A perfectly new food obsession.

Just when I think that I'm uninspired, revelation hits. This morning I got this email from GOP:

Rebecca, Just forget getting anything done today, because today is the day that I introduce you to Dum dum DUM: www.ranchogordo.com I just ordered the deluxe gift box, for myself (I wanted the book.)

Enjoy, love gina

I spent a while in reckless obsession over these amazing bean varietals, painstakingly reading each description and even went to my Saveur back issues, as the website reminded me that Steve Sando's (the founder) beans made the Saveur 100 in January 2008.

His quote in Saveur pretty much sums it up, I think: "Beans shouldn't need to be cooked with a ham hock to taste good." While I had my own beans, lovingly selected from my food co-op (but I couldn't tell you where they were actually sourced, unlike the beauties on the Rancho Gordo site...), soaked and saturated with bacon in wait in the icebox, this revelation of beanery piqued my interest to no end.

Next, I moved on to Steve's blog, also completely wonderful. I knew that I had to make something in the Rick Bayless vein for dinner tonight- he is after all our Midwest answer to the lucky Napa Valley, indeed all of California's, Mexican cuisine... not to mention my own personal favorite.

I have to say that I didn't follow the instructions perfectly for this Tostaditas de Salmon Ahumado (or Smoked Salmon - Black Bean Tostaditas) from the Mexico One Plate at a Time cookbook. This morning, after a batch of grape jam (but more on that later) I made some roasted tomatillo salsa, also Rick's recipe, but altered for my ease. I also decided to add an avocado too (and a healthy 2 T. of cilantro), which is a trick I remember I loved in a Bon Appetit recipe - found in the Flavors of Mexico issue they put out several years ago. I'm not sorry I did. I forgot how delicious it is! To make it, just blend in a ripe avocado to Rick's Recipe, or my tweaked recipe.

Next, I used the cranberry beans waiting in the fridge instead of black. I pureed them, and then heated them in a cast iron pan. Since I had cooked them with onion and bacon, I didn't really need to season them too much more. I did have to add cumin and chile powder, since I love that.

The next part I did pretty much the same: 5 oz. of smoked salmon, which I found at the Outpost and it was really delicious, 1/4 c. of chopped tomato, a minced jalapeno, 2 T. chopped cilantro and some salt and black pepper. Just mix together, and pretty much any other topping you would pair with this would be terrific in my opinion.

I never can resist adding cumin to beans...

Since I had homemade yogurt, and finally perfected my consistency by adding dried milk to the mixture, I used this in place of the crema. Even my picky Husband ate some - that Always surprises me.

Perfection! Inspiration, new obsessions and man, I am going to have to click over and order heirloom beans, since I can think of nothing else now. It doesn't hurt either that the Rancho Gordo design is one of the best ever. I'm absolutely certain that I can endorse this product even before trying it - is that crazy or what? How can you not love a guy for selling beans with this heading: "Also back in stock is Yellow Indian Woman, after a long, irritating absence."? I can see where the bulk of my protein will be coming from this winter...