What beats that? Heirloom beans with Bea’s Knees Farm coffee! The title is a little excerpt from the Rancho Gordo About-Us web page. Some other excerpts: “You can blame it all on the Dutch.” “American cuisine is reinventing itself.” “New World food is international food.” I enjoyed their About-Us webpage more than I expected.
Rancho Gordo has an amazing variety of delicious heirloom beans. When friends from California came to visit, they surprised us with three bags of different Rancho Gordo beans. And another friend who had come a little earlier had gifted Rancho Gordo Mexican stoneground chocolate. I hadn’t realized that Rancho Gordo has a bean club where you get a certain number of beans in a certain number of shipments per year. I think there used to be a years-long wait to transition from the waiting list and into the club, just like some wine clubs at exclusive wineries. Our friends said they were on the waiting list for a while, then something changed and all of a sudden they were IN. Then they got a bit behind in eating them all, so they shared their bean wealth with us. They didn’t even know that I had earlier asked California mules to pick up some dried beans (e.g., borlotti or cranberry beans) from the farmers market. So we were happy recipients.
Yes, the beans are more expensive than bulk pinto beans at your large, chain grocery store. But it’s about $6-7 for a pound of gourmet beans. It’s not going to break the bank. I think they’re worth it. There are so many varieties available. I’m not ready to commit to bean club amounts, but I may have to make a bean order.
Hubby and I have made three different recipes from Rancho Gordo’s website. I think those might be my three favorite bean recipes we’ve ever made. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I enjoy chai and those kinds of spices. Their recipe for Rajma: Beans in a North Indian Style are like chai beans. Hubby made them with Ayocote Morado beans. So delicious.
Not too long after I made the bostock, I was on a little roll. I tried a couple of recipes that I was procrastinating on. During that time, I tried Rancho Gordo’s recipe for Santa Maria-style beans with Medjool dates. The appeal to me was that it used *coffee*, beer, dates, bacon, and New Mexican chile powder.
Some notes on actual execution: I didn’t have their Pinquito beans, but I used some California farmers market borlotti beans. I discovered that our dry mustard had shrunk and formed into a mustard brick with our humidity here; I chipped off enough for the recipe. [I added dry mustard to my shopping list. I’ll have to store the container in a ziploc bag, I guess. ] I used a particular wheat beer from Kona Brewing Company that we bought and don’t care for, violating the rule of not cooking with things you wouldn’t eat/drink. I used Kirkland (Costco) bacon and California Medjool dates.
I used our dark roast peaberry coffee since that’s all we had in house at the time. I wanted the brew to be stronger than my normal pour-over, so I used the AeroPress. I hadn’t used it in a while, so brewing the coffee was quite a fumbling mess since part-way through I decided to switch to the inverted brew method (hubby’s preference). I don’t usually do that, AND I hadn’t started off correctly. It resulted in quite a bit of brewed coffee on the counter, but I still managed to get the amount of brewed coffee I needed.
The beans were luscious and flavorful. I recommend this recipe. If any of you vegans out there make this with a good substitute for bacon, please share in the comments, please.