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news and beans

I had every intention to post a new recipe yesterday. Instead I was glued to the television from the moment I awoke until well after President Obama’s news conference once the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was finally captured and taken into custody alive.


What an amazing job by the local, state, and federal authorities. What an outstanding job by the residents of Watertown, Boston, Cambridge, and Massachusetts! I pray that all those brave people deservedly slept soundly last night.

Additionally, I hope that as a result of all that hard work and dedication, the broken bodies and hearts of all those in the Commonwealth, who were affected by the tragic events of the past week, were healed at least a tiny bit too.

God Bless America!

I did eventually cook something yesterday. In-between news reports and updates – I soaked beans. I cooked beans. I let the beans cool and turned said beans into a salad.

Not until this very moment, as I type, do I remember that Boston’s nickname is Beantown. Here is a tasty Bean Salad for Boston and for the great state of Massachusetts.


On Thursday, I received the beans as a gift from Kim Howard, my cohort at Les Gourmettes. Kim was in San Francisco last week and she thoughtfully brought me back a bag of cranberry beans and a package of ground Espelette chile powder.


I’ve cooked with cranberry beans before, but I had never heard of the Espelette chile.

Espelette a town on the southern-most edge of France, on its border with Spain. The town is known for its dried red peppers, used whole or ground to a hot powder and used in the production of Bayonne ham. The peppers are designated as Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée and are hung to dry outside many of the houses and shops in the village during the summer. The plant, originally from Mexico was introduced into France from the New World during the 16th century.

I decided to use both of my gifts in this dish. It turned out perfectly delicious.


Spicy Cranberry Bean Salad

1/2 pound dried cranberry beans
1/2 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped celery
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Espelette chile powder or cayenne
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh mixed herbs; such as
oregano, basil, and mint
2 large shallots, peeled and diced
2 large heirloom or vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped


Rinse the beans and place them in a large pot. Cover by at least 3-inches with cold water and soak overnight.


In the morning, drain the beans and rinse. Return to pot with the onion and celery and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender. The beans may take longer to cook depending on the age of the dried beans.


Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool. Once cool, remove the onion and celery and discard.


In a large bowl combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and chile powder.


Whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the herbs and shallot.


Let stand 10 minutes to let the flavors come together.

cranberry bean salad

Stir in the beans and tomatoes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 4

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