Refried Beans

I am on a Mexican food kick lately. For some reason it is a bit of comfort food for me.

Also, I am not really clear if you are even interested in this recipe or not. However, my favorite part of this little blog is the fact that I can go back and find recipes I have made and love without scrolling through pages and pages of Google results. So here you go.

 Easy homemade refried beans in the crockpot!

These aren’t REALLY refried beans because there is no frying going on. They are so flavorful just the way they are but you could throw some lard in a pan and sautee the beans up a bit. I don’t think it is necessary.

I am not a crockpot type of cook. In fact I rarely use my crockpot at all. But somehow the idea of dumping everything in the pot, walking away, then coming back to find ready to mush beans was appealing. The long cook time gives it tremendous flavor too.

Easy homemade refried beans in the crockpot!

This recipe makes a big bunch of beans. More than our family, even with company, could consume in one meal. I have happily discovered refried beans freeze beautifully! I divvy up the leftover beans into 2-3 servings, pop it in ziplock bags, and then toss them in the freezer. Super frugal to boot.

Now if only I could convince Little that they truly are tasty…

Easy homemade refried beans in the crockpot!

Refried Beans (makes about 12-15 servings)
from All Recipes

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
9 cups water
Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency. Nom.

Easy homemade refried beans in the crockpot!

Brown Butter Rosemary Cornbread

You are familiar with Smitten Kitchen right? You aren’t?!? Oh I see, you were just teasing me.

I love her. I love her recipes. Her photography is drool worthy. Her child adorable.

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

One of my absolute favorite things to do it to peruse her archives. She has been blogging for six years give or take and has an enormous recipe collection. I stumbled upon this gem not too long ago. You see she made a flan and it didn’t turn out. She had the gumption to share the in process pictures, admit defeat, and move on. I kept this post open in my browser for about two weeks straight and smiled every time.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t gloating in her failure. I was enjoying the camaraderie of a fellow food blogger who had something not turn out right (to be fair I am not on the same playing field. She is Deb from Smitten Kitchen and I am, well, me. I would like to think of her as my peer though…).

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

You see, I sometimes have things fail. Rarely are the end products inedible but often they aren’t quite what I wanted. Making this cornbread was one of those times.

Yes, the cornbread turned out just fine but lets talk about making the browned butter. Between the husband, the Little, and the puppy the butter was not watched as closely as it should have been. Did you know brown butter goes from brown to charcoal in .25 seconds? Half a stick of butter wasted. Blah.

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

I was irritated and tempted to just melt butter in the microwave and move on. Mercifully my ever encouraging husband stepped in reminding me that it was just a half a stick of butter and to redo it. Then he took Little in the other room. He is a saint.

It is worth to brown the butter. Trust me. It gives the finished cornbread a great nutty depth. The rosemary gives a bit of meatiness. Perfect alongside chili. Which I didn’t have to make because my spectacular sister and brother-in-law brought some over.

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

Brown Butter Rosemary Cornbread (makes about 8 servings)
adapted from Joy the Baker (someone else I absolutely worship)

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven, place your cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  (Alternatively  8×8-inch square baking pan. Grease and flour the baking pan.  Set aside.)

In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of the butter over medium-low heat.  Melt and cook butter down completely.  It will sizzle and crackle.   Don’t walk away. You’ll see brown bits begin to form at the bottom of the pan.  Swirl pan and cook until browned bits are a chestnut color and the butter smells nutty.  Remove from the pan and immediately transfer butter (browned bits and all) to a small bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and browned butter.  Set aside.

Add flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, sugar, and rosemary to a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir to combine, ensuring that all of the dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated into the batter.  Carefully remove the very hot cast iron pan from the oven. Drop in 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl around so the pan in adequately greased. Pour batter into the pan and smooth to the edges.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

Stuffed peppers

I made this for you, you know.

Pepper stuffed with pilaf and feta. Simple!

In reality when I make stuffed peppers I don’t go through all this work. I made deconstructed peppers. By which I mean I just throw the chopped up peppers and pilaf in a pan and top with feta. Voila. No trying to stuff little pepper shells that don’t want to be stuffed.

But they look SO pretty when/if I  take the time to make them as the recipe intends.

Pepper stuffed with pilaf and feta. Simple!

We eat this as a dinner entree with a small salad. However it would also make a stunning side to pretty much anything. Your starch and veggie all in one. And beautiful too! Or be lazy like me and just toss it all in a pan. It is equally tasty. And much less messy to eat.

Pepper stuffed with pilaf and feta. Simple!

Stuffed peppers (makes 4)

Rice pilaf:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup long grain brown rice
1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt & pepper, to taste

2 peppers
1/2 cup crumbled feta

Make the pilaf. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add rice and sauté for 1 minute. Add broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 45-50 minutes. Check rice occasionally and add water if necessary. Uncover and let rice stand for 5 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the peppers in half and carefully remove the ribs and seeds. Fill each half with 1/4 of the rice then top with 1/4 of the feta. Gently place in a baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot or room temp.

Pepper stuffed with pilaf and feta. Simple!