Monthly Archives: February 2010

I wish it *were* Casamiento…It’s a Close Second

Beans and rice in any form are a wonderful, homey, warm, satisfying dish. To be honest, I hadn’t had much in the way of really good Mexcian, El Salvadorean or Nicaraguean food until I moved out to California.

When I was 16, I got on a plane to Los Angeles from New York. Gran fran sent me off with a bagful of food, which, if memory serves me right, involved a salami sandwich on Pepperidge Farm white bread with Mayonnaise, pretzel sticks and M&M’s. I felt very grown up on that trip. It was my first solo cross-country trip. Old enough to seem like I belonged on that plane alone, but young enough to revel in the free sodas and movies (yes, movie headphones were free in those way-back days).

My friend’s family picked me up at LAX and asked if I was hungry, which I was. They drove to a small Mexican food stand and said the fish tacos were the best thing to order. I hadn’t had much Mecxican food growing up, so had no idea the goodness I was in for. That fish taco changed my life! It made me realize there was a whole world of spices and herbs that I had never even thought of. I still recall the satisfying crunch of the lightly battered fried fish against the cilantro and cumin-spiced beans to this day.

Once I moved to California, there was a wealth of Mexican and El Salvadorean food choices, and I have been in heaven ever since. A favorite dish, casamiento, which is essentially rice and beans
was introduced to me in the recent past. The version I’ve enjoyed the most is served at Panchita’s here in San Francisco. Trying to recreate it has proven fruitless, so I can only satisfy my yearning for casamiento at Panchita’s. I do, however, make a nice non-spicy rice and beans dish that has a similar homey/satisfying texture and flavor to it.

So for me, beans and rice were really just that: black beans, rice, some sour cream, sharp cheddar and if I’m feeling adventurous, diced red onion and avocado. It’s one of my first out-on-my-own fast eacy comfort foods. I’ve been making this or a variation of this dish for close to 20 years. My rice and beans is only for me, sometimes my family, too, but it’s not the kind of dish I even think to serve to guests.

I am including a real Casamiento recipe here, for those of you who have the time and heart to put into it.

Otherwise, this is how I make my own, lovely rice and beans. Enjoy!

Rice and Beans

serves 4


  • 1 can black beans (preferably Goya brand)
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in sauce (Embassa brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 cups white rice, cooked to your liking
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • Sour Cream to taste


  • Place black beans and chipotle peppers in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring, heat until thoroughly heated through.
  • Once the beans are warmed and the rice is cooked, serve 4 equal portions of each into bowls.
  • Add shredded cheddar, avocado pieces, red onion and sour cream to taste.
  • You can add some nice hot sauce at this point, if’n the chipotle’s weren’t hot enough.
Posted in avocado, black beans, casamiento, mexican home cooking, red onion, rice, rice and beans, sour cream | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bones…Not for Soup….for Roasting

There is a restaurant here in San Francisco, Bar Tartine, that has a lovely menu ranging from locally harvested veggies to fatastically prepared roasts. My most favorite item on their menu is the roasted beef marrow. I had never tried this dish before going to Bar Tartine.

Let me tell you, once I had them, I found every excuse to go there for dinner as often as possible. It is not inexpensive, so it was quite an undertaking financing my new obsession. But, they never let me down. Each and every order showed up at the table piping hot with a lovely herbed salad and perfectly toasted bread slices. Frankly, I like going there with vegetarians, that way I get the whole order to myself.

Today, I am on day two of staying home sick. As mentioned in my previous post, I have taken to cooking my own comfort foods. And, so, this morning when I was at Whole Foods picking up fruit, I wandered over to the meat counter. They did indeed stock (no pun intended…ok, well maybe a little pun), beef marrow bones.

But then, the questions began:
“is it for soup?”
“did you want the femur or the knuckles?”
“how many pounds did you need?”

Short of telling the butchers about my craziness for the Bar Tartine version, I tried to give them the sense that I knew what I was doing. I explained I was just roasting them and serving them with toast. He figured out that I wanted the femur cut into smallish pieces and went off to saw the bones apart for me. In the end, I didn’t come off as an idiot, and came home with $12 worth of the loveliest beef marrow I’ve ever seen (ok, I guess I’d never seen it raw until this morning…).

In the end, I realize that Gran Fran did make osso bucco periodically utilizing the same (or very close to the same) types of bones. Once I got them marrow home, I placed some in a pan and stared at it. It resembled the cooked appetizer I loved from Bar Tartine, but it also seemed like a daunting task to get these bones from raw to roasted.

The recipe I based my first batch on came from Group Recipes. I used it mostly to make sure of how to put the bones in the pan, but improvised from there. So, herewith, my version (I’ve now made two batches) of an almost-as-good-version of Roasted Bone Marrow ala Bar Tartine.



Roasted Bone Marrow
serves 6 as an appetizer

3 lbs Beef Bone Marrow cut into 3 inch long pieces

  • 1 cup loosely packed Italian Parsley
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste



    • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.


  • Place marrow bones cut side up in oven proof skillet or roasting pan.



  • Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, just until the marrow gets soft, the outside of the bones are lightly browned and the excess fat on the bones has browned as well.



  • While bones are roasting, finely chop the parsley and garlic. Mix with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. If you have an electric chopper, this is a good time to use it.



  • Toast bread pieces.



  • Serve with small spoons to scoop out the heavenly marrow, which can be placed on the toast with the parsley mixture.


ps check out those photos, huh? thanks again to gran fran and joe for my swanky new camera! xo

Posted in bar tartine, beef, comfort foods, garlic, melt in your mouth, parsley, roasted bone marrow | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Things to Come…..

You know how when you are home sick and all you want is some comfort food? In my fantasy land, there would be some kind soul here at my house who would make me the most wonderful soups, stews, etc., while I’m home sick (as I am today).

But, alas, no such person exists, just me and my little one here at the house. Therefore, I have taken my sick food needs into my own hands. The next few posts will showcase my relatively easy comfort foods. And, will also premier photos from my new super-cool camera (thank you Gran Fran and Joe!).

So, sit back and relax and start planning your shopping trips, because you may need to pick up a few things.

Posted in comfort foods, cooking for one, sick, single mom | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment