Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Exciting!

Alas, it is summer now.  Or is it?  It was definitely summer when we left the South, but it is still more seasonally Spring here on the Atlantic where we have had plenty of rain, cool days and (this feels very strange) the children of New York are still in school.  Matthew and I have bid adieu to ol' Mississippi.  With an elated farewell to that Wild Kingdom we drove East towards Birmingham through the hot jungle, already well into it's yearly empire of kudzu growth.  

As we packed the car in the blazing heat we marched up and down our three-story fire escape, the center of operations of course being our tiny, non-air-conditioned apartment. 
By 2pm we were on the road.  All of the items that we didn't sell were transported downstairs to, The Old Town Consignment Shoppe, which now exists on the first floor of our building and is open for business.  It is located at the intersection of Hwy 309 & Church St. in lovely Byhalia.  


We are now lightyears away from the mid-south (for all you yankees that's a precise geographic term for the area wherein that particular Mid-Western feeling inhabits the other side of the Mason-Dixon line).  It was astonishing to witness how much things changed just traveling across the border from Mississippi into Tennessee, which I did every day I went to work, as well as many days that I didn't.   Basically, to access any business beyond a Piggly Wiggly and a Gas Station, I needed to do this.  I knew I was in Tennessee when the roads smoothed out and the areas bordering the road were landscaped, maintained, and even gardened.  This did not happen in MS outside of the, "Lawn of the Month" participants and, of course, the Ole Miss Campus.  
I still thought Mississippi was much prettier than Tennessee, often, because of its wild nature.  In  Tennessee I saw mowed grass and SUV's, not a lot of intrigue.  In Mississippi I saw wildflowers, herons and rusted-out trucks half a century old and still running or, sometimes, decomposing on a lawn.
Mississippi had a lot of crumbling sidewalks, completely overgrown by bush in some patches, and in others so angled and warped by tree trunks riding a bike over them becomes a stunt.  
I will miss the Magnolia trees, the acres of Honeysuckle, the grassy, fertile smell in the air and the storms.  I also regret not getting to know some people better, especially the gray haired black man opening up the food shack next to our building in our last weeks there.  He would work throughout the heat of the day, taking smoke breaks on a metal, folding chair outside the tiny building's back door. "Chicken, ribs, burgers...fish! Whatever people want I'll make."
What I see as paradoxical about this region of the country is how poor and delapidated this area is in contrast with the widely misunderstood, romanticized and out-dated notion that the Deep South is wealthy, friendly, well-manicured and dreamy.  It is dreamy, and sometimes friendly, but when I decided to move there I had no idea how depressing it would be.  I knew most of the state was poor but I didn't imagine how that would affect me as a resident.  And it is still, incredibly beautiful, in an un-touched, dreamy, wild sort of way.  As an outsider, I saw poverty as iconically beautiful, symbolizing life lived close to the earth in humility and without much need for luxury.  But I witnessed a state of affairs that was upside down from how I had romanticized.  I noticed people blowing money on temporary luxuries like electronics, living with mold, pollutants and allergens, sick, eating dramatically unhealthy diets, and violent or neglectful towards animals.  This is not how everyone lived, obviously, but it did not fit into my vision for how life would be.  


It is just so different from the standard of living in Los Angeles, Long Island, or even Atlanta.  People drive a lot in the Mid-South.  This also sharply contrasted with how I envisioned small-town life to be.  I pictured myself walking to work, walking to the store, walking everywhere.  No Ma'am.  It seems like  nobody ever thinks of walking if they have a car.  It is like that would make someone look poor or something. In Collierville, TN, where I worked, you are lucky to find a sidewalk, and people look out from their cars confusedly, it is a completely exposed feeling just to walk one mile.  
My fiance's brother visited and took one of our cars to the dealership for a repair.  He took a cab to meet me during my lunch break so I could give him my car but accidently got dropped off a few miles too soon.  No problem for him, being a backpacking outdoor expeditioner and all.  As he walked along the main road he was accosted by two police officers and searched.  While they searched him another officer pulled up and joined the search.  Having just gotten back from several months of backpacking throughout India, Nepal, Indonesia and beyond, he was appalled that it took coming back to the States to encounter a problem with the authorities.  


Anyway, I think people drive way too much in general.  There is definitely too much driving for me here on Long Island.  It's really just too much traffic, really.  It took me two hours to go 30 miles the other day.  Granted, it was Sunday afternoon, with the Hamptons people commuting back to the city and the Puerto Rican Day Parade happened to be rolling through Manhattan.  
The tough part is that the driving didn't end once our road trip ended in our arrival in New York two weeks ago.   There has been driving to the airport and driving to Rhinebeck and driving to the beach, driving into the city and Brooklyn and soon I will be driving to Boston. Till then I plan on spending as much time as possible out of car, which has been easy since I have been in extreme, pregnant-lady-that-just-arrived-home-after-years-of-living-everywhere-but-home, nesting mode.  


I will include more about our road trip, visits with family, how pregnant life on Long Island is going and what is in store for the future in the next installment of, THINGS THAT NEED HOMES! I may need to change the title back since I am no longer featuring items, but I sort of like the current title, it can be taken kind of poetically...Any suggestions!?







and, as the say in Kundalini Yoga:  


May the Long-Time Sun Shine Upon You
All Love Surround You
And, the Purest Light Within You
Guide Your Way On


<3 Ana

Saturday, May 19, 2012

GoodByhalia


Hey Everybody!

Here are the items in my home that we are not bringing with us.  I have not included prices because a lot of it I would just hand over to you since many of them are used or I got for free.  Also if you get a number of things we could just name a low price to include it all.  I am not looking to make a profit.  For the lamps and larger or nicer items you can name your own price if you are interested or I can tell you what I paid for them and then we can reduce that.  

I just thought I would put this out there since a lot of this stuff would otherwise end up at the consignment shop downstairs from us, goodwill, as trash, or out on the street : ( And also, we are preschool teachers and good at finding good uses for random stuff, right?

If you are interested in anything call me (631) 827-2984 or email me ana.callahan@gmail.com before next Friday.  I think I could bring any of the items to school with me if that would be most convenient.

Love you all and will miss you : )
Ana




Candlesticks



maybe still available (4 extra candles included)




 AM/FM Weather Radio

Regular dial radio also picks up weather reports during storms/tornado, battery back up in case of power outage. Pretty neat.

3-Switch Lamp

Nice lamp, from estate sale, has three settings for brightness.
 
Antique Two-Switch Lamp

Lovely lamp, also from estate sale in Byhalia, has neat little old-fashioned stand for placing items on. Light metal material.  Lamp has two bulbs with two separate switches, only one works right now could probably be easily repaired.

 
Small Glass Lamp

I love this lamp.

 Speakers

Altec Lansing Speakers, plugs for Aux and Headphones. Adjustable, can be plugged into computer, Ipod, etc. Sort of banged up externally but still work fine.

 Garbage Can

Why throw away a perfectly functioning trash can? I don’t know why Matt has such oversized bags in there.  Will clean! Pardon the excessive recycling.

 Toaster Oven

From garage sale in Olive Branch. Works great. Came with stains on top from something melting. Will clean.

Lawn Chair 

It’s gettin’ warm out. (Pillow not included)

 Straw "Queen" Broom, Dustpan w/broom, Feather Duster

Anyone need any of these items?
 
Three-Drawer Plastic Storage

You might even get some of the fun items inside!!!

 Over-the-Door Hanging Mirror

spoken for
Storage Ottoman w/Reversible Top



Neat Item.  I forgot to show how you can store stuff inside of it, rest your feet on it, or use it for setting drinks down on, etc.  There is a little tear in the corner you can see and you have to be careful not to slide it because it can scratch a floor, I put a towel under it or something with I move it.  
White Ceramic Cubes (2)

I am pretty sure these are meant for flower arrangement, my sister gave them to me, I’ve been using them to organize my small counter space.  They are really pretty.

 Corkboard

It’s gotta go!!!
 
Folding Table

It’s got kind of a tropical look to it. Bamboo-like material.

 Nightstand

Wood with granite top.  Heavy! Shelf on bottom for storage.

Monk's Bench


This is one item I would definitely have to charge for, its so dear to me.  Its travelled down from NY with me. Gift from my Dad’s friend. I don’t want to part with it. Real hardwood and doubles for storage.  It seems like an antique. It’s called a monk’s bench because this is said to be the only piece of furniture a traveling monk would own.  Fairly light when empty.  $75
 
Four-Drawer Hardwood Dresser (Broken)


This dresser has broken on us before and Matt repaired it with a lot of nails and a hammer. It’s breaking down again. I believe it could easily be fixed up properly, the inner rails are just loose at the bottom and need to be replaced or re-installed. Free

 Drying Rack


Handy. From Walmart. Folds up small when not in use.

  Blender

several people are interested, none definite
 Coffee Grinder

Just your classic electric coffee bean grinder. Gives your coffee an extra fresh taste.

French Press

Just made some coffee!



Baking Sheet

Can you have too many of these?


 Pyrex Collection

9” Pie Pan, 9x13” Casserole Dish, 8x8” Square Pan with Lid
 
Steamer

It steams vegetables! Free,

 Colander & Kitchen Items

 wine/bottle opener and can opener still available
Kitchen Towels


Can’t take em with me. Free.
 

 
Steaming Pot

Spoken for!!!
 Flatware Set

spoken for
China?



Not a complete set obviously, there is one more bowl not pictured as well. Great for ice cream, salads, etc.  I tried to show the strange detail on the edges.

Assorted Mugs

Two have broken handles, Definitely Free : )

Glass & Jar Collection


My lovely collection. I included this in case anyone might have an interest in jars for various purposes, lids are on another page. There are actually more jars that are not pictured. Free.

Lids and Bread Pan

Pretty self explanatory. There are actually two bread pans available. This one is slightly smaller and older than the other one. Free.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Just Bit Into a Displeasing Nectarine/Minestrone Soup Time

It really goes to show you, it is best to wait for summer to enjoy such fruits.  Its just that, I could smell their sweet fragrance as I passed them in the aisle and thought to myself, Oh my! What a delightful mid-winter snack! A fresh nectarine!  Their aroma was sweet, but the texture was all wrong, as if they had been simultaneously softened and dried  on the inside, no juice dribbling down my chin and elbows.  It had that quality shared by the flesh of many apples, a chalky texture with no crisp juiciness.  Anyway, I took no more than three bites. What can you do with such a fruit?  Perhaps see if Shiloh would take a stab at it?  I don't imagine I can fool her either.  I can't believe I fell for it.   A nectarine in January, Psshhhh . . . 


Well this is an important message about Seasonal Living, one of my favorite topics, but secondary to the purpose of this post.  THIS POST IS ALL ABOUT MINESTRONE.  Minestrone means, "Big Soup" in Italian (according to Alice Waters) and it is not surprisingly she who I get this recipe from.  I chose to make this soup because I am trying out as many of her recipes as possible.  Why hers?  Because I really enjoy her philosophy of simplistic, wholesome, artistic cooking that treasures each ingredient, never over-doing anything.  It also stresses using the freshest ingredients available, which often means Local! 


Another cool aspect of her cookbook is that it makes it very clear that there are really only a few basic combinations of ingredients that one needs to be familiar with in order to make a large variety of dishes.  So I think that is awesome and after trying her very simple recipe for Carrot Soup (which was SO delicious), I now venture on to the Minestrone.  These two recipes, and a recipe for Chicken Broth are the only three listed under the "Soups and Broths" section of the cookbook.  The rest listed in the end of the book are variations upon the very simple bases that make these soups so good.  It is genius!  


Currently, I have the beans soaking and some dough for bread rising.  I haven't started anything else yet, but I will be making the "Winter" version of her Minestrone which actually calls for turnips, potatoes and cabbage instead of the standard zucchini, tomatoes and spinach which is described as the summer version.  I am deciding to not forgo the spinach in favor of cabbage, however, because I couldn't part with it once I started thinking about it floating around in my soup.  Plus, we need some greens even in winter/especially in winter.  


There is an exciting addition to the bread this time, since it was somewhat dense (perhaps due to over-rising and over-kneading) last time I am following the recipe's optional suggestion of adding dry milk to the sponge.  In an interesting twist of which Matthew will not be privy to (unless of course he reads my totally public, published on the internet for all to read blog, of course)  there will be a necessary substitution of goats milk for the powdered milk.  Whole Foods did not have regular powdered milk, only powdered goat milk, yea . . . I will refrain from going on about Whole Foods at the moment since they are still in my favor despite the nectarine which so quickly fell out.  I think it will be good, anyway.  It sort of smells like parmesan cheese though.  I am a little nervous about Matthew actually becoming upset with me about this substitution due to his strong aversion to anything, "goat" but something tells me I could be on the verge of a great discovery and can't afford to not take this risk.  Plus, I think its sort of funny.  Actually, I really hope he doesn't find out.  Dry milk, anyway, is supposed to add lightness and texture to the dough that might otherwise be heavier and grainier. (Still following the Tassajara Recipe)


Let's take a moment to dwell on an observation I've made in regards to Goat Products, and I'd like feedback on this . . . Why do so many people dislike them?  In my experience as a server I've noticed that predominately males dislike Goat Cheese in particular.  Matthew despises it.  What gives? (insert acting cool face)  I've also observed many men liking Goat Cheese, so I don't understand the occasional, yet often enough to be noteworthy aversion.  This is something I've wondered about for a while now.  What about women?  Occasionally women I waited on didn't like it.  Less often but always an interesting case.  I realize this is ridiculous now but I just think its suspicious that anyone wouldn't like goat cheese.  But, to digress even further, there are many things that some people may find offensive and the fact thereof offends other people! (not sure I used "thereof" correctly)  I bet there are even people who are offended that people are offended that people are offended by something.  Perhaps even the people themselves who are originally offended, and so forth do many arguments continue onwards.  Here I am, waxing philosophical about this silly little question, I promise I did not introduce it for that purpose.  It is a Friday afternoon and I am "firing on all cylinders" to borrow a phrase from the Gioia's. I am also sort of acting cool so I'm going to back off. 


  
Back to Minestrone! I just noticed the beans had been boiling over for the entire duration of my goat-cheese-rant but I think they will be alright.  This recipe called for a white bean or cranberry bean.  I could only find Cannellini, Great Northern and Navy Beans (which are all white beans, no cranberry beans to be found) and I went with Great Northern simply because they had the highest Andi Score, which is a very interesting thing to look into.  Pasta is another addition which Ms. Waters makes optional.  I chose to get some just in case, at least for the second serving if not the initial and went with orecchiette, a small ear-shaped and thus-named pasta.  The pasta and the beans are both cooked separately and then added close to serving time to avoid getting overdone.  


Anyone who has been reading my writing up until now will notice I have a severe tendency to indulge in hyphens and parenthesis.  I really like them.  I will defend the dependance upon hyphens as irrevocably instilled by the reading of Martin Heidegger during my senior year of college (I may have mentioned and apologized for this before) and the parentheses on the inability to add footnotes (as far as I know) in a blog.  That doesn't really justify it though, does it?  Well, I just like parentheses too.  I tend to think in various voices, constantly checking myself.  This whole paragraph should be a footnote.  I'd actually like to blame the oh so sweet, J.D. Salinger for taking such artful liberties with his prose that a lasting impression could not help but be made upon this consciousness.  I see that I am thoroughly reflective today and relatively lucid.  I am on the cusp of completing George Eliot's, Middlemarch, and love it.  It was tough getting going but SO worth it!  And now this is apparently a literary blog.  Love it. Love everybody, felt like giving the whole world a hug today.  As they say in the South, "Have a Blessed Day!" 





Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowy Night in Mississippi

Well, here I am in Mississippi. Post-holiday, early January stillness which I so look forward to every year.  It's supposed to snow today . . . enough to cancel stuff, so people are pretty excited and aflutter. Supposedly the first few flakes have begun to touch down but the sun has just set in time to conceal the magical image of flakes floating through bare tree branches and onto our dry yellowed grass.  I must admit I would be very pleased to see this whole place blanketed in snow.  It would feel somehow satisfying, as if, being a Northerner at my roots, I had some influence upon this weather.  As if, finally, I could enjoy the effects of my Northern-nish and watch it affect the lives of others in such an omnipresent force as the weather, rather than feel it is something to set me apart as an individual.  As if my personified Northerninity could retaliate against suppression, and manifest in its most well-known characteristic, Snow.

"Sorry, Mississippi, it just followed me down here."

Or, even better, I magnetically attracted it. Ah, to see this world blanketed tomorrow morning would feel good.  As if, I could for an instant, mute it, and make it my own playground.  There would be something familiar and estranged about it at once.  Let's hope it actually happens!

I'm baking bread this weekend.  The Tassajara Bread Book recipe for Whole Wheat Bread by Ed Brown. I am particularly interested in seeing if baking bread at this lower altitude will be easier than in Santa Fe.  I've only made it there and always have a little trouble with the recipe, mostly because the timing is so difficult with all the rising and estimation involved, and labor!  It really forces you to have a feel for the dough and the process which, although it is difficult and frustrating, impresses me.  It is a challenge and forces you to learn and use your senses and feeling, a sort of intuition.  The recipe is elaborate and detailed yet calls for the baker to know on their own when the dough has reached the right consistency, with helps and clues but no ultimate measuring yard.  It is truly a recipe that is most likely only mastered with repetition and the level of repetition with which you ultimately forget the recipe itself, you've followed it so many times.  Only then does the sense for cups of flour and levels of salt arrive innately and devoid of any measurement.

Of course, this is how it is with most cooking, or any art or skill for that matter.  Learn the skills, study them hard, climb the ladder, only to ultimately kick it away (as Wittgenstein says of the limits of language) forget all you learned and follow your heart.  With this notion of, "following your heart" understood to be more than following desire, but following a carefully developed keenness for where one's "heart" truly "wants" to go.  It's written in a quieter language, and subtler to the ear and not really about "going" somewhere.  But M pointed out to me recently, when talking about this very same topic, that people may often confuse "following one's heart" with following something else, like desire, or an image of ourselves.  It is difficult to say what exactly because everyone has a different path so it is impossible to describe what a particular misunderstanding of it would look like, but I am talking about "following your heart" as not allowing the clutter of information that is constantly pouring in to obscure the plain and simple understanding of things as they are, or prohibit the appreciation of our subtler selves and lastly, as confidence in spite of error.  I find that "following my heart" has been a process of remembering even more than learning.  Its something I always knew but forgot, and now must traverse the landscape of my convoluted thoughts to remember, while so many things try and distract me and convince me to want them (mostly fashion-related items).

In other words, its once I've memorized and come to understand the rhythm of a process, that I could begin truly experiencing freedom with it.  As in, improvisation in a jazz song, or incorporating nuts or some other variation into this bread recipe.  For example, I never look at a recipe when I make beans, I've done it so many times that now I just wing it every time and welcome variations. While, before I became familiar with cooking beans, I strove to make every pot the same, perfect quintessential pot of beans.

So hopefully, making bread will one day be an experience beyond straining my neck to read as I knead, getting flour and oil all over my precious little bread book as I struggle with unwieldy dough and I can eventually begin to, you know, "have fun with it."  Like when I walk into my kitchen, turn on the music, roll up my sleeves and say, "Alright, it's bean-cookin' time!"  So, we shall see how these loaves that have been patiently waiting to be baked for almost 24 hours now come out.  I'll have to find an especially warm spot for them to rise in their last stage before going in the oven as it has begun to snow and stick outside! Forecast says up to 8 inches!  Beautiful, thick, fluffy flakes appear out of the darkness when headlights of cars pass by.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So, Since its Bean a While . . .

There is a lot to get around to, a lot has happened, a lot of dishes have been planned, made and gone. There are about 5 different things I want to address!  But to keep things simple and prioritized, I start off with my most pressing question, we can get to the rest later:

Does anybody have any information or experience with creating a sort of Beet Casserole or Quiche with beets?  I think a quiche with beets would be the simplest option.  I've determined that golden beets would be best for this task since the red would bleed too much into the rest of the filling.  Yet, if this was a casserole perhaps that would be OK?  The Beet Quiche/Casserole quest has been plaguing me for several months.

I experimented with a pie crust to make a Beet/Kale/Turnip Pie-Like Thing but that didn't work out very well, all the vegetables were roasted (and beautiful) but the consistencies didn't match up, and there was not enough egg or cream or cheese to hold it all together.  There also may have been, and I can't believe I am saying this . . . too much pie crust.

Anyway, I really want the perfect recipe to be distilled from these root vegetable + dairy + oven dreams.  Perhaps in time for Thanksgiving even!

I did research a bit on the internet a while back but it was hasty and I started experimenting before I had really collected enough data.  So, I am calling out to let me know if you have any ideas or leads, suggestions, etc.  <3

Coming Soon:  A Corn Chowder; Revisited

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Today's Beans & Thoughts on Seasonal Living

Sunday, October 3rd


It's always a new pot of beans.

Today they are early autumn beans.  On account of the brisk October breeze rolling around this batch needs a little spice-- provided on this occasion by some New Mexico Hatch Chiles courtesy of Whole Foods.  Just two of those babies gave a nice sustained heat throughout the whole dish.  Since I jumped in on the family tradition of black bean making handed down from my mother's side I've made many pots of beans.  They've varied from the early attempts to perfect the standard GOYA package recipe of my college years, to imitating my Mother's style (which tends to vary anyway) to experimenting with parmesan rinds, spring onions and rosemary to red chili versions to stabs at white bean making and these days, your more stew-like, carrot and celery pot o' beans.

Beans are like bread in this way, or a work of art.  Every loaf is its own masterpiece, or barely-edible-salvaged-experiment in some cases.  This is why I love seasonal everything.  Obviously seasonal cooking is great because it is way to connect your body on a daily basis to the environment, but seasonal living can extend far beyond this.  Why not let the change of seasons permeate into even the littlest details of our lives?  Changing from cotton to wool socks, noticing the different angles in lighting and of course, beginning to eat heartier meals.  For me, these details of daily living are embedded with meaning, to the point of distraction at times, but I simply love to savor them.  So, unable to keep such adoration to myself, I decided to start writing about it.

And of course, what more natural a topic than food?  Cooking has been a big part of my life since I've moved to Mississippi, yes . . . even bigger that before.  Feeding Matthew Gioia is a full time job I like to say and I'm always worried he's gonna eat faster than I can cook.  It was, for that matter, a big steaming pot of black beans in the cold Santa Fe November that brought his incinerator-vegetarian-soul to my door in the first place.  And, I've just kept on makin' them.  I've picked up a few tips along the way that makes beans just better and better, for example:

  • a parmesan rind (they sell them at whole foods or you can just ask for them anywhere blocks of parmesan cheese are sold because they are normally inedible but make a great savory base when added to soups in place of broth if you are cooking vegetarian) they melt and get all gooey as the beans cook
  • Adding herbs and spices last (I add a few herbs at the beginning, namely bay leaf but the rest are added at the end, especially the cumin or oregano if I use it)
  • Salt at the end, recent research has informed me that salt during the cooking process can harden the beans unnecessarily and is best when added after they are mostly cooked!
  • Simmering beans with a spoon in the pot supposedly diminishes gas . . . you can try that one out for yourself.
So, thats what I've got so far.  Working with food has become something special to me and I like this practice because I now know that I would never want to be a full-time chef (maybe just menu designer). I love it, nonetheless.  I must mention that I am also inspired by a blog called, Simply Recipesdone by a woman named Elise from which I gather much recipe inspiration and follow practically daily.  So without further delay, here is how you can make this dish for yourself:

Early Autumn Pot O' Beans


Sort, rinse & soak black beans over night in cold water, in the morning - drain, rinse & refill covering beans two inches with water and bring to boil. While heating up start on the sauteed portion:


This pot was heavy on the garlic (6-8 cloves!) and took one sweet onion.

Saute chopped onion in olive oil first while chopping garlic, add to pan making sure oil is not hot enough to over-brown the garlic (personal thing might not affect overall taste).

I used a few Bay Leaves because the ones I have now are small.
As an experiment I didn't add any oregano until the last five minutes of simmering and it really worked so hold off on the regs!
Chop up your Green Chili's -- if you don't have New Mexico Hatch, any sort of pepper will add its own charm to the dish, spicy like Anaheim or Poblano or just a Bell Pepper is fine (especially during the summer if you don't want too much heat). Add them to the sizzling saute mix.
Dice up carrot and celery evenly, saute them too (I used three small carrots and one large stalk of celery).
I had some fresh thyme sprigs left over from another recipe and threw that in the mix.
Some generous helpings of fresh ground black pepper.

THEN you can add any of the following when making beans:   (or skip this step entirely!)
-Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
-Red Wine Vinegar
-Old Wine
-Cooking Wine
-Sherry
-Old Champagne thats been left out too long . . . . . you get the idea

(I've been using Apple Cider Vinegar these days because its supposedly so darn good for ya and is what is used in this particular recipe)

After the vinegar burns off and stops smelling so bad you can add the sauteed mix to the pot of now boiling (or if they came to a boil early, lowered to a steady simmer) beans.

Cover

Add water throughout the simmering process as necessary to keep beens immersed in water.

I  took out the thyme sprigs 'cause I was worried it was too much but ended up adding it back in at the end. So, let the beans simmer for as long as they need to cook.  For this batch I even left and went on a hike with Matthew at Meeman-Shelby State Park 50 miles North of us in Tennessee.

When I got back they were soupy, stew-like and desperately in need of Salt.  I added a lot (sorry, don't often measure) then the magic began.  The amount of heat given off by the chilis was perfect, I added a very generous amount of cumin, a few dashes of turmeric (my new secret ingredient) and threw the big thyme sprig back in (I'm always throwing thyme around!) Then, a few shakes of dried oregano and let the beans simmer another 10 -15 minutes before turning off the stovetop and feasting!

I knew these were good cause I never am tempted to eat beans straight out of the pot, I am more of a refried gal but I couldn't resist just digging right in.  Maybe it was the hike but these tasted great so try it out yourself if you like!

Really good plain in bowl, or with a little sprinkled parmesan or still even more amazing with homemade quesadillas.  Also really good the next day strained of liquid and mixed with steamed kale and cottage cheese if you need something on the fresher side, ENJOY!

<3