I love beans. Love, love, love! I could eat beans at every meal (which ironically is suggested in the paean to legumes that every kid knows and which some in my house sing to me frequently). So, I’m sort of jaded when it comes to this recipe when I say that you will love it! Nobody has not liked it (yep, that double-negative was intentional).
Just as Juan Ponce de León searched for the fountain of youth and adventurers, to this day, comb the peaks of the Himalayas for their yetis, I have been – until now – on a heretofore futile mission to recreate Nana’s Puerto Rican Rice. Not nearly as sexy as preternatural beauty or as exciting as a vicious bear-man, this elusive dish with bits of pork goodness and the brininess of green olives dancing a culinary waltz with sofrito and just a whisper of tomato’s acidity rightly sent me into a search from which I could not return until its luscious flavor secrets revealed themselves to me. Lordy, this is good stuff that, yes, makes me write bad prose and most likely bad checks if that need ever arose.
There are very few foods that are so universally loved and so easy to make. So why, oh why, do we buy the flash-steamed-oil-sprayed french fries in the freezer department. They are just not good. Not good at all. Why not just grab some potatoes, oil and salt and have at it. That is all you need. For about the price of one bag of Gon-Ho (does anyone get that? I worked on it for a bit), you can buy a bag of potatoes and a bottle of oil to fry enough for a small army.
Beans. The Rodney Dangerfield of of the food world. They get no respect. Though poems have been written about them, they are the sort of poesy that brings unwanted parental attention upon recitation.: Beans, beans, the musical fruit …. Beans, beans, good for your heart … You can sing them both, can’t you? Beans need the PR that prunes got a few years back … dried plums, anyone? Though beans are highlighted in practically every cuisine worth mention, for most of us, they are relegated to side dish just meant to round out a meal. And here I am … relegating them to side dish. Irony. Well, no, I am not relegating anything. Pat is. How to get in good with your mother-in-law? Throw her under the bus. These are Pat’s beans. Pat Smith is my mother-in-law and she introduced me, nay, opened my eyes to the deliciousness that is these baked beans. Though the pic above has the beans as a side, these beans are my main. Fresh and hot? to die for. Cold out of the fridge for breakfast? move over coffee. Yes, these beans are that good.
I didn’t start out as a fan of granola. There’s something about the flavor of the sort you get in the box that never sat well with me, and after that wayward Summer we spent with the cousins when the aunt decided that orange juice was a suitable wetting agent for cereal, namely granola, the fate of the oated pariah was sealed for me.