Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day Bean Pot Recipe

It's Labor Day. The campground is busy with a flurry of activity. It was 45F degrees at 5am, but 86F degrees at noon. I have a cheap electronic thermometer, with a string that hangs out the upper bunk window, thus recording the outdoor temperature for me.   It also records my indoor temperature, plus keeps time or you can set the time to show the hygrometer (relative humidity). With electronic components so ridiculously tiny and cheap, one wonders why they didn't build it with 4 displays. But that may explain why I bought it so cheaply. Also, at the time, I didn't know they made wireless sensors, but those do cost a lot more. 

Lately I've been getting up bright and early, so I don't miss out on anything. This of course, gives me the perfect excuse to lay down and take an afternoon siesta. I started this blog before my siesta and now that I'm up again, I feel positively tired again. Maybe I need a shower to wake me up. 

The ice cream truck came through the campground again. He plays the same ONE song over and over. I hear that song when the truck isn't even within miles of the place. Ice cream isn't on my list of healthy foods to live by, but I feel like handing him money, while asking him to invest in a second song. 

Maybe something hip-hop or rap with a good drum beat like the one I wrote:

Order in the Campground
Here come da truck
Ice cream, you scream
All scream for ice cream
Go get cha money
And nut-tin' funny
You can have a Sundae
Even on a Monday

Yesterday I made a pot of beans for a noon party.  Before I was ready to go, the phone rang. I wasn't paying attention, to time, my watch is broken.  From where I was sitting, I couldn't see the microwave clock nor the clock on the thermometer.  Next thing I knew, it was 20 past noon, and I was invited for noon.  I quickly wrapped my crockpot in a towel. I was trying to stuff it all into a heavy duty shopping bag to carry over when the phone rang, reminding me that lunch was ready. 

Harley and I dashed out the door, made it to the party. I was so embarrassed, everyone was about finished eating. I quickly set up my bean pot, unwrapped the towel, removed the lid then  stuck the ladle in I had brought. 

No one would try the beans.  Somebody said they "looked good", but still no takers. I put some on my plate anyhow plus some potato salad and barbecue pork. I was ill-at-ease for being late, as my host quickly made introductions. I apologized, secretly reminding myself this isn't the Caribbean where island time is accepted.  Island time being that it's OK to not ever wear a watch and to show up within an hour or so, and still be considered prompt. 

I know when I had sit-down dinner parties in the islands, I always set the invited time for at least an hour early.  Someone might actually show up on time, but typically people showed up over the course of the next hour and a half.  They would have been insulted, if the dinner had started without them, in spite of their lateness.  In the Caribbean, you aren't late, you're on island time. So that's island time for you. A leisurely way of doing things. 

I am in America now, I must strive to pay attention and be early or prompt, not late in the least. Old habits die hard. I tasted the barbecue and potato, salad, they were wonderful and I said so. I took a large forkful of beans too, to show everyone I had not brought sheer poison to the party. I tried to coax some into trying my beans. They just stared at the pot, like it was suspect. Now, I truly felt really awful for being late. 

Finally the host tried some beans, but she screamed they were hot, hot, hot in a joking manner, but upon reflection, me do thinks she might have been a tad serious. I explained I had only put in ONE banana pepper. I tasted the beans on my plate again, they seemed mighty tame to me, nothing even remotely mildly warm. I speculated out loud that she must have found the entire banana pepper, even though I had removed the seeds, and finely minced it, plus thoroughly stirred the beans.  Another lady, claimed to love hot spicy foods. She took a teeny tiny spoon of beans for her plate, tasted them, stared off into space, then announced they weren't hot at all. 

No one else would touch them. Now I was doubly embarrassed.  When I arrived, I had quickly tied Harley the puppy dog to a tree out of reach of us. Plus I had brought a dog toy, which I gave him to play with. At least he had on his very best manners, he didn't bark or whimper or cry or beg. He played with his toy while keeping an eye on us.  I asked the host if she would mind if I gave him a piece of  my barbecue.  I got up to take him some meat off my plate. He just loved that, carefully devouring it like a Hoover vac on a mission. He eagerly wagged his tail, looking very expectant, so later I gave him some more.  He thought this was fantastic.  He is more than eager to go to parties.  I just hope this new quiet doggy attitude sticks with him. 

I feel sorry for him lately. I've been really tough on him, stepping up the training, requiring him to learn an array of commands. Some he gets, others he doesn't. I just want so much for him to be a good little doggy who can go anywhere and behave. A well-trained dog is such a joy to have around. But lawdy mercy, does it ever take a ton of work. Some dogs get it right away, others are stubborn.  Since Harley spent his first five months without me, he apparently had few manners at all. 

Ha!  I must admit, I was truly amazed at how well behaved he was. He surprised me. So even if no one liked my beans, and only two would even try them, at least Harley didn't add to my discomfort by misbehaving. Thank goodness for miracles, both big and small (and goofy too.)

Well, guess who has a big pot of beans in the fridge now? Me! Everyone left the party pretty quickly after eating, leaving just me and the hostess. We cleaned up. She grabbed my towel, wrapped up the bean pot and quickly handed it to me.  Normally I would have left the beans as a food gift, but after the way she screamed they were so hot, it seemed pointless. Just a month ago, I took a pot of beans to a party, also very mild, and within minutes of the food service, the pot was scraped clean. 

Go figure. 

So for breakfast, I had a scrambled egg sandwich with beans on the side. I thought they were delicious. After sitting down to eat, I grabbed my cayenne pepper, dusting my serving of beans. Now they tasted mildly hot. 

Below is my recipe. 

Labor Day Bean Pot Recipe

One cup dried pinto beans cooked in a quart of water on low, in the crockpot overnight with 1 bay leaf.  Open lid in the morning, and let cook on high until most of the water is cooked out. Return to low setting on crockpot. 

An hour or more  before serving, add 1 chopped bell pepper, 1 banana pepper minced, 3 tablespoons of dried onion flakes, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of Five Spice Powder, 1 tablespoon of Beef Bouillon powder, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 cup of Picante Sauce, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add a lot more if you like it hot)

I make mine in my "bean pot" which is really a small slow cooker crockpot that holds one and half quarts.  It is the perfect size for dried bean dishes. 

Once you fall in love with a versatile handy crockpot, most cooks end up with assorted sizes for various uses. Since I am currently living in a modest (read that small...) motorhome, I just travel with the one crockpot.
This 1-1/2 quart slowcooker
crockpot comes in fiery

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