Beautiful beans abound!!! These pink glories are called Tongue of Fire beans. Originating in South America, they have a rich flavor and creamy texture, and like most legumes, are extremely nutrient dense. High in protein and dietary fiber, they are also an excellent source of iron, potassium, and B vitamins. The magical combination of protein and fiber provides major benefits for digestion, blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular health. In short – eat more beans!!!
To ensure the best bean for your buck, consider a few things when purchasing:
1) Choose organic beans to avoid pesticides and get a more nutrient dense product
2) Choose heirloom varieties when possible to promote genetic diversity, avoid GM foods, and for an exceptional taste
Once you’ve got your bean, it’s time to decide how to create your meal. Beans and rice? Bean soup? Bean salad? Bean dip? Inspired by a meal I’d had at 18 Bay, a local restaurant that occasionally features produce from Sylvester Manor, I went with slow cooked beans and kale with mashed potatoes.
Before heading out to work, I put about 2 cups of shelled beans (Tongue of Fire beans are usually fresh shelling beans, so I didn’t have to soak them overnight) into a slow cooker with 15 cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of olive oil. I also soaked 2/3 cup of cashews in 1 1/2 cups water.
Six hours later, my beans were soft, creamy, and the whole kitchen was smelling of roasted garlic. In went a few sprigs of thyme, and a pinch or two of salt.
Meanwhile, I diced up about 10 red potatoes, and popped them into the cast iron pan, covering them about halfway with some vegetable broth. They simmered away for about a half hour until they were tender, but not falling apart.
About 10 minutes before serving my meal, I added the finishing touches to both dishes. I chopped up two huge handful of kale, and threw that in with the beans and garlic. I blended the cashews and water to create a creamy milk, and mashed that in with the potatoes, along with some salt and rosemary. Simple, hearty, delicious. And one of the best nutritional values per penny.
While I love the creams, browns and dark greens of this meal, it is summer, and it wouldn’t be complete without some of the bright colors of the garden. I cut up some heirloom tomatoes, tore some butter lettuce, and called it a salad.
And that is a farm to table meal.