Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Magic Beans and Palm Oil

More than a few weekends ago, I got to travel to the beautiful countryside of Maryland to visit very dear friends of mine, Katie and Ted. These lucky folks live on a horse farm, and I always learn so much from them when I go. Mostly we talk rebellion, and we cook a bunch. So, it was at their house that I was introduced to the beans of Rancho Gordo and the oil of Palm.
First, the palm oil. You can see from this photo that the oil is a dark amber color, and so will stain anything it touches yellow- including whatever you are frying. On the other hand, frying in this oil is unlike any other. It does not smoke, it does not pop, and it has a wonderful flavor. I hear it is like frying in bacon grease. Plus, the deep color means that the oil is high in several vitamins like beta carotene, and contains more nutrients than any other oil we eat. Try it out!

Now, about the beans. Katie had several bags of Rancho Gordo beans in her cupboard. We made fritters with the Yellow Indian Woman beans which were wonderful, and I got to take some seeds home to plant. Along with the Yellow Indian Woman, I planted some Good Mother Stallard, Rio Zape and Pintos. Growing information is not easy to come by for all of these heritage varieties, but I figured I could adapt as they grew. I planted them upon my return and am looking so forward to rich stews and hearty winter suppers and definitely more fritters.

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