Flageolet beans

flageolet beansI found an (expensive) bag of heirloom flageolet beans at a little store called “Cured“. Aren’t they pretty? Some of them are creamy tan, and some pale green.

“Cured” is a curious shop tucked near a janitorial supply on about 18th and Pearl in Boulder. I discovered it a few years ago, and now stop to browse whenever I’m in the area. They have an exotic selection of cheese and sausage, and shelves of items like duck fat, olives, crackers, truffles – all sorts of exotic fare. Plus gorgeous loaves of bread. They have a sit-down area for coffee customers. The late morning we were there last week, the store was crowded to overflowing! (Don’t folks in Boulder have to work mornings?)

What to do with these flageolet beans? I went to the website of Rancho Gordo, the company that sells these beans. According to Rancho Gordo, If soaked overnight, flageolets need only about 45 minutes to cook. That’s not long, so I decide not to use the electric pressure cooker that I traditionally use for beans, and instead just let these simmer on the stove top.

Here is how they look just after I put them in a bowl and added water:

flageolet beans

(The photo at the top of this page is of the beans the next morning, after soaking.)

I did add a little salt before cooking, although the Rancho Gordo website advised against it. The cooking liquid from these beans has amazing flavor.

I pretty much followed the recipe for Grilled Shrimp with White Beans, Sausage & Arugula on the Rancho Gordo website. I added a bit of basil, and near the end of the cooking I added a couple fresh, peeled, chopped tomatoes marinated in about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for about 30 minutes.

I served these to my bean-reluctant husband for a Saturday night dinner. Surprise! He liked them! And of course I did!

from the kitchen

I love the view out my kitchen window, and have for the past 33 years. The window itself had to be removed and replaced last month. I had a moment while my husband lugged the new window around the house. I grabbed my camera.

My view, no glass no screens no window in the way:

windowA bit of protective plastic floats in the next one. I was up on the counter poking the camera through.

kitchen windowThat’s my view!

A trip to the Asian market.

I know better. But when I visit my favorite Asian market in Boulder I usually end up walking out with a few odd and unplanned items tucked in the plastic bag. I call it a “what the heck?” moment. Here we go:

pickled daikon containerIt cost all of 2 dollars for this large container of pickled daikon and carrots! How could I resist?

In my defense (this time), I once was searching high and low for pickled daikon. That was several years ago when I took a home cook class from the Culinary School of the Rockies (now Escoffier Boulder) on Thai cooking. We were given a great recipe for Pad Thai that called for this unusual ingredient (among a lot of other things). I found fresh daikon in stores, but not pickled. So when I saw the container of pickled daikon (and carrots) next to the check-out stand, I couldn’t resist it. Even though long ago I had stopped searching for it. Even though I had no plans to make Pad Thai in the near future.

It does look pretty:

pickled daikon

That’s a little Thai basil next to the pickled daikon and carrots. It too is a deal, it only cost about $2.50 for a huge bag, about 4 ounces. That’s what local regular markets charge for 2/3 ounce of fresh herbs.

What is daikon? It’s a large Asian radish. What is Thai basil? Thai basil is similar to sweet basil, but it has a strong kick of a licorice-flavor aroma, sort of like fresh fennel leaves. It’s great in Asian cooking. For instance: I did a quick fry of chicken tenders, added red curry paste and coconut milk, and topped it off with some chopped Thai basil and lime. Perfect.

The Asian market that I like is called the “Asian Seafood Market”. It’s in Boulder, Colorado, on 28th Street, just north of Valmont. The lady who runs the store is always watching TV, often Korean soap operas. She always berates me about something. This time I had two limes in my basket. She said “Two limes? No two limes. Go get ‘nother. They are three limes, three limes for dollah.” I dutifully went for another. If I buy one or two baby bok choy, she just shakes her head, “not ‘nuf, you need lot.” If I ask where something is, or how to substitute for something I can’t find, she talks so fast and barely understandably that I just nod and do what she says.

The market is amazing. Packed with all sorts of cans and jars that look strange to American eyes. Usual and unusual frozen seafoods. All sorts of wrappers and noodles and rices. The produce section looks small, but is full of good herbs and vegetables. The fresh mint is excellent. I learned about Asian mangoes from the store-boss; I found them in her store years before I started seeing them in other local markets. (They call them “champagne” mangoes and I’d eat them today but I’m allergic.) She sells fresh bean sprouts by the pound, which is great, since I rarely use all of a package bought in a regular market. Near the counter is a display of Asian packaged snacks. Oh, and my masseuse swears by the eucalyptus oil that is behind the counter. (It clears the nasal passages.)

Go there, check it out, if you live in the Boulder area. It’s an adventure. Where else can you find non-bar-coded foodstuffs? That in itself is a trip back a couple decades. I checked, but wasn’t surprised that the store does not even have a web site. You can only experience this store in person.

And what did I do with the pickled daikon and carrots? Well, I cooked a couple tablespoons of chopped red onion, then added chopped baby bok choy, then salt and pepper. Then I topped it with a heaping tablespoon of the pickled mixture. Served it next to the above mentioned Thai chicken dish and rice. It was very good. It’s all gone, not even a photo to share with you.