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The Rancho Gordo Blog — Misc

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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Jesús Helguera, Our Calendar Artist

cromo mexicano Holiday at Rancho Gordo jesus helguera mexican art mexican calendar art Mexico Misc rancho gordo

Jesús Helguera, Our Calendar Artist

One of the first things I did when I started Rancho Gordo was to offer free calendars every year featuring almost exclusively the art of Jesús Helguera. I love the idealized, often policially incorrect, images of post-revolutionary Mexico. There are some real problems but there's a clear sense of Helguera's patriotism, and loads of campy good fun. I asked Karla from our customer service department to do some research on Helguera so we all could know a little more about him. She used an uncredited book I have, Jesus Helguera (1989, Galas de Mexico) for much of the information. -...

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Emily Nunn on Beans and Health

In the kitchen Misc Vegetarian>Vegan

Emily Nunn is one of my favorite writers. Her Comfort Food Diaries is a classic and her Twitter feed is essential reading. I asked her what she's thinking about beans and health for the new year. - Steve According to the food world, beans are having “a moment.” Well, pardon us, but beans—which are the world’s second most important food source, after grains/grasses— have been a mainstay in the Americas for centuries (and the Old World began cultivating and eating them about 10,000 years ago). There’s a very good reason for their longevity, too. Beans make the human body happy—and...

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Wish You'd Been There: The Rancho Gordo Pozole Book Launch Party

heirloom beans In the Press mexican food Misc posole pozole steve sando

At one point, I looked out on to the crowd, smiling, thinking, "Beans. Beans did this." How did I go from being the loneliest fellow at the farmer's markets to calling for a party and having it be packed with a steady stream of Rancho Gordo enthusiasts for two hours? How did we pull off making our own dried nixtamal? How did we pull off publishing our own books when we were feeling burned by the traditional publishing houses? How did this happen? The Rancho Gordo Pozole Book by Steve Sando was officially released on November 8, 2019 I'm also...

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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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Announcement: Our Response to Proposed Tariffs on Mexican Imports

Misc Rants

Our government recently decided to threaten a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, with the fees escalating up to 25%. 5% doesn’t sound like much but you have to realize the beans are a food crop. They've been growing for 6-9 months, followed by cleaning and packaging and they've been planned long before that. It's taken us years to develop these relationships and these actions have taken their toll. Speaking for myself, I do believe in comprehensive immigration reform. Nobody is advocating for a porous border. Reform would include international laws, trade, the US role in foreign governments and humanitarian...

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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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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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A Rant: We Are Not Normal

In the kitchen Misc Rants

This was in our newsletter a couple of weeks ago and it clearly had an impact on some of our bean buddies. I thought I'd reprint it here. Maybe you recognize yourself. - Steve It’s easy to like our customers. People who cook and appreciate heirloom beans tend to be more interesting, nicer, and enjoy a better quality of life. I live in a bubble of delicious food and like-minded people so I sometimes lose track of life in the “real world.” I prefer hanging out with my fellow bean freaks. You may not realize it but as time marches...

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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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