Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Glue that Holds Us Together... (Made-from-Scratch Black Beans)

Let me tell you a thing or two about Brazilian men.  No, wait, first let me tell you a thing or two I used to think about Brazilian men.  Back in the day, when I was single and ready to mingle, my friend Querubia kept saying, "Let me take you to Brazil.  The men will love you down there and you will find a great guy."  And my response?  "No, thank you.  One of those boys will make me fall in love and then run away with my heart, leaving me in the dust.  Nope, not for me." 

Oh, how life teaches us to "never-say-never"! 

So now I have this Brazilian man by my side.  Yes, he was good at making me fall in love with him.  And unlike the stereotypes I had been told, he did not leave me in the dust, left to pick up pieces of a broken heart.  Quite the opposite actually.

So now I feel qualified to tell you a thing or two about Brazilian men.  First of all, they love the women in their lives.  Mom is their superhero.  Sister is their confidant.  You know when they say to look at how a man treats his mother to see how he will treat his wife?  Brazilian men have that one down.  They know how to treat a woman.  (Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and I speak based off of what I know/see from my life and the lives of my friends, but this seems to ring true for most situations.)

Other very important things to know about Brazilian men -- soccer is king.  Don't try to come between a Brasileiro and his soccer team or death and destruction might come your way. 

The beach is life. 

Love is not just something said, but something shown

And beans and rice keep a smile on his face.

I knew going into our marriage that would have to learn to make beans and rice the Brazilian way.  He learned a whole language for me (or mastered it, as he was already learning it), so it only seemed fair.  My idea of opening a can of beans and throwing them into a pot was not going to fly anymore.  It was time to actually make beans, not just heat them up.  The taste difference is totally worth it.  Beans from the can are good, don't get me wrong.  But my beans?  Well, I eat them by the spoonful.  Cold.  Straight out of the fridge.  Yup, they are that good.

My husband is very good at eating American food (and by American food I of course mean Italian-Mexican-Greek-Anything-we-want-to-eat food).  His friends freak out, FREAK OUT, when he says something like, "I think the last time I ate beans was three weeks ago."  "WHAT?!" they shriek.  "Your wife is starving you!"  But I am proud to say he quickly comes to my defense with something along the lines of, "No, she is not.  You should try her food and then you will see why I don't need beans and rice all the time."  Nope, he does not need nor eat it all the time, but I do try to get some in front of him every once in awhile.  Right now we are on about once a month.  But when we do... SMILE from ear to ear.

Today I am just sharing the recipe for beans because I believe you already know how to make rice.  And before I can show you how to do Brazilian rice (which is different than throwing it in the rice cooker), I need to get really good at it.  I am only there about 15% of the time.  So for today, make some rice in the rice cooker or whatever to go with these beans.  As long as you are not feeding them to a Brazilian you should be fine ;)

I think I do them differently than others do, but this is how I have figured out how to make beans my Brazilian friends approve of.  First, I add the beans and the water and boil for about twenty minutes.  Then I put the lid on the pressure cooker (after adding some vegetable oil and salt) and cook for another half an hour-40 minutes.  Finally, after the the pressure is gone, I add onion, garlic, and bay leaves and boil for another 15 minutes.  This gives the beans a nice fresh flavor with flavor-packed mouthfuls of everything good in life.  Yes, it takes some time, but we make enough for five days and eat it every single day until it is gone.  And I do not complain once.  Because I (now) love beans and rice, too.

My Bean Recipe:Ingredients -
  1. beans (about 1 1/2 cup)
  2. 1/2 onion, chopped
  3. three cloves of garlic
  4. salt, much more than a pinch (maybe 2 teaspoons???)
  5. two bay leaves
  6. a little bit of oil
  7. 3 cups of water 
Directions -
  1. Sort and rinse beans.  Add to pressure cooker.  Cover with water until about knuckle-deep.
  2. Boil for 15-20 min.  Add more water at end if needed.
  3. Cover with lid, and cook on high until the pressure cooker starts singing.  Lower heat to medium and cook for 25 - 35 minutes. 
  4. Turn off heat and let cool down so the pressure releases. 
  5. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and oil, and bring back to a boil.  Boil for 15 more minutes.  (Add more salt if desired).
Viola!  Delicious (and incredibly nutritious) beans!

Cost: $1.90        Cost per serving (with rice): $0.25

Who knew eating fresh felt so good in your mouth and in your wallet?  Not to mention in your body! ;)


  1. This just made me hungry. My beans and rice loving husband says thank you :)

  2. Sounds like this is quite an exciting dish to try, Brazilian, or not...I always enjoy reading your blog and browsing through your pictures.

    1. Thank you! I am glad you stop by :)

  3. My Brazilian husband is the same way :) Although since we live in Brazil, we tend to eat more Brazilian food by default! I made feijão from scratch for the first time 2 weeks ago, and I was so proud!! I don´t have a pressure cooker though (yet... next purchase for sure!) so it took hours... but it was well worth it! I have the rice down now too - only have bad days every now and then!

    1. I did good rice last night. I think I am at a 33% success rate with the rice :) Congrats on the beans -- it feels good, doesn't it?!

  4. It looks yummy! =)

    I'm a Brazilian living in the US and I cook my own feijão once a month as the canned stuff creeps me out, lol! Have you tried to soak the beans overnight? By doing that, I only need to cook them under pressure for about 15 minutes. It saves me a lot of time. Also, if you sautee the onion, garlic and bay leaves before boiling the beans, their flavor will be enhanced by the pressure. Feel free to add sausage (like kielbasa), chopped/diced bacon or even chunks of meat (stew type) when sauteeing onion and garlic. They will add tons of flavor. In some parts of Brazil, the kidney/pinto beans have chunks of pumpkin and/or chopped collard greens. Sounds weird, I know, but it is so delicious! There are so many different ways of cooking beans from scratch ;)

    I enjoy reading your blog!

    1. All of your ideas sound great! My husband likes it it with sausage, but I just never do it because I never think to buy it. It's ok, though, he loves beans anyway he can get them ;)

      The canned stuff is totally creepy. Had leftovers in the fridge for three weeks and they still smelled fine when I finally went to toss them out (no worries, we weren't eating them that long!). If something can sit that long without going bad it is kind of scary, like McDonald's hamburgers!

  5. Pinning this one! I've just recently started buying dry beans instead of canned. I have yet to do anything with the pound of black beans sitting in kitchen!

  6. I love this...I have yet to make my own beans. Sigh, You have inspired me.


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