Mike and I went to the Ranching Heritage Center fundraiser where they staged Andy Wilkinson’s "Charlie Goodnight: His Life in Poetry and Song." The five inch stilettos I wore turned out to be very impractical for the walk across the dirt and grass to the seating area. And that's one thing a West Texas woman should never be, impractical. I should have worn my boots to keep from being bitten by ants.
I've been going over to my granddaddy's house once a week to watch old film reels from the 1950s of my dad's family and to see slides of the farm, family parties, and vacations. The family and the farming equipment look completely different, but it's pretty amazing how little the view has changed from around my folks' house in the last fifty years.
In the cowboy tradition, here's a recipe for baked beans worth a long trail ride: Once and Future Beans - the beans that will change your life. Although I've alluded to the fabulous recipe here, here, and here, the Once and Future Beans deserve a post of their own.
These beans are so simple, a cowhand could make them, but they do require some advance planning. First, you have to soak a pound of dried beans overnight, and then the beans themselves have to cook for 6-8 hours. Not a recipe you can be spontaneous about. There are basically only four steps after you soak the beans.
- Step 1: Chop 1 pound of bacon and cook over medium heat.
Step 2: Add a chopped onion and a couple of chopped jalapeños. Cook until soft.
Step 3: Stir in the tomato paste, dark brown sugar, and molasses.
Step 4: Add the beans and soaking liquid, season, and cook for 6-8 hours.
These beans fill your home with the most wonderful aroma while they cook. Last time I made them, I left the house for a few hours and was fairly overwhelmed upon pulling into the garage, opening my car door, and catching the scent of the beans cooking in the house. Another time the smell wafting through the neighborhood attracted a dog to my garage door.
Serve them alongside some beef, chicken, barbecue, taters, or let them stand alone. I cannot overstate the greatness of this recipe. They'll be the hit of the party every time.