Summer ain’t beans without this spicy side dish.Includes Main Course Recipe / September 1, 2015
I’m mourning the end of summer. Warm, muggy mornings are not my enemy. On the contrary, I love the feel of the earth giving off her intemperate swelter. It is as though we are breathing together and I am sensing her glowing center expanding right beneath my feet. Moist and hot on my skin; it is the life force of earth. In truth, the slow simmer of the first week of September makes me wish the Autumnal Solstice would never arrive.
“Oh my gosh! Are you NUTS? I can’t wait for sweater weather!” My friends shout, exhaling with a prayer of relief that August is over. And yet I can find nothing in this statement that gives me joy.
“Don’t you understand?” I retort loudly. “You’ll be shivering soon enough! Winter comes AFTER Autumn….you understand that, yes? We DO NOT get to skip directly to Spring!!”
By then they have walked away rolling their eyes.
My only allies to those fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk kind of days are the baked side dishes that mark the season with intention and flavor. It’s the HOT things that accompany our mid-year meals that matter.
For me, the quintessential side dish of summer is slow baked beans. BUT NOT JUST ANY BEANS, mind you. They have to have a kick, some color and texture, and do more than just replace your cravings for protein. The heat comes from Jalapeno and chipotle sauce. The mouth-feel from charred or seared corn and lovely strands of caramelized onion. Subtle yet ready to smack you right on the taste-buds, this dish is the perfect thing to keep your mouth busy…especially at the moment you dare speak of cool weather in my presence.
Rock on baked beans. You have always been on my SIDE.