lemons using a method that a friend shared with me, which came from her Persian family recipe vault. They are super secretive about the recipe—she's one of my best friends and I had to pry it...

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Experiments with Garbanzos, Spinach and Smoked Paprika

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Vegetarian>Vegan

There was about a cup of garbanzos and a cup of their broth sitting in the refrigerator. I was starving. Well, quite hungry. I added some frozen spinach, olive oil and a teaspoon of our new Smoked Spanish Pimenton Paprika. Once heated through, a drizzle of my best olive oil and a scant squeeze of lemon. Holy cow. There was a moment when I thought to add some rendered pancetta for body and substance but I didn't feel like dirtying another pan. Hush! I'm confessing. I will say there was no need to worry. The pimenton adds a little smokiness...

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Welcome Back, Lila. I Love You.

In the Press Ingredient Spotlight Vegetarian>Vegan

Welcome Back, Lila. I Love You.

Sometimes you don't need a lot of words. That's how it is with me and Lila.

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Roasted Pepper Salad with Pepitas

In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Vegetarian

Roasted Pepper Salad with Pepitas

I am very fond of roasted red peppers and I've been enjoying the red ones from a jar but Irecently spotted sugar as an ingredient on my favorite Trader Joe's brand. Why? The mixed pepper version has no sugar but the best solution is buying fresh, organic peppers and roasting them yourself. The skin on bell peppers after roasting and steaming comes off even easier than poblano peppers. Roasting peppers is easy and I've written about it before. Now I tend to only use the burners on my gas stove and I put the peppers in a large mixing bowl...

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