Category Archives: beans

Alyis N’ Rose Cafe- Bean Pie & Carrot Pie

I discovered bean pie and carrot pie for the first time at the San Pedro Square Farmer’s market. Generally when I shop at the farmer’s market, I like to stick to the basics- veggies, fruits, eggs & sometimes meat. The cookies, bread, homemade tamales can definitely be enticing, but the high price tag usually deters me from making the purchase ($7.00 for a small bag of biscotti?? I can make that at home!). Plus, those items are usually not the healthiest, so I try to avoid them. Enter: free samples. One fine morning I was minding my own business, about to walk home from San Pedro Square, and a nice gentleman offers me a taste of bean pie. Hmm…I think to myself, bean pie eh? Unsure about this combination, but never one to turn down a new and interesting food, I accepted. The bite reminded me of a smoother, slightly more dense version of pumpkin pie. Next I tried the carrot pie, and found that it was even more like pumpkin pie than the bean pie…only slightly more…carroty? All in all, delicious. I decided I would break my “rule” and bring home some pie. And the consensus at home was positive as well. Give this pie a try (hey, that’s a good little jingle, maybe I should go into marketing…).

If you can’t get to the San Pedro Square Farmer’s market on Fridays between 10am and 2pm, you can get this pie at Alyis N’ Rose Cafe in Santa Clara, CA. If you need any more convincing, check out their great reviews on yelp!

Beef Chili with Anasazi Beans

You might remember from my post about berry-picking that I bought several pounds of dried beans at the Phipps Country Store over the summer. By now, I’ve used up most of those beans, minus a pound or so of soybeans, and a pound of anasazi beans. I’ve read that you’re not supposed to wait too long before using dried beans, or else they start to get wrinkly and tough. So I decided that I would use the anasazi beans to make some chili. I also happened to have a pound and a half of leftover grassfed beef roast, which I purchased from Paicines Ranch (located a little ways south of Hollister). With these two ingredients in mind, I looked for a chili recipe online, and happened upon a tasty-looking one from the Bob’s Red Mill website. The recipe was a perfect fit because it called for both anasazi beans AND cooked beef roast. What luck!

I ended up adapting the recipe a little bit, and it turned out delicious! It had just the right amount of kick, and a nice texture from the corn kernels, beans and meat. We served it with a slice of cornbread, topped with a little butter and honey, making for a very classic southwestern dish.


1 lb. Anasazi beans
Canola oil spray
1 large onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
2- 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp. butter (softened)
3 Tbsp. instant flour (such as Wondra- regular flour will do too)
1-1/2 lb. cooked beef roast (diced)
2 cups corn kernels (frozen)


  1. Sort through the dried beans to remove any shriveled beans or pebbles. Rinse beans and place in a large pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn off the heat and let the beans soak for 5-8 hours.
  2. After soaking the beans, drain the water, and cover the beans with new water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or until the beans are soft but retain their shape. Do not add salt during this step. Salt will harden the bean skin, which in turn wont allow the bean to cook as thoroughly.
  3. While the beans are cooking, spray a large stockpot with oil and saute the onion and green bell pepper for about 3 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute. Next add the bay leaf and all other spices, including salt. After coating the vegetables with spices, add the water and tomatoes. No need to drain any tomato juice from the diced tomatoes, just dump the contents of the can into the stockpot. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, and then reduce heat to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. In a small saucepan, warm the butter over medium heat. Once melted, slowly begin incorporating the instant flour using a wooden spoon. You should obtain a smooth paste. Add this to the stockpot and stir well.
  5. Add the beef and frozen corn kernels to the stockpot. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Then add about 4 cups of cooked beans (depending on your preference) to the stockpot and cook for 5 more minutes. Save the rest of the beans for another use (they’re great on quesadillas, in chicken tacos, tossed into any old vegetable soup…etc…).
  6. Serve the chili with some shredded cheese and a slice of cornbread.

Makes 10 large servings.

White Bean and Ham Soup

Recently in Northern California, we’ve had some pretty cold, sometimes rainy, sometimes foggy winter weather. Personally, I love it. I always look forward to the changing of the season, and especially to the culinary ramifications that come with it. By the time one season is ending, I’m usually looking forward to new produce and different types of dishes. In the summer, I always wait impatiently for the first sweet tomato, peach or strawberry. In the fall and winter, I enjoy squash and root vegetables. I especially love soups and stews on a cold day, and these tend to be a staple for us in the winter. So in honor of soups and cold weather, my next couple of posts will feature winter soups and stews. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

First on the list: White Bean and Ham Soup

1 lb navy beans (picked through and rinsed)
8-10 cups water
1 large onion (diced)
1 1/2 cups carrots (chopped)
1 yellow, orange or red bell pepper (chopped)
2 cups celery (chopped)
1 ham shank (about 1.5 lbs- ask the butcher to cut it in half, if possible)
1/2 andouille sausage (cut into bite-sized pieces)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 pinch herbes to provence (substitute with dried thyme and rosemary if you don’t have these)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Several hours before you begin cooking the soup, put your beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Let them soak until you’re ready to use them (at least 4 hours). I usually begin soaking the beans in the morning when I’m planning on making them for dinner. Once they’re soaked, drain the water and put them back in the large pot.
2. Cover the beans with the water and add the ham shank. Turn on the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a boil. Then reduce to medium heat and let simmer for about an hour.
3. Remove the ham shank from the soup and add all of the vegetables. Once the ham shank is cool enough to touch, cut the meat off the shank, and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Put the ham pieces into the soup. Allow to cook for another hour.
4. About 15 minutes before serving, add the andouille sausage, herbes the provence and salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Refried bean and bell pepper tacos

Tacos are one of those go-to meals that I like to throw together when I don’t have a lot of time to cook. I love that they allow me to be creative, and basically decide what to put in them based on what I have in my fridge. Lately, we’ve had TONs of bell peppers. It’s that time of the year again, after all. Late summer = bell peppers and tomatoes. We’ve been getting them from our CSA, and I’ve been buying some extra ones from the farmer’s market, because they’re just so beautiful and cheap right now that I can’t resist. But when life gives you bell peppers, what do you make? A whole host of things, really. Roasted bell pepper salad, gazpacho, stuffed bell peppers, the ever so popular ratatouille….and tacos!

On this particular day, I decided to soak and cook some heirloom beans that I got from Phipps Farm Store earlier this summer. They’re called Spanish Tolosanas, and they’re lovely. The pattern on them, unfortunately, goes away by the time they’re soaked and cooked, but it’s replaced by a delicious smell and taste. They also cook down to a soft, refried texture very well, which is why I chose them for making tacos. If you don’t have time to cook your own dried beans, you can substitute a can of refried beans for this recipe.

Here are the ingredients for 4 tacos:

4 corn tortillas (I used the “Truly Handmade” ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 c. cooked beans (or 1 can refried beans)
1 hot pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
a few pinches of paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Coat a heavy-bottomed nonstick pan with cooking spray (I use TJ’s brand canola oil spray) and heat it to medium. Cook the onion for a few minutes and add the hot pepper. Let these cook together for about a minute, and add the bell peppers. After about 5-7 minutes, add the paprika, the salt/pepper and the diced tomatoes. Let the tomatoes warm up on the pan for about a minute before removing it from the heat (you don’t want to overcook the tomatoes). While all this is cooking, warm the beans in a different nonstick pan (or in the microwave if you prefer). Add salt, pepper, and paprika to the beans, if they need seasoning. Warm up the corn tortillas before assembling the tacos. After layering beans and bell peppers on your taco, top it with whatever other ingredients suit your fancy. For these, I used some shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole, but you can also use fresh tomatoes, cilantro, salsa…etc. Here is a picture of the finished product for you. Enjoy!

Summer salsa with heirloom tomatoes and black beans

I’ve been reflecting on my past several posts recently, and I decided something. I need to incorporate some simpler recipes in fraises et tartines. I want this blog to be accessible to everyone without forcing my readers to be quite so “do it all yourself” as I am. This is just part of who I am. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of creating everything my family and I need totally from scratch. One of my favorite books when I was young was My Side of the Mountain, a story of a boy who runs away from home and lives off the land in the Appalachians. You can probably guess that I also really enjoyed Little House on the Prairie. I can still remember when my class made butter, as an adjunct project to that book. It opened up a new world for me (“You can make your own butter!? That’s awesome!!). I wondered what other common grocery store staples I could make from scratch. Anyway, I digress…I just wanted to describe where I’m coming from while still recognizing that not everyone is like this. Many people just want to make a simple, tasty and healthy dinner for themselves or their family in as short a time as possible. That’s why shows like “Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals” are so popular. Many people don’t even want to do this, but force themselves to cook at home for health or financial reasons. So all this to say that I plan on including recipes of all ranges.

Now about this salsa. I recently started making salsa when friends come over because it’s super easy, quick, and a real crowd pleaser. The great thing about salsa is that you can adapt the recipe according to your taste and what you have at home. Here is what I used to turn my salsa
from this:to this: Well almost…the beans aren’t pictured in the first one, but you get the idea!

Here is the complete list of ingredients:
1 heirloom tomato
1/2 large bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1/2 c. black beans
1-3 hot peppers (the number of peppers you use depends on the hotness of the pepper you have, and your taste…if you have a habanero pepper you probably only want to use 1/2 of it, for example)
1 clove garlic
juice from 1 lime
salt to taste

Chop the tomato, bell pepper, onion, hot pepper and garlic into small chunks. Combine all of these ingredients except for the hot pepper in a bowl and stir in the black beans. Add the lime juice and salt. Then add small amounts of hot pepper at a time. Taste after each addition until you get your desired level of spice. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!

Oh, and by the way…this is also a local and seasonal recipe! All of the fresh ingredients (except maybe the lime) came from our farmer’s market, and the black beans came from Phipps Farm Store.