Main Courses · Rice and Beans · Sides

Smokehouse Beans

This makes a lot of beans. Enough for a side for 6 people plus a second dinner for Kevin and I. These are wonderful alongside steak or ribs and for a quick dinner, they go well on toast. So, if you are expecting a crowd, or even if your not, these are a wonderful addition to your summer BBQ.

Soak the beans overnight for a more even cook. Whole Foods also suggests that soaking beans helps rid them of the sugars that cause flatulence, incase you were interested.

Smokehouse Beans
Smokehouse Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans, cleaned, rinsed and soaked overnight
12 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
3 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
cotija cheese

Drain beans and place in large pot with 10 cups of water. Add garlic and salt, and bring to a simmer, cooking until beans are just tender. 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending on age of your beans.

Stir in salt, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

Stir in onion and tomato, cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to serving bowl, top with cilantro and cotija cheese, if using ,and serve hot. Will keep, refrigerated up to 5 days.

Dairy · Sides

Ranch Sour Cream

Ranch Sour Cream

We rarely buy commercially made salad dressing, but I will admit to a weakness for Ranch and every once in awhile, I cave and buy a bottle of it.  But, after a salad or two, the nearly full bottle ends up getting pushed further and further towards the back of the fridge until it passes its expiry date and eventually gets tossed.

This is a great solution!  We always have sour cream in the house, and with a little doctoring, I can have that  ranch taste whenever I want it.   It is a small batch so it is quickly used which means I have a little more fridge space.

Serve this with baked or campfire potatoes or to top off your chili.  Also great as a dip for fresh veggies (or potato chips, I wont tell).


Ranch Sour Cream

Ranch Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried dill

1/8 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

1 – 2 Tablespoons milk, if needed

Stir first 7 ingredients together.  If you find mix is too thick, thin with a little milk, adding one teaspoon at a time.    Let stand 30 minutes for flavours to blend.


Quick Pickled Cucumbers

These have a nice freshness to them.  They go great with a sandwich at lunch, as a side dish for dinner or set them out as an appetizer at your next party. 

Dried dill can be substituted if you cant find the fresh stuff. 

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

3 long english cucumbers

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon fresh dill, torn

juice from 1/2 lemon

 Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar in large non-reactive bowl.   Add red pepper flakes.  Cut cucumbers in half, then cut the halves lengthwise into spears.  Add to vinegar mixture and toss to combine.

Cover and chill, tossing once or twice more 1 – 6 hours.  Just before serving add fresh dill and  the lemon juice.  Toss to combine.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve cold

Original recipe here.


Campfire Potatoes

Campfire Potatoes

Whenever we were camping with the kids, our favourite way to do potatoes was to cut them and wrap them in a  foil envelope and cook them over the campfire.

This brings the flavours (and maybe a few memories) out of the back country and into our kitchen.  Without the campfire.   Many of you probably have your own versions of this, here is mine.

Serves 4


Campfire Potatoes

4 medium size potatoes, scrubbed clean, unpeeled, cut into 1′ cubes

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 rounds

1 onion, halved, cut each half into quarters

1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, Lawrys or Hy’s

freshly grund pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons canola oil

Toss all ingredients together in large bowl to evenly coat veggies with oil and seasonings.

Spread out on baking sheet in single layer.

Bake at 350 for 45 – 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender.

Ranch sour cream goes really well with this.


Sautéed Radishes

Ah, the dead of winter.  Vegetables at this time of year can get boring.  Here is a little something different for your table.

Sautéing takes the bite out of the radishes, so no need to worry about this side dish biting you back.

Serves 2



Sautéed Radishes

1 cup  red radishes, trimmed and cut into quarters

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 Tablespoon butter

salt and pepper to taste

Heat pan over medium-high heat.  Add butter and oil.  When butter is melted, add radishes, salt and pepper.  Sauté until skin of radish is no longer bright red and radishes are tender, but still firm.

Serve hot.


Salsa Criolla

Specifically, this recipe goes with Pamploma de Puerco which will be published on Thursday, but it works as an appetizer with tortilla chips just as well.  Looking for a new topping for taco night?  Or maybe something different to go with your chimichangas? This will work for that too.

This is from chef Jose Garces via Tasting Table.


Salsa Criolla

Salsa Criolla

2 Tablespoons finely diced white onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt, to taste

1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In medium bowl, combine onion, vinegar and salt.  Let sit for about half an hour to soften the onion a bit.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve with grilled pork, chicken or beef, or just on its own with tortilla chips


Chimichurri Sauce

This a lively green sauce that goes well with nearly any beef, pork or even just drizzled on bread as an appetizer.   It is also a “must have” for the Tri-tip and Pamplona de Puerco,

This recipe is a compilation of about 20 different ones we have tried.  It makes just over a cup, which should be enough for 2 -4 people.



Chimichurri Sauce

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 cups parsley, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Serve.