Tag Archives: crockpot

Killing my wolf. (How to cook beans.)

One of my favorite things to eat for dinner is bean tostadas.  A super frugal meal, and sure to scare away the wolf at the door.  Take a corn tostada shell (store-bought are cheap and of course easy, or you can make your own), spread with refried beans, smear with sour cream (or home-made kefir sour cream), top with whatever you like–tomatoes or fresh salsa, shredded cheese and homemade hot sauce is how we do them.

This is how I cook my pinto beans.  I follow Sally Fallon’s recipe for basic beans in her “Nourishing Traditions” book, which is basically the way I had made them previously, with a couple small exceptions.  I take a 2 pound bag of pintos, pick through them for rocks, etc., rinse them good and put them in a large bowl, covered with WARM water.  Black beans require a little whey also. Let them soak for 12-24 hours (I usually try for the 24), drain off the water, put the beans in my large crockpot covered with water, and cook on low for about 12 hours or until tender.  DON’T SALT THE WATER until they’re done, or you risk having tough beans that won’t ever get tender! Trust me on this.

When they’re done, I season with sea salt, turn the heat off and let sit until cool enough to fill several zip bags and pop in the freezer (lay them flat until frozen, then they can store upright-takes less space).  I always put some of the bean liquid in the bag with the beans, since I use these mostly for refried beans which require some liquid.

Let me tell you, homemade refried beans are a cinch to prepare and you will never go back to canned!  Thaw your beans. Melt a good amount of bacon grease in a skillet (I’m going to try beef tallow next time), put in the beans and mash with a potato masher or large spoon until they look right (I personally don’t mind some whole beans in there, but you can certainly mash your little heart out here).  That’s all I usually do, other than some S & P.  Maybe I’m a purist, but I don’t think they need anything else. Tostadas made with these beans are make-you-shout-halleluia good.

And if you didn’t understand the reference to the wolf, you need to read     M.F.K. Fisher’s book called “How to Cook a Wolf.”


Cabin Fever (Crockpot Swiss Steak)

We’ve been cooped up in the house for several days while the weather does its thang!  I need a diversion!  We were going to have company over today, but driving conditions were so poor that nobody could come.  This is what we would have had (and may still have it tomorrow if the roads are any better).

Crockpot Swiss Steak

This is a good way to use an inexpensive cut of meat, and yet it gives you that old-time homey comfort food feeling!

Put in crockpot:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 lbs. (grass-fed) beef (7 bone steak, top sirloin, london broil, really anything would work!)
  • 1 c. bone broth (I use chicken and it’s fine)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (home-frozen garden tomatoes would be even better–just add some diced bell peppers too)
  • Splash of vinegar

Let cook all day on low til tender.  Sea salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with mashed potatoes, well buttered!

Be sure to save any bones for future bone broth!  Store them in the freezer in a zip-bag til you have enough to use.

This post is a part of Fight Back Friday!