Welcome to the Daily Chicana! I enter the blogosphere by honoring a traditional Chicana activity: cookin’ up some refried beans.
This is my first attempt at refried beans. Oddly enough, the recipe I’m using came not from generations of my daily chicana ancestors, but instead from my ex-husband, who was the primary cook in our marriage. He is one of those people who genuinely enjoys cooking, because he feels that it relaxes him. By contrast, cooking generally has the opposite effect on me: I get stressed out and by strictly adhering to the instructions, I avoid at all costs the free-spirited “let’s see how this turns out” approach of great cooks. However, I do have some motivation for wanting to cook, which include (a) I enjoy eating; (b) I am making a half-hearted effort to rely less on processed foods; and (c) I still am trying to give my boyfriend of three months the impression that I am some sort of domestic goddess.
My mother was once a homemaker and cooked from scratch on a daily basis because she came from a generation when women were expected to do so. Shortly before she and my dad got divorced, though, she happily became a microwave queen, and the recipes I get from her today all begin with, “Well, just go to Trader Joe’s and buy their [insert pre-cooked ingredient].” With all due respect to her, I have found that good-tasting refried beans never come from a can.
Okay, so here’s what I’m working with:
Ex-Husband’s Refried Beans
- One whole jalapeño or 1/2 corn tortilla
- One can of pinto beans
- Olive oil
- Chicken stock
- Empty a can of beans into a bowl and rinse.
- Pour chicken stock into the bowl of rinsed bean enough to cover by a 1/4 inch or so and let sit.
- Heat up the olive oil (enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan) in a pan and brown the jalapeño/tortilla strips.
- Once the jalapeño or tortilla strips are done you can take them out or leave them in. It’s up to you.
- Then quickly empty the beans into the oil (be careful). Set to medium low heat and mash them up. Once the beans have been mashed, partially cover.
- Check on them after ten minutes and stir to check for desired consistency. Salt to taste.
- Should be ready in about 15-20 min if on low.
The process was pretty straight-forward. The most difficult part came withs step #5: I took the pan off the heat, carefully ladled in some of the stock, waited for the big flare-up of flying oil to subside, and then poured the rest of the stock and beans into the pan. Fresh off this triumph,I envisioned myself as the next Rick Bayless and when it came time to add the salt, I went to town, feeling experienced enough to just eyeball it. Fail! They came out way too salty. The lesson: Be conservative in adding salt.
I had every intention of including a photo with this, my historic first post, but it turns out that refried beans are not in the least bit photogenic, not even with the help of Instagram.
That’s enough adventure/cooking for this Chicana for one day. On to new musings and definitely less salt in my next post…