Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Grandpa Garnica

My dad left about a week and a half ago. Since he's been gone we've occasionally seen Elisabeth walking around with a 'cane' (actually a bat) while saying, "I have old legs." We told Elisabeth that Grandpa has 'old legs' and that's why he couldn't go up and down the stairs(though he did use the stairs once his first day here). He's 81 years old and his knees are just...well they are 81 years old too and they are tired and giving him lots of pain. My dad doesn't walk around with a cane, though he should, but trying to convince him is a little hard. He doesn't want to feel old and crippled, and that's understandable, though we're trying to convince him that there are some nice looking canes out there, and in fact President Hinckley had a nice one (though it seems like he mostly carried it rather than used it). We'll see what he decides.

While dad was here I had him make lots of his famous "Garnica Beans". You know, the first time I had refried beans from a can was when I went to college; my dad ALWAYS makes beans from scratch and we had it just about EVERY day, along with mexican rice. He also makes some fantastic enchiladas and guacamole, I was sure spoiled(FYI:Dad was born and raised in Mexico, he moved to USA in his late 20's and he owned a Mexican restaurant in Seattle for awhile)! As a side note, mom was also an amazing cook! But this post is about when Dad was here and the food he made. So anyways....I have made them a few times since we've been married...The first time I made them they were SO dry, it was gross, and we ended up throwing most of them away. They've gotten better every time but they never seem to reach that level of perfection in look, taste and texture like Dad's. So while Dad was here I was excited to watch him in action to see if I could figure out what I was doing wrong. I think I've about got it down now, though Dad says I need new pans (apparently mine are "no good"...a direct quote from Dad in his cute accent), and I also need to buy newer and a different kind of pinto bean. I think I bought the right kind (isn't there only one kind out there?), but I think he's right about buying newer pinto beans. See what happened was we got all these pinto beans for free when we were on WIC almost 5 years ago and because of my first couple failed attempts at making beans, I decided that we better just enjoy them when we visit Dad. I saved these bags of beans, didn't necessarily store them correctly, and so they're a little bit different. We were still able to use them, we just had to cook them A LOT longer than normal. So here's dad's recipe if anyone wants to give it a try; it's in my own words because he doesn't write recipes down, and I tried to add a couple of tips so that you might have a better chance of succeeding(unlike me) the first time you try them. (This is a picture of refried beans that I made up today just to give you an idea of what they look like)

Refried Beans
Wash and drain pinto beans(I use a bag or about 2-3 cups). Cook beans in a large pot of boiling water (once it begins to boil turn the heat down to about med-hi) for about 2 hours, until they have softened. Add 2 Tablespoons of salt during the last ten minutes. In a large frying pan warm a thin layer of canola/vegetable oil(temp. should be around med-hi). Put in large spoonfuls of beans(watch out because they will really fry and water/oil will jump out at you). Add some of the juice from the pinto beans(I usually do about 2-3 ladle's full). Mash the beans while stirring to refry and let sit for a few minutes. Bring the temperature down to low.


Maryann said...

That sounds fun and delicious. We will have to try making some since we have a whole bin full of dried beans! I love seeing all your cute pictures too.

April said...

Elliot would be so delighted if I made these. He's asked me several times about having home-made refried beans. Perhaps I'll get the gumption sometime soon. Thanks.