Cultura, Familia


My excuse used to be ignorance. I simply didn’t know how to make a pot of beans. Sure, I’d seen my mom, Mamá Toni and tías make them several times, but I didn’t trust myself not to totally screw up. Then I found some simple recipes and instructions by El Chavo and La Traductora. They seemed foolproof. I could do this. I bought a bag of beans and then let them sit on the shelf. I’d found a new excuse: time. I couldn’t wait two hours for a bowl of beans.

But tonight I was craving beans and I had time. I pulled up the recipes and got to work on my first ever pot of beans. While the beans cooked I made some salsa de tomatillo and salmon enchiladas*. I made a mess in the kitchen, but my food was delicious and filling.

After cleaning up, I called Mom to share the news that I had not ruined my first pot of beans.

“I made dinner tonight.”

“What did you make?”

“Salmon enchiladas with salsa de tomatillo, frijoles de la olla and rice. Well, the rice was leftover.”

“Who were you cooking for?”

“No one, just for me.”

“You didn’t invite anyone over?”


“What kind of beans did you make? Peruvian or pinto?”

“Pinto. They came out funny looking, the bean juice was too dark.” (Next time I’ll avoid the beans in the 1 pound bag and look for something fresher.)

“You know what you need to do, when you add more water you have to make sure it’s boiling. That’s the secret.”

“I did that… I just messed up at the beginning.”

“How did they taste?”


We talked some more about the enchiladas, which she insisted I bring over tomorrow. She reasoned that she always sends me back to LA with leftovers and it was time I reciprocated.

“I hope you like the enchiladas. I didn’t use the canned salsa. I made it from scratch.”

“Wow. Ya te puedes casar.” (Tr: You can get married now.)

“I knew you were going to say that.”

“Are you going to write about this on your blog?”

“No way. I’m too ashamed.”

“But it would make a good story.”


Mom can be quite convincing. I should get her to talk to the boyfriend.

*I’ve been craving salmon enchiladas for a long time. Sadly, Pacificos closed down in the summer. Their salmon enchiladas were amazing.


12 thoughts on “Frijolera

  1. Eric Jasso (ElPocho) says:

    I’m totally afraid to make frijoles. I can make a superchingon bunch of Charro beans, but I use the bote beans only. But my Guera wife and lil niños love them…what more can I want? As for marriage, my wife learned to cook brilliant Mexican food AFTER she married me! Tamales, pozole and a mean pico de gallo. I love my Gringa! Tell your Sancho to hurry up!

  2. Yay, another beaner cooking beans! 😉 The bagged beans are almost always a bit old, and result in those dark colors. The bulk bin is usually better but that’s no guarantee either, and fresh beans make a world of difference.

    “I did that… I just messed up at the beginning.”
    Did you put the beans in too early? Many of the important details are in the technique, not the recipe. And the heat issues (boiling water, temp at which they simmer) basically determines your outcome.

    It sounds like you had a good first pot, here’s to many more!

  3. la Tumbleweed says:

    mmmm, your salmon enchiladas sound yummy!! I loved this post because I too am trying to learn to cook more Mexican dishes than the few recipes I know. Friday night my mom showed me how to make calabazitas, and I’m a little fearful to do it on my own, but I think you have to screw up a couple times anyways, that’s how you make the recipe your own, hehehe, gonna go check out El Chavo’s & La Traductora’s recipes now.

  4. You know, I am all for traditional beans in the casuela and what have you, but really nothing tops a crock pot. Both for convenience and flat out taste, I’ve personally excommunicated beans from the stove.

  5. I once made beans as a young girl (have made them many times since)…but I used my mom’s pressure cooker and took the lid off too soon. Let’s just say that the beans exploded in the kitchen, not good!

  6. I ruined my first pot of beans and since then I haven’t even tried to make any. =/

    My brother laughed because he warned me to keep an eye on them and to be on the look out for when they would need more water but we where watching a movie and forgot all about them until we smelled a little toasty scent in the air ..haha oops =]

  7. sounds delish. i’ll usually soak my beans overnight to minimize cooking time to about an hour. if i forget i keep a bag of lentejas or chickpeas handy those cook super quick. any plans to post the salmon enchilada recipe?

  8. haha! That’s a funny story!
    Girl, I have burned so many pot of frijoles back when I first married, you wouldn’t believe! It took me years, do you hear me? Years to finally get the hang of it. So at least you didn’t burn them.


  9. Nooooombre! Como decia mi Tia Maria, si no sabes como hacer frijoles, pa’ que sirves! I bet your frijolitos were just fine! We are our own harshest critics!
    Cuidate, y thanks for the mention!

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