Spicy Canned Beans

I met with an old friend for a drink.  She has a beautiful 5-year old daughter whose head is full of most peculiar notions.  Here is one of the conversations she recently had with her mommy:

Mommy. “Promise you’ll never tell me you are too old for kisses or cuddles.”

Child. “What are you talking about mom, don’t be silly, of course I’ll never be too old. You and dad are old and you give each other kisses and cuddles all the time.”

So cute!  The cutest thing I heard from my 3-year old was “Oh, MAN!” after a potty training accident…

Well, my kid is not much of a talker.  He is also not much of an eater.  He wouldn’t try these canned beans, but oh, they are so worth a try!

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SPICY CANNED BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs mustard seeds
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • assorted peppers, sliced
  • 4 small dried hot red chiles
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

DIRECTIONS:

I use this canning kit – it’s cheap and easy to use.

Sterilize the jars: Either put them in hot wash dishwasher cycle so that they are clean and hot by the time you use them, or dunk them in boiling water and keep them hot.

Sterilize the lids: boil the tops in a small pan filled with enough water to cover the lids, keep them hot till needed.

Prepare for canning: bring to boil a large pot of water.  There should be enough water to completely submerge the jars and have about an inch of water on top of them.

Make the marinade: Bring the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to boil.

Preserve: Distribute the remaining ingredients between the jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over them, leaving about 1/4 inch of space between the top and the marinade.  Secure the lid.

Using the jar lifter, carefully place the lidded jars in the large pot of boiling water, make sure they are completely submerged.  Boil for about 10 minutes.

Remove the hot jars using the jar lifter, and place them on a towel.  Let cool completely before labeling.  Make sure the lid tops are not popping in the center.

These will take 6 or so weeks to process, but the wait is worth it – they are a perfect addition to a salad, pizza, or anything else you like to spice up.

Corn and Bean Tamales

I tried tamales once at our favorite San Francisco Mexican joint, Gracias Madre, and immediately wanted to reproduce them…  Considering the fact that I wasn’t following any particular recipe, but chose whatever I felt right for the dish and combined it with whatever fridge content needed to be cooked, I wouldn’t completely rely on my unprofessional opinions here.  Nevertheless, these vegetarian tamales turned out delish!

My Russian interpretation of tamale is that they are just like tacos – masa dough + filling.  Except that the dough is not made into a pancake (tortilla) but steamed in a corn husk. Hence, I like my masa to be thinner – as I think the real delight is inside… 

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CORN AND BEAN TAMALES

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

  • 1 cup corn (cooked)
  • 2 cups pinto beans (cooked)
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup seasonal vegetables, diced
  • salt, pepper, spices

Dough:

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks
  • Kitchen twine
  • Sour cream and salsa for garnish

Yields about 12 tamales

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the corn husks in warm water for about 30 minutes

Prepare the filling: mix all the ingredients

Prepare the dough: mix all the ingredients and let cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes

Make tamales: put two corn husks together, overlapping, so they make a plate.  Make a small ball out of the dough (size of a golf ball) and flatten it on the husks.  Place a large helping of the filling in the center of the dough and cover the filling with edges of the dough.  Wrap the husks around the tamale and tie the edges with the twine.  Repeat with the rest.

Make ahead: Once the tamales are assembled, they could be frozen for at least 3 months.

Cook tamales: Steam tamales for 30 – 45 minutes in a steamer.

Serve with sour cream and salsa.

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