Tag Archives: victory gardens

Anasazi Green Beans

If you have seen my previous posts on Anasazi Beans then you know I am a huge fan of the heirloom bean. Although we typically allow them to dry right on the vine and then use the beans as you might use pintos or black beans, I recently learned that Anasazi green beans are another delicious option!

anasazi green beans

Papa Bird has Anasazis growing as vines along our bottom fence, but discovered a gopher had eaten the roots off of one of the plants. Since the plant was on the verge of toppling over, he picked them for use as Anasazi green beans!


For a recipe for the most delicious veggie burger ever, the legend of Anasazi Beans, and more on victory gardens, see my post on Anasazi Bean Burgers. And for more growing tips on Anasazis and a recipe for a twist on a Southern holiday classic, check out Anasazi Bean Hoppin’ John.

Can you recommend a recipe for Anasazi Green Beans?

We usually cook green beans simply, and Little Bird loved to gum them as one of her first “holding” foods at 8 months. But please tell me, what are your favorite recipes for green beans?

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup on BabyBirdsFarm

My family and I spent a sunny Sunday morning last week at the farmer’s market. Among other yums, both my husband and I were drawn to an unusual looking cauliflower at the Suzie’s Farm stand.  It was a cheddar-orange colored variety called, well “cheddar.” I thought it was an heirloom, but upon research at home, it is actually a hybrid, but non-gmo seeds are available here. The color turned even darker when I cooked it and cheddar cauliflower naturally has 25 times the beta carotene of regular cauliflower, making it 2nd only to carrots. It made a lovely, simple soup!

Cheddar Cauliflower

Cauliflower Soup Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or diced
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of milk (optional)

In a medium-large soup pot, heat oil on medium heat. Sauté the onions, seasoned with salt and pepper, until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, add the cauliflower and broth. Bring up to a low boil and cook for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft. Let cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender. Add the milk, if using, and return to heat until warm.

Very baby friendly. Also great served cool or room temperature! I kept the seasoning simple and garnished with a little truffle salt.

Cauliflower Soup on BabyBirdsFarm

 

Anasazi Bean Burgers

My mom was visiting last weekend. We had a nice visit and she checked out this blog. She let me know that I am again taking after my great-grandmother, Alpha, who wrote an article on Victory Gardens during World War II. I have always felt an affinity for this ancestor despite never meeting. Alpha (her father planned on working through the Greek alphabet except she was an only child) was an artist who studied under John Sloan. She was also a Long Island socialite who threw legendary Prohibition Era parties, attended by artists like author Thorton Wilder, who was supposedly in love with her. Before our urban farm days, I was known to host a party or two.

Anasazi Bean Burger from BabyBirdsFarm.com

So I am all the more happy to carry on the tradition of championing Victory Gardens today. As much as we love fresh salads, tomatoes, and herbs like basil and mint, “salad” type items are actually not the best way to maximize a home garden. To really get the benefit of a “victory garden” try to plant calorie dense items, like potatoes, sweet potatoes and beans. Beans are an amazing source of protein, fiber and nutrients and my favorites by far are Anasazi Beans. The are a slightly sweet Heirloom bean, pretty and speckled maroon and white. If I were to describe the taste, I’d describe it as how the most awesome pinto bean should taste. They cook much faster than other dried beans (they don’t need to presoak) and don’t have as much of the compounds found in other beans that can cause gas.

Plus, there is the legend of the beans…. Botanists may dispute the factual basis, but the story is that a dusty, sealed crock was found by archeologists in the ancient ruins of the Anasazi Indians, and lo and behold, the beans were viable and reintroduced to our diets. I have fond memories of exploring Mesa Verde and the dwellings of “the Ancient Ones,” carved into the stone, with my family as a child.

You can find Anasazis in the bulk section of a lot of grocery stores now, as well as online. Papa Bird has been growing them the last few years. One of the things I find “magical” about a bean is that it contains its future in itself. The bean is simply the seed. You can sprout and plant the beans from the grocery isle if you like. (I think we started from a bag I bought at the farmer’s market.) We try to remember to reserve a few from each harvest to plant the following year.

Anasazi Bean Burger Recipe

My husband usually feels more satisfied with a little meat in a meal, but he makes an exception for Anasazi Bean Burgers. They are my favorite veggie burger and I hope you enjoy. From Moon Time/The Elk Restaurant.

Servings: 4 burgers

  • 1 cup dried Anasazi beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • Approximately 1 cup dried bread crumbs

Step 1
Distinctive-looking Anasazi beans have a unique, slightly nutty flavor and firm texture. Cook the beans in plenty of water for about an hour until soft but not mushy.

Step 2
Coarsely chop the drained and cooled beans. You can use a food processor, using only a couple of pulses, but I never have. Mash them with a fork, or a mashed potato masher, or break up the beans using your hands. Add the sauteed veggies to the chopped beans and then add the egg, seasonings and bread crumbs.

Step 3
After forming the patties (I usually do 4 large patties, but have also made sliders), saute them in oil until they’re golden, about 3 minutes on each side over medium high heat. I find starting the patties in a cold pan gets a nice crust. Add a slice of cheddar and finish the bean burger in a 400° oven for 2 or 3 minutes. Serve on a bun with typical burger “fixings” (i.e. tomato, lettuce, pickle, avocado, mustard, ketchup, siracha, etc.)

Notes:

Although Anasazis don’t cause as much gas as other beans, it never hurts to add a little cumin, bay leaf and/or epazote to the cooking water. All three are classic flavorings for beans and are carminative, meaning they help reduce gas when cooked with beans. Never salt your water when cooking beans. Only add salt and acid (like tomatoes or vinegar) once they are fully cooked. Otherwise they will be tough and not cook properly.

Feel free to substitute another bean in this recipe if you can’t find Anasazis, but you will probably want to presoak them before cooking.

Tips for Cooking for Baby:

Reserve some of the “batter” with all the ingredients added, minus the egg. Blend or grind in a baby food mill. Add a little breastmilk, maybe some avocado. Delicious! Babies love the naturally sweet taste of beans and they are an excellent vegetarian source of protein.

For a baby that is ready for finger foods, cooked beans (e.g., Anasazi, black or pinto) and sautéed, diced veggies are excellent ways to practice pincher skills. If it is the first time, if your beans are still on the crunchy side, or if you are just paranoid, feel free to cut the beans in half or squeeze each one between your fingers to mush it a little and make it easier for baby to gum.

Updated 1.5.13 to add a photo of the burger. Originally posted 8.21.12. -Mama Bird

Spanish Tuna Stuffed Peppers

Papa Bird picked a peck of peppers this weekend. Ok, maybe not a peck… To be perfectly honest, we can’t remember what kind of peppers he planted. Perhaps Anaheim or Poblano. But the long peppers were begging to be stuffed and I had a can of sustainably fished, wild pole-caught tuna packed in olive oil. This recipe is my best recollection of a tapa I once enjoyed in a Spanish restaurant. ¡Buen Provecho!

Tuna Stuffed Peppers Recipe (Pimientos Rellenos de Atun)

  • Poblano, Anaheim or similar peppers
  • one can of olive oil packed tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • green onion, sliced thinly
  • balsamic vinegar
  • pepper
  • paprika

Preheat the boiler to its highest setting. On a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, broil the peppers until the skin starts to char. Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a bowl, cover with a lid and let sit, covered, until cool enough to handle. The steam and condensation should make the skin easier to peel. Peel and discard the skin.

In a bowl mix the remaining ingredients. Carefully slice an opening in the side of the peppers. Spoon the mixture into the peppers. I garnished the peppers with a balsamic reduction, pomegranate seeds and green onion from the garden. It is traditionally served with crusty bread.

Anasazi Bean Hoppin’ John

My mom is from the South and got me started making black eyed peas every New Year’s for good luck. Sometimes we make a spicy bean dip, but often she makes a traditional Hoppin’ John with sauteed onions.

After work the other day I set a cup of Anasazi beans to boil, not really sure the direction dinner would head. After that Baby Bird wanted to be held. Inspired by Hoppin’ John, I put a little brown rice in the rice cooker and threw the cooked beans together with the leftovers of the simple tomato sauce from this post. Post baby, I have a new definition of easy recipes: cooking one handed!

Anasazi Bean Hoppin’ John Recipe

Rinse and pick through the beans. Place in a large pot and add at least four cups of water. Add the bay leaves, cumin and epazote. Boil for about one hour until the beans are tender, adding water as needed to keep the beans covered. Drain.

While the beans are cooking, prepare rice in a rice cooker, or as you like.

Once the beans are done, rewarm the sauce with the cooked beans, just until heated up. Serve over the rice, accompanied with avocado, cilantro, lime, etc.

If you don’t have sauce, simply sauté some onions and garlic and add to the cooked beans.

Growing Tips

A subscriber to the Baby Bird’s Farm Facebook Page asked for more information on growing beans. Papa Bird likes to “direct sow” most beans meaning you can place a dried bean directly in the ground without sprouting. Plant an inch and a half deep and two inches apart. Thin to four inches apart. He generally recommends researching plants and selecting one that is appropriate for your zone, and they are traditionally grown in the Four Corners region, but he just kind of winged it with the Anasazis. Papa Bird also recommends researching whether the bean you have selected is a bush or a climbing vine, and planning accordingly. He shared that he felt like Anasazis were somewhere in between a bush and a vine in our garden, although supposedly they are vines.

For more info on growing check this article out.

About Anasazis

Please check out my first post on Anasazi Beans. Personally, it is one of my favorite posts. The beans can be bought locally in San Diego at the Hillcrest farmer’s market, on Amazon or from our “Store” page on this site.