Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Refried Beans Recipe

I only have a couple of recipes I am known for: apple pie (my mom's recipe), clam chowder (Scott's mom's recipe), French onion soup, and refried beans.  After a recent party, where we had a tostada bar, I had several requests for the recipe, so here it is:

2 cups of mayocoba beans (one pound bag) pinto can be substituted, but mayocoba beans are coming more and more available.  We even saw them at a Walmart in Arkansas. I heard that 1/2 of each kind of bean is also good, I haven't tried it yet.
2 quarts of cold water
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
one can of evaporated milk
1/4-1/2 pound of shredded Mexican cheese (anything you can find, I even have used a "Mexican mix" of jack, cheddar, and longhorn)
salt and pepper

Dump the beans into a colander and pick over them and wash them.  Put them in a heavy bottom large pot with the water. Add garlic and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce heat and cook slowly, undisturbed, until beans are very tender, at least three hours. Make sure water just covers the beans, you can add more hot water to cover them. Salt lightly. I have also put them in a crock pot on high for about the same time and it worked just as well if not better. Note: Stirring the beans clouds the broth. This is not bad, but not necessary. Drain the beans reserving the liquid. Heat the lard, fat, or oil in a skillet, add the warm or cool beans and garlic in batches and mash them, you can use a bit of the cooking water to get them to your desired texture (I use an immersion blender to mash them). Mix well, and once they are hot, stir in the evaporated milk and then the cheese.  Add salt to taste and a lot of fresh ground pepper. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently until everything is heated through.

Note: Beans sour if covered and refrigerated while they are still hot. If you made a big patch, cool them before storing by spreading them in a roasting pan.

Garlic and beans under water
Simmering beans
Melting bacon fat

After mashing them with potato masher
Creamy goodness with the immersion blender
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Permanent Papel Picado Banner

I am working on spiffing up my art show display table for the Tucson Open Studio Tour on November 10 & 11.  So I made a table cover and it was missing something.  Well being that it is the time of year for Dia de Los Muertos, I was inspired by the tissue paper cut-out banners. I wanted the same festive look, but a little more enduring.  Here is what I came up with:

Supplies & tools:
Cotton fabric & thread
Sew in interfacing
Paper (I used just printing paper, but water soluble water would have been better)
Cord (I used clothesline rope)
Sewing machine

1 - I drew out a pattern on the paper, remember it's supposed to look like a cut-out so you need to think of shapes that wouldn't fall out if cut out. Also, they tend to be symmetrical as if they were cut out of folds.

2 - I then sandwiched four layers: the bottom/back layer, the interfacing, the "hole" layer, then the top fabric layer and finally the pattern.

3 - I cut around the paper, leaving a flap from the top fabric layer, that would fold over to create the tube to run the cord through.

I folder this over to the back before I stitched all the way around.
4 - I then sewed around the whole paper about 1/4 of an inch inside.
Sewing along the paper, with the top fabric layer folded under to create the tube.

5 - Next I sewed on the pattern, following my lines as best I could.  I sometimes needed to use free stitching, by dropping the feed dogs and removing the sewing foot. This takes some practice, but I have done it enough when quilting, though I am not a pro.

6 - Remove as much of the paper as possible by soaking it in the sink.

7 -  I then washed it in the washing machine to try to remove all the paper.  Not all of the paper came off, it's especially noticable on the darker fabric.  Water-soluble paper would work better.

8 - Then I carefully cut out the top layer (the yellow in this case), inside all the sewing shapes.

Here is the finished banner:

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