Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Ingredients (make 12 cups)
  • 1 pound dry Pinto beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 medium onions finely minced
  • 5-8 Arbol chiles
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • Salt

Rinse the beans in water and remove dirt and small stones. Soak in water overnight.

Cook the beans in water. If cooking in a regular pot, add the beans and cover them with at least 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and lower the temperature to simmer. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours covered until beans are soft and the skin begins to break open. Add more water if needed during cooking.

If cooking in a pressure cooker, add the beans and water to cover for 1 1/2 inch. Close the pressure cooker and cook for 30-35 minutes. (cooking time depends on the batch of beans you have)

You can replace the cooked beans for canned pinto beans however the flavor won't be the same.

Place the beans in a blender with the cooking water, and puree for 3 minutes. Depending on the size of your blender you will have to do this in batches.

The puree beans need to have a soupy consistency, as they will be cooked again, add more water if they are too dry.

In heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium heat (you can use pork lard for more flavor) add the Arbol chiles and fry for 3-4 minutes, be careful not to burn the chiles.

Add the minced onion and fry until translucent. About 5 minutes.

Lower the temperature and add the puree beans, season with salt. 

Cook for about 15 minutes stirring constantly so they don't burn at the bottom until they have a thicker consistency.

Remove the chiles, and serve hot.

Note: You can freeze the beans in portions up to 6 weeks. If freezing, keep the chiles in, they will give more flavor. Defrost and reheat before serving.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ensalada de Remolacha y Queso Feta (Beets and Feta Cheese Salad)


  • 6 large beets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch of dry oregano
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese crumbled
  • 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and wash the beets, cut them in 1/2 inch dices.

Place on a baking pan and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil and the dry oregano.

Bake for 20 -25 minutes until the beets are tender.


In a bowl, mix the remaining olive oil, the vinegar and salt. Add the onions and crumbled Feta cheese. Toss beets in the mix.

Serve warm.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chicha de Piña (Fermented Pineapple Drink)

This is very popular drink in the Valle del Cauca region in Colombia. It is very refreshing for those hot summer days and very easy to make.


  • The skin and core of one Pinneaple
  • 1/2 pound panela o piloncillo (raw sugar cane or brown sugar will work too)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cups of water

Peel the pineapple and reserve the skin. Rinse in abundant water, cleaning all dirt. 

Place preferably in a clay pot the skin and the core, add the panela broken in chunks and the cinnamon sticks. Cover and let sit at room temperature at least for 2 days. It gets fizzier if you let it ferment longer.

Strain with a colander and drink cold.

Note: you can add more panela and water and reuse the skin for up to a week. it gets alcoholic if fermented for 2 or more weeks.