Smoky Southwestern Beans

You can enjoy these beans straight out of the pot, or save and prepare them refried-style later.

Ingredients:
2 cups dried beans, such as Mayocoba, Pinto, black or other bean of your choosing
1 small onion
2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings (or butter or lard)
1-2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
2-3 quarts water
Pinch of Mexican oregano (optional)

Method:
1. Sort through the beans and discard any rocks or shriveled beans. Rinse and drain well.

2. Add beans to a pot and cover with 2-3 quarts of water, or so the water level is 2 inches above the beans. Add the roughly chopped onion and 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings (or butter or lard).

3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover. Let simmer for 1½-2 hours. Ensure that the water level is well above the beans by adding more water as they cook if necessary.

4. Start tasting them after 1½ hours. If they are hard or grainy they need a little more time. Once cooked add 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of Mexican oregano and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Give a final taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Either serve immediately, or store for future use.

Roasted Delicata Squash

Buttery and incredibly delicious, Delicata squash is wonderful roasted with just a touch of brown sugar and red pepper flakes.

Ingredients:
2 Delicata squash (about 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400°. With a sharp knife, cut Delicata in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard (or, save and roast like pumpkin seeds if you wish). Cut each Delicata half into ½-inch slices.

2. Arrange the pieces in a single layer in a metal baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with brown sugar and red pepper flakes (if using), then season with salt and pepper.

3. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Using a spatula, turn squash in pan. Continue roasting, turning every 7-10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy to the teeth all the way through, about 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper as needed, and serve.

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Spicy Heirloom Tomatoes

Topped with sweet corn and a pinch of cayenne pepper, these juicy tomatoes make a wonderful salad.

Ingredients:
3-4 heirloom tomatoes
½ cup fresh corn kernels
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Cotija cheese

Method:
1. Rinse and slice tomatoes, arrange them on a plate. Take a serrated knife and run it gently down the ear of corn. Sprinkle the corn on top of the tomatoes.

2. Drizzle with a little olive oil, squeeze of citrus, top with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a little cayenne pepper for a kick. Top with crumbled cotija cheese.

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Watermelon Radish & Arugula Salad

Top this crisp combination with a garlic-lemon dressing and freshly-grated Romano cheese.

Ingredients:
1 bunch Watermelon radishes, trimmed
2 cups packed arugula
5 tablespoons grated Romano-style cheese

For vinaigrette:
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Slice the radishes into thin rounds. (You should have about 1 cup.)

2. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In a serving bowl, combine the radishes, arugula, grated Romano and about two thirds of the dressing. Toss well, taste, and add more dressing to taste. Finish with fresh ground pepper.

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