Thank God for Rick Bayless and Bob Ross

Beans. They are amongst my most favorite things to eat. Green beans, soybeans, lentils, kidney, pinto, black and adzuki are a few of my favorites. They're just so versatile. And dammit if Rick Bayless himself didn't just make my beans – and Sunday afternoon prep work for thes work-week much easier.

The concept is flawless. The gentle and long cooking perspective helps the beans to keep their juices with them the entire time, as opposed to a soak or quick-cook method. It also allows them to keep relatively intact. The slow-cook advantage is the ability to infuse the flavors you want into the beans while cooking, therefore giving masterful depth with little effort.

Chipotle Beans
1.5 cups dry black beans
1.5 cups dry pinto beans
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 onion, chopped medium sized
1/2 head of garlic, smashed

Heat water to a boil in an electric kettle (or pot on the stove). You will need to cover your beans by about 4 inches, so keep that in mind. Give your beans a good rinse and add them to your crock-pot. Cover with boiling water. Turn crock-pot on high. Add dried chipotle, onion and garlic. Let cook for 4-6 hours or until beans are soft, but not delicate. You may need to add water as the beans expand and absorb. Beans normally increase to 3 times their size while they cook. 1 cup of dry beans will yield 3 cups cooked.

So what do we do with these beans? Well it varies, but once they are done, they usually go into a variety of recipes. Add jalapeno-tomatoes and a touch of cumin and you've got a great veg-chili. Add chopped tomatoes, green olives and avocado chunks and serve over brown rice for a great complete protein meal. Smash up and whip with cream cheese and bake for a great bean dip for chips. Serve over crushed tortilla chips, greens and sharp cheddar for a quick taco salad. Smash up with potatoes and make my Tomatillo Enchiladas! You can see why we make a pot each week.

Where's Bob Ross fit into all of this? Well, he's the master of the fan brush.

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