I cannot stop thinking about it. Using lima beans in the cass-olé was somewhat a shot in the dark, for me. I hadn’t eaten them since I was a kid. Yes, I liked lima beans then. Monsieur would make bowls of them for sister and me; we also ate brocoli, brussel sprouts, and spinach. Though I’ve never made bowls of them for myself, or prepared them another way, and really had no idea how they work or how to work with them. Granted the second and third days the cass-olé tasted well. But it wasn’t what I entasted it to be.
This afternoon I expressed my lima bean concerns with someone I trust as a reliable bean informant. B runs a salon with my haircutter, N, who is her husband. N’s been cutting my hair for nearly a decade now. After bouncing around the neighborhood, and between here and DR opening shops,—leading me on months long searches to track him down—he finally got smart and opened shop with her. They are the prom king and queen of DR del Norte. And I am a loyal subject for the beauty they share.
Before the holidays B suggested I try pumpkin in my beans. It adds a bit of creaminess and also sweetness, but not too much of either. We were talking about red and brown beans and how Dominicans make them compared to Mexicans, and compared to a bean totin’gringa. After our chat, and sharing this pearl of pumpkin, B moved to the front of the rolodex for bean consultants.
When I asked B if she made lima beans she shared again with me—without a sniff or hint of the Other—how she, and especially her mother, who is a great cook, make lima beans. She explained a couple different ways to prepare them.
If you have fresh or frozen lima beans you can steam them. If you have dry lima beans, B said to soak them like you would other dry beans. Then cook them in water level with the top of the lima beans in the pot. If the water they were soaking in “looks fermented,” change the water before cooking them. With the lima beans cooking in water, add sel, piper, and raw garlic. When they’ve been cooking a while, remove half the lima beans and mash them with a fork, then return them to their pot. Throw in cilantro at the end. B beamed when she told me Dominicans use cilantro in everything.
Hope is renewed for the next time I venture up another hill of lima beans.
Buen provecho et bon nuit..
Update.. I just received a text message from B. Her aunt invites me to come and learn how she makes her lima beans. We’re planning for an afternoon early next week.