As a crisp breeze begins to waft through the trees, autumn leaves fall and pumpkins festoon our doorsteps we present to you an October box dressed in black and blue and ready for Halloween.
Organic Black Chickpeas, Organic Black Beluga Lentils, Sea Island Blue Cornmeal
Organic Black Chickpeas, Organic Black Beluga Lentils, Mitia Black Beans
Check out our blogposts with everything you need to know to get the most out of your membership in the heirloom bean and grain club.
You can substitute the black chickpeas for regular chickpeas in all of your recipes. They are black on the outside but the inside is tan colored so for our hummus noir (which we love to make every year for Halloween) we use black tahini to enhance the color for a more goth effect. We also love this delicious moroccan stew recipe for fall nights. Black chickpeas are contrasted with tomatoes and wilted spinach for a dish that is striking to look at and positively addictive to eat. It's so easy to throw together and freezes well.
Have you tried our recipe for the crispy black garbanzo fritters? These crispy, spicy bean cakes make an amazing appetizer served with a drizzle of za'atar and lemon yogurt sauce. This recipe is an adaptation of a genius recipe by the incredibly talented Yewande Komolafe and published in the New York Times. Her use of cornstarch to give these bean cakes their crispy texture is nothing short of brilliant.
Small Town Specialties is a family owned and operated business. Allen and Kendral are passionate about bringing you Non GMO, and Gluten-free products directly from their farm. What started with just a handful of beans, years later has turned into a flourishing crop.
We love all lentils, from the famous French green to yellow and red, but black lentils are in a legume of their own. These diminutive pulses are one of the earliest cultivated crops and according to Ken Albala in his book Beans, A History this changed the course of human history, paving the way to modern civilization. They most likely made their way from a wild seed foraged by hunter gatherers to a cultivated food crop over 10,000 years ago in the area historians call the Fertile Crescent (now modern day Turkey, Iraq and Syria). Black lentils are called Beluga Lentils because of their shiny black skin and small size, resembling that of caviar. Fun fact: unlike green lentils, black lentils possess anthocyanins – the same powerful antioxidant found in dark berries like blueberries and blackberries.
Beluga lentils cook up quickly with no need to soak. They hold their shape well so they are excellent for salads and their resemblence to caviar makes them a striking addition to many recipes. To cook them rinse them in a strainer and then add 4 cups of water or stock per one cup of lentils, add a teaspoon of salt, aromatics like a bay leaf, and bring on the flavor party with garlic, chili flakes, garlic and onion if you so desire. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes until they are just al dente in texture. As you cook them they will fade from pure black to dark green. In the dish above we enhance the color with a dash of balsamic vinegar.
We were still enjoying some late season heirloom tomatoes so we couldn't resist creating this easy early fall salad of Beluga Lentils with Burrata, Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Chimichuri. We're obsessed with this loaded sweet potato recipe from Bon Appetite. With pan crisped sweet potatoes, feta and chili flakes it's a party for your palette any day of the week. This Creamy Mushroom and Black Lentil Stew by Rainbow Plantlife is positively drool-worthy. We are definitely putting this recipe on repeat all fall and winter.
When it comes to ancient grains and farming, Larry Kandarian is legendary. Meeting Larry at the Santa Monica farmers market feels like meeting an agricultural prophet. He can talk to you all day about varieties of beans and grains you've never heard of and how going beyond just organic to fully sustainable and regenerative farming creates better tasting food. His deeply weathered hands from over 50 years working in the fields, let you know that he's the real deal. Unlike others, Larry doesn't just own a farm, he is a true farmer. He is passionate about growing better tasting food that is also better for us and the planet. His incredibly diverse array of grains, legumes, herbs and spices grown in Los Osos, California are all carefully chosen heirloom varieties that work together to create a self-sustaining eco-system that requires no fertilizer, pesticides or weed killers. All of this leads to better soil health, and when you grow food in better soil it just tastes better. You can listen to Larry on a podcast by Consumed here.
Varieties of blue corn have been revered by many different peoples for their taste as well as for ceremonial corn. Some believe that Sea Island Blue Corn was used as a ceremonial crop by the Chicora Tribe that inhabited the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Luckily this heritage grain has found new life thanks to the family owned farm, Marsh Hen Mill. This beautiful cornmeal is a fine grind close to flour and bakes into an indigo cornbread. Greg Johnsman mills each batch on Edisto Island keeping in mind the history and connection with the land. Their Sea Island Blue Grits won the Good Food Award in 2022. This finer grind of the same corn is a delight to cook with and we know you'll love it as much as we do.
Who doesn't want cornbread and chili in the fall? The Sea Island Blue Cornmeal makes arguably one the finest blue cornmeal ever. We love this recipe from local recipe Cane Bay Kitchen. Of course this delicious cornmeal is also fantastic for blue corn pancakes, cornbread muffins and it makes a great batter for seafood. We're excited to try Bobby Flay's recipe for Blue Corn Fried Chicken with Ancho Honey!
Greg Johnsman is passionate about preserving traditional Southern foodways on the South Carolina Sea Islands. He and his wife Betsy farm and mill heirloom ingredients at Marsh Hen Mill on Edisto Island, where Betsy's family has farmed for generations. In addition to Sea Island Red Peas, Greg grows Carolina Gold Rice and Jimmy Red Corn on their Sea Island farm and mills the finest cornmeal and grits around on his ancient milling equipment from the 1940s.
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